Compiled from the Law School Admission Council website (http://www.lsac.org/jd/financing-law-school/financial-aid-overview)
Attending law school is an investment toward your future, but it can also be a considerable financial burden. Law school tuition can reach upwards of $50,000 each year. This amount does not include other costs, such as housing, school fees, food, books, transportation and other personal expenses. After everything is added together, the total cost of a law school education can easily exceed $150,000. Learning more about how to finance your legal education will help you to make smart decisions now!
Financing your way to Law School!
Financing your way to law school will start long before your first day of school! It is important to know the different types of expenses that you may encounter as an applicant in order to start saving early. These pre-law expenses often must come out-of-pocket. Also, keep in mind that these expenses (school visits and moving expenses) may be very steep if you live in Hawaiʻi and are looking at schools on the mainland.
Common "Pre-Law School" Expenses
|Expense||Estimated Amount ($)|
|Credential Assembly Service (CAS)||$185*|
|Late LSAT Registration||$100*|
|Law School Reports||$35*|
|Law School Application Fees||Varies|
|LSAT Preparation Materials and/or Preparation Course(s)||Varies (Free-$1,500+)|
*Note: LSAC fees are subject to change, so it is always best to check on the LSAC website for any updates.
Tips to Save on your “Pre-Law School” Expenses:
Check out all of your schools! Research your schools for important information, such as:
Cost of Attendance,
Deadlines to applying for aid,
Percentage of students receiving financial aid, and
Job placement rates after law school.
- Take advantage of ways to save money on your LSAT preparation and applications.
LSAC Fee Waiver (http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/fee-waivers)
- LSAT Blog is offering free courses to students that qualify for the LSAC Fee Waiver Program (http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/fee-waivers) or 50% off of courses for Active U.S. Military Personnel. Check this link out for more info:http://lsatblog.blogspot.com/p/lsat-course-packages.html.
ASUH Grad Test Prep (http://asuh.hawaii.edu/gradtestprep)
PAC Kaplan Scholarship (http://manoa.hawaii.edu/undergrad/pac/law/current-law-opportunities/)
Create a plan for managing your finances during law school! Many students use budgets during school to stay on top of their finances.
Come to our Financing Law School workshop! We host this workshop every Spring. Sign up for our Pre-Law Newsletter to get up-to-date information for the next one! (bit.ly/uhpacsubscribe)
- Visit the AccessLex website. AccessLex is a non-profit organization that serves students and alumni of ABA-approved, non-profit law schools.
Financing your Legal Education:
Once you are accepted, start to plan for your law school expenses. Often, a law school’s tuition is the greatest expense, but other costs can quickly add up as well. For each of these law school expenses, think of ways you can save money or reduce your costs.
Common Law School Expenses
|Tuition||Varies by school (in-state or out-of-state)|
|Room and Board||Varies by location (includes lodging and food)|
|Books and Supplies||Includes textbooks, study aids, printer paper, pens, etc.|
|Transportation||Varies by location (public transportation, personal vehicle, parking fees)|
|Loan Fees||Loan fees associated with federal student loans or private loans|
|Misc. Expenses||Seasonal clothing, child care, etc.|
How to Pay for Law School
Students may utilize different ways to finance their legal education, such as scholarships, loans, and/or working during school. Below is some information about common ways students finance their legal education expenses.
This type of aid generally does not need to be repaid! However, because of this fact, this aid is often limited. There are different types of scholarships and grants based on need, merit, or both.
Turn in your law school applications early! Institutional aid, or money available directly from your institution, is often limited. By preparing your applications early, you will not only be ahead of the curve, but also may have a greater chance of receiving internal scholarships and grants.
Keep a lookout for external scholarships! Many churches, clubs, and other community organizations that you may already be a part of offer scholarships to students. Make sure to check and apply, if you qualify!
Here are a couple of websites to help you to search for scholarships!
Law students frequently utilize loans in order to finance their education. Loans are a type of financial aid that must be paid back with interest. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of how many loans you choose to take. Below are a general listing of types of loans available for law students.
Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans: This loan has the lowest interest rate and loan fees compared to other types of federal loans. Since it is unsubsidized, the interest will start to accrue once the loan is disbursed. There is a limit of $20,500 per year.
Graduate PLUS Loans: This loan will cover the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. The interest rate and loan fees are higher than the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans. The interest will also start to accrue once this loan is disbursed.
Federal Perkins Loans: This loan may be available for students with high financial need. There is a limit of $8,000 per year.
Private loans may be available for students, who may be ineligible for federal loans. Before taking out private loans, be careful to check the interest rates and repayment plans. Often, these types of loans will carry higher interest rates.
3) Other types of Aid:
Federal Work Study:
- This type of aid is not available at all law schools and is specifically for full-time students. Federal work study is a way to work part-time in a position on campus for pay.
More Financial Aid Tips:
Submit your FAFSA as soon as possible! You will need to complete this step to be eligible for federal loans. The FAFSA opens on September 30th at 7:00pm HST!
Check your credit score! If there are any discrepancies affecting your credit history, make sure take care of them as soon as possible.
If possible, make payments to your loan fees during your time in school. Loan fees will be added on to your loan total once repayment begins.
Check out the AccessLex’s website (https://www.accesslex.org/) for free resources and tools to help with loans and law school planning. Click here to check out their “Financial Education Resources for Students” page.
Start saving now! It is never too early to start saving your money for law school.
Helpful Contact Information:
WSRSL Financial Aid website: https://www.law.hawaii.edu/financial-aid-how-apply
WSRSL Financial Aid Manager: Heather Smith-Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
UHM Financial Literacy Program: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/undergrad/finlit/
National Student Loan Data System website: https://www.nslds.ed.gov/
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website: https://fafsa.ed.gov/
Free Annual Credit Report: https://www.annualcreditreport.com
The AccessLex: https://www.accesslex.org/