Guide to paying for law school: Grants, scholarships, and loans


Law school can be expensive, but it is not the only thing

The average tuition per year for private, ABA-approved law schools in 2018 was $47.754. In addition, tuition is not the only factor that should be taken into account when calculating total costs of law school. Prospective law students should also consider the costs of food, housing, books, transportation, as well as other personal expenses.

How does a recent college grad pay for the high tuition of law school?

This article will discuss the different payment options for law students.

Personal funds

Only a small number of law students can pay for school with their own funds. Personal funds could include savings from the family or contributions from loved ones.

Some law students also work while in law school, and they use their income to pay tuition costs, or other personal expenses such as housing.

Personal funds can be used to pay for law school. This allows you to avoid costly loans or reduce your borrowing requirements.

Although you may not believe there are any downsides to using your personal funds to pay for law school, a recent study revealed that children who have more college educations than their parents earn tend to perform worse. Students don’t value education as highly if they don’t have to pay for it. This might also apply to law students whose parents pay for law school.

Grants and scholarships

Grants and scholarships are not repaid. Most scholarships and grants are awarded by law schools. They are based on merit or need.

Although most law students are eligible for grants or scholarships, less than 30% of students pay full tuition. However, there is very little availability of scholarships and grants outside of law school. There are however a few organizations that provide scholarships and grants from time to other students, such as:

Scholarships and grants are not required to be repaid. However, it is possible to use them to pay for law school. There aren’t enough scholarships or grants to cover all the students’ needs.

  • Federal loans
  • Federal student loans let students borrow money directly from the federal government for law school.
  • Federal student loans come in three types. All of them must be repaid monthly after graduation.

Direct subsidized loans can only be obtained by students who meet specific financial criteria. After graduation, interest on direct subsidized loans will not begin to accrue.

Direct unsubsidized loans don’t require financial need to be approved. The law school decides how much you can borrow. This is based on your cost of attendance, which includes tuition plus an estimated cost to live calculated by the school. While you are in law school, interest starts to accrue while you are there. However, you do not have to begin paying the interest until you graduate.

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Direct PLUS loans are available for law students who have good credit. You can borrow as much as you need to cover the cost of your attendance, minus any financial aid. Like direct unsubsidized loans that start accruing interest as soon as they are disbursed but you don’t have to pay it until you graduate.

  • Federal loans are not as attractive as grants or scholarships. Federal loans must be repaid along with interest.
  • However, there are many benefits to getting federal loans, especially when compared with private loans. These benefits include:
  • Flexible repayment plans with a cap on your monthly payment at 10-15% your discretionary income
  • For qualified individuals, loan forgiveness options
  • Fixed interest rates throughout the loan’s life
  • Approval is granted without a credit check

Private loans

Private loans are nonfederal loans that are provided by private lenders, such as a bank or credit union, state agency or school.

Private loans are similar to federal loans in that they must also be repaid. There are however some disadvantages to private loans compared with federal loans.

Private loans typically have a higher interest rate

Private loans may have variable interest rates (an interest rate that changes with market interest rates).