Financing Your Legal Education

Money for law school is available in the form of scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans.  By far, most students finance most of their education through loans, either from the federal government or from private sources.  To qualify for loans, however, you must have a good credit rating.  As you begin the application process, order a copy of your financial credit report and review it.  Mistakes are made on the reports (particularly if you have a common name) and it may take many months to correct the information. Some forethought to your credit rating will assure your borrowing power is not jeopardized! 

Plan to file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by February 1 of the year you plan to enroll in law school, www.fafsa.ed.gov.  This form requires your tax information.  If your taxes are incomplete, you may estimate figures on the FAFSA (actual numbers will save you time).  You will need a Personal Identification Number from the U.S. Department of Education to complete the FAFSA www.pin.ed.gov., A general portal for students about federal student financial aid is www.studentaid.ed.gov.

The average law student who graduated in 2008 borrowed more than $91,500 for a private law school and $71,500 for a public law school.  Many students borrow more than $100,0001 and costs continued to rise in 2009 and 2010 while the economy took a huge downturn and the outlook for hiring law graduates diminished significantly.

(1 The Value Proposition of Attending Law School, ABA Commission on the impact of the Economic Crises on the Profession and Legal Needs)