It’s that time of year again! Applicants have gotten their acceptances and thoughts now turn to “how will I pay for this?” Great financial aid resources are out there, and we’ve done the work of finding them for you. Here is our Best Financial Aid Resources roundup.
If you’re trying to understand how law school financial aid works:
- Access Group is a nonprofit providing excellent financial planning resources including a guide called Financing Your Legal Education which walks you through every step of the process. https://www.accessgroup.org/financial-education-guides Note: Access Group will be presenting a special Financing Your Legal Education webinar just for Illinois students on April 3 at 1:00–find more info on our website here.
- Check out our Pre-Law Advising Service blog and presentation slides, wherein we explain financial aid offers, offer suggestions for next steps, and highlight helpful resources. It’s got links to lots of helpful resources. http://publish.illinois.edu/prelawadvising/2013/04/01/financing-law-school-presentation-links/
- Equal Justice Group offers financial aid advice through webinars and guides designed for students who want to work in the public sector after law school, such as prosecutors, government lawyers, or public defenders. Click here to check out their resources.
If you’re entering law school this fall–even if you don’t know where just yet:
- It all starts with filling out your FAFSA. Grab your W-2s if you worked last year, and submit this as soon as possible. Priority deadline is March 15 for many schools. https://fafsa.ed.gov/ If you don’t know where you’re going yet, just list each law school that you might attend or each one that has admitted you.
- It’s time to check your credit report! Many law students will receive both federal (government-backed) loans and private (lender) loans, and private lenders will base your interest rate on your credit score. Check your credit report and correct any errors that may exist BEFORE your lenders see it. Go to the only government-provided free credit report: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
- Make sure to visit the financial aid websites of all the law schools where you’ve been admitted. There you will find scholarships specific to the school–and many have deadlines NOW, before you may even have committed. Go ahead and apply–it is always better to turn down a scholarship than not to apply for it at all because you haven’t decided where to attend law school yet!
- Spend some time searching for other scholarships offered by the American Bar Association or local bar associations or other legal organizations. (John Marshall Law School provides an excellent scholarship listing here.) Searching for “your county” and “bar association” is a good start too.