Although the total expenses of your legal education could range from $35,000 to $90,000, depending on the school you attend, you should not let financial need prevent you from applying to a given school. Law school admission is need-blind; that is, when deciding upon an application, admission committees so not look to see whether an applicant has applied for financial aid. If you need financial aid, including loans — and most people do — then you should certainly apply for it.
Most financial aid is administered through individual law schools, and most awards are based on financial need. Although financial aid packets usually have a large component of loans, a number of schools offer merit scholarships as well. Read the individual law school's catalog for its financial aid policies and its procedures for applying for specific scholarships. Contact the financial aid officer at the law school if you need further information. Look into innovative financial aid programs, for instance, recently several schools, including Columbia, Harvard, NYU, Northwestern, Virginia, and Stanford, have begun loan forgiveness programs for those graduates who choose to enter low-paying public-interest law firms.
Many law schools require that financial aid applicants use the Graduate and Professional School Financial Aid Service (GAPSFAS). The applicant files one disclosure form giving the financial status of the applicant, parents, and spouse. An analysis of this information is then provided to all designated schools.
Consult the LSAC/LSAS publication, Financing Your Law School Education for a comprehensive summary of sources of financial aid. The publication is found on the shelves in the Career Services Career Resource Library. Also, in the Law Services Information Book note the description of the new Law Access Loan Program. It simplifies the loan application process by allowing you to use one application form to apply for federal loans (GSL and SLS) and for privately funded Law Access Loans (LAL).
Information about fee waivers for LSAT/LSDAS is contained in the Law Services Information Book. If you require a fee waiver, contact an admissions office at a law school of your choice, as described in the Law Services Information Book. If problems arise, see the pre-law advisor.