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How to Pay for Law School

If you want to go to law school, but don’t think you are going to be able to afford it, think again. There are tons of different options for you to pay for law school, you just have to find them first! Luckily, Scholarships360 has you covered with this list of different ways to pay your way through law school. Let’s dive in!

Preparing yourself for the costs

You obviously already know that law school is an investment– not only in the three years spent earning a law degree, but also in money. Preparing for the cost of law school is not unwarranted, since the average yearly tuition is $45,844 per year for a total of $137,533. Keep in mind that your tuition may be higher or lower than the average. If you attend a public or private school will affect the price, as well as the prestige of the school. If you are an aspiring lawyer looking for ways to minimize the cost of your degree, keep reading! 

Related: How much does law school cost?

Additional costs other than tuition

There are various other costs for law school other than just tuition–aspiring lawyers need to eat and sleep too! Living expenses cost roughly $22,737 per year for a total of $68,21. Living expenses can include, but are not limited to:

  • Room and board
  • Bar exam costs
  • Transportation and technology fees
  • Books
  • Technology
  • Other living expenses

Different ways to pay for law school

1. Fill out your FAFSA

As we’re sure you have heard many times before, the first step to getting any kind of funding from your school or the government is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Once you’ve done this, your school will be able to better understand your financial need and potentially offer you scholarships based on this. Through the FAFSA, you might also qualify for federal loans. 

2. Scholarships and grants

There are tons of scholarships that are made specifically for law school students. One great thing about scholarships is that it’s money you don’t have to pay back.  Earning what is essentially “free money” is the perfect way to keep your future self out of debt. The Law School Admissions Council has a list of many great options of law school scholarships that you can apply to. 

See also: Top law school scholarships

Similar to those offered for undergraduate studies, there are various grants for law school students as well. Like scholarships, most grants do not have to be paid back, but there are some exceptions to that. For grants, you will want to check with your personal law school’s financial aid office to see what is available because not all grants can be used for law school.

3. Government financial aid

There are a few different options in regards to government financial aid. There are  two types of federal loans:federal direct unsubsidized loans and Direct PLUS loans. 

Direct unsubsidized loans

For direct unsubsidized loans, the maximum unsubsidized loan amount is determined by the school and is subject to both annual and aggregate loan limits. The interest rates fluctuate by year for unsubsidized loans. For graduate and professional students, the running interest rate as of 2021 was 5.28%. 

Direct Plus loans 

Though they are not subsidized, Direct PLUS loans have a fixed interest rate. Eligible students are able to take out loans to cover the full cost of attending school, but the interest rates are higher than other federal loans. 

See also: Grad school financing options

4. Military financial aid

If you are someone who has served in the military, participating schools that are a part of the Yellow Ribbon Program provide financial reimbursement for students. There are various other requirements that you have to meet to get funding from this organization. However, if you have recently served or are a veteran, it is worth looking into. 

5. Loan forgiveness

Last but certainly not least, if you can qualify for loan forgiveness, it can save you a great deal of money. There are various organizations, both public and private, that offer loan forgiveness. Read more in our guide to loan forgiveness and see if you are eligible.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is a government sponsored program that offers to forgive the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. 

The American Bar Association

The American Bar Association offers opportunities to find loan repayment programs for law school students. From Income-Based Repayment Plan to Pay as You Earn Repayment plans, they have many options for different types of people. 

Final thoughts for students

On average, lawyers earn $150,000 a year, so if practicing law is your passion, your return on investment (ROI) will eventually pay off. It is in your best interest to take out the smallest amount of loans possible while you have the opportunity to do so. Try and exhaust every available way to fund your education, with loans always coming last on the list. 

Also see: Top law school scholarships

Additional resources

If you didn’t see any resources in the article that interested you, we have many other options for scholarships and tuition reimbursement. Check out our scholarship database to find scholarships that are more specific to you and your career. Also, check out some of our articles on different companies’ tuition reimbursement, like Fidelity, Amazon, or JetBlue. Best of luck on the rest of your law school journey!

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