Paying for Law School

Law school is expensive. As you decide what law school to attend, give thought to how you will pay for your legal education.

The cost for three years of law school can easily exceed $100,000, and your employment options following graduation will likely be determined in large part by the size of the debt you acquired to pay for your education. In other words, the chances of pursing your dream job may depend on your ability to control the cost of your legal education.

The majority of law students rely on education loans as the primary source of financing law school. Aid exists in the form of scholarships and grants, work study and the like, but most students primarily rely on loans, either from governmental or private lenders.

The amount of aid and the form it takes are largely determined by the law schools themselves, and they should be relied upon as the main sources of information regarding financial aid. Make sure you explore finances and cost in depth as you investigate law schools.

SCHOLARSHIP AND LOANS

Scholarship programs vary widely from school to school. Some are merit based; others are based on financial need. Loans are available from the government (both federal and state) and private lenders. To apply for federal aid, obtain the application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from your college financial aid office or from the law school to which you are applying. The application cannot be submitted until after January 1, but you should try to get it in as early as possible after that date.

The law schools to which you apply will determine your eligibility for federal financial aid. You also will want to inquire about financial aid that might be available from the law school itself. Be sure to contact the financial aid office for that school to determine available programs and application procedures. Many schools have early filing deadlines, so you will want to do this in a timely fashion.