Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online Law School Students

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Earning a law degree opens professional doors. However, law school graduates owe an average of over $145,000 in student loan debt. Scholarships and other forms of financial aid can help law school students obtain an online law degree with less debt.

A law degree prepares graduates for careers as lawyers, arbiters, and compliance offers. Many of these careers offer high salaries. For example, lawyers and judges earn median salaries of over $120,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Law school graduates can also work as public defenders, prosecutors, and public interest lawyers. Although these careers generally offer lower salaries, they qualify for many student loan forgiveness programs.

This article offers important financial aid information for anyone considering an online law degree, including online law scholarship opportunities.

Best Online Law Schools

Earning a Law School Degree Online



Students interested in an online law degree can choose a juris doctor, a master of laws, or a doctor of juridical science degree. A juris doctor, also known as a JD, prepares graduates to practice law. JD programs accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) currently do not offer fully online routes to a degree. However, students interested in a JD can enroll in a hybrid program where they complete some coursework requirements online while attending some in-person classes.

A master of laws, also known as an LLM degree, provides specialized training in a legal field. While the degree does not meet the requirements for practicing law, it can lead to jobs that benefit from legal training, such as compliance officer and regulatory specialist. A doctorate in law trains students for academic and research careers.

During a law program, students take classes on topics like contract law, employment law, and civil procedure. JD programs may offer specializations in areas such as business law, intellectual property law, and constitutional law. Similarly, most LLM programs provide specialized training in areas like business law and tax law.

The length of a law degree varies depending on the type of program. A JD program typically takes three years of full-time study to complete. An LLM may take as little as one year, while a doctorate can take five years.

Online law programs may offer classes on a synchronous or asynchronous schedule. Synchronous classes include live sessions at set meeting times, while asynchronous classes let students access lectures and other course materials on their own schedule while meeting set deadlines.

What Are the Requirements for an Online Law Degree?



Prospective law students must meet admission requirements. While requirements vary depending on the program, they commonly include college transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and LSAT scores. Prospective students should research the specific requirements of potential programs to learn more.

Law students finish several years of coursework to complete graduation requirements. In addition to required courses, some programs let students choose electives or specialize their studies with a concentration.

Most programs encourage law students to complete summer internships to strengthen their legal skills and build a professional network. Law students may also complete a capstone project or thesis at the conclusion of their program. Students planning to practice law must pass the bar exam in their state to become a lawyer.

FAQ

Question Answer
Can you go to law school online? Yes, law students can attend law school online. However, ABA-accredited JD programs do not offer fully online programs. Instead, students can research hybrid options or master of law programs.
Are there any accredited law schools online? Yes, several ABA-accredited law schools offer hybrid programs where students complete coursework online while completing on-campus residencies. Some law schools also offer part-time hybrid programs.
Is it hard to get a job after law school? Law school graduates can improve their job prospects by networking while in law school, completing summer internships, and specializing their skills based on demand.
What is a good score on the LSAT? LSAT scores range from 120-180. While a 150 represents an average score, many of the top law schools report average scores of over 160 for admitted students.

Financial Aid for Law Students



Law school is expensive. The average tuition cost for law school ranges from $28,000 per year for public schools to over $49,000 at private schools. Fortunately, law students qualify for many forms of financial aid. Students interested in online law school can research financial aid options like loans, scholarships, and grants.

Law students can apply for federal financial aid. Federal loans generally offer lower interest rates and better repayment terms than private loans. For example, law students who take out federal loans can participate in the public service loan forgiveness program.

On average, law school graduates owe $145,000 in student loan debt. As a result, incoming law students should prioritize financial aid like scholarships and grants, which do not require repayment. Our list of online law scholarships below can help law students limit their student loan debt.

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Law Student Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs



Law students who work in qualifying fields can apply for loan forgiveness and repayment programs. These programs discharge student loans for graduates who work in public service fields, such as nonprofit and government jobs. Several organizations offer loan forgiveness programs, including the federal student aid program, the Department of Justice, and many law schools. Researching student loan repayment and forgiveness programs can save law students thousands of dollars on their degree.

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

    The federal public service loan forgiveness program forgives any remaining balance on certain federal student loans for eligible borrowers. Participants in the program must work for a nonprofit organization or a federal, state, local, or tribal government. Serving in AmeriCorps or Peace Corps also qualifies. However, working for a labor union, a partisan political organization, or a for-profit organization, including for-profit government contractors, does not qualify.

    Participants in the program make 120 monthly payments under the repayment plan while working for a qualifying employer. During the 10-year repayment period, participants make monthly payments using an income-driven plan.

    The program requires full-time employment, using either the employer’s definition of full time or 30 hours a week. Participants can work for more than one qualifying employer if their total hours average at least 30 hours per week. After completing the 120 payments, participants must submit an application for loan forgiveness through the federal student aid program.

  • Department of Justice's Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program

    Law school graduates who work for the U.S. Department of Justice can participate in this student loan repayment program. The program helps recruit and retain qualified employees by offering loan repayment. Rather than providing payments to employees, the program pays the loan holder directly.

    Attorneys who accept funding through the program agree to a three-year service obligation at the DOJ. Prospective DOJ employees must qualify for the program, and their student loans must also qualify. For example, only permanent employees qualify for the program, which carries several disqualifying conditions. Qualifying loans must be taken out by the attorney who will work at the DOJ. The program does not cover loan repayment for third-party loans.

    Finally, attorneys who do not meet the service obligation must repay the amount received under the program. Recipients can receive a maximum of $6,000 per year in loan payments, up to a lifetime cap of $60,000.

  • American Bar Association Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

    The American Bar Association provides information on loan repayment assistance programs administered by ABA-accredited law schools. These programs forgive loans for qualifying students who work in the public interest sector, government, or other low-paying fields.

    Participants must generally meet income limits to participate in the program. For example, at Emory Law School, the LRAP plan accepts alumni who make between $50,000-$65,000 per year. Emory alumni must work in qualifying public interest and public sector positions to qualify. Loyola Law School caps the salary for recipients at $54,000 per year.

    The loan repayment assistance may come in several different forms. At Georgetown University, for example, participants in the LRAP program receive an interest-free loan from Georgetown Law to cover their monthly payments. New York University Law offers an income-driven plan that fully forgives loans while lowering out-of-pocket expenses.

    Current and prospective law students considering public service careers can visit the ABA page to compare LRAP plans offered by law schools.

Scholarships for Law School Students



Professional associations, private foundations, and legal services organizations all offer scholarships to support law students. In addition to the following scholarships, students can research opportunities based on their school, state, or career plans.

Arthur Lockwood Beneventi Law Scholarship


Who Can Apply: Offered by the Daughters of the American Revolution, this scholarship supports students attending accredited law schools with a minimum 3.25 GPA. Applicants must provide college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and any scholastic achievements or honors received. The scholarship also requires a statement on the applicant’s career goals and proof of U.S. citizenship, which can include a birth certificate, naturalization papers, or a photocopy of a U.S. passport. Recipients can reapply for consideration each year.

Amount: $2,000

Bennett/Darwin Family Scholarship Fund


Who Can Apply: Seniors who earned their degree at a Palm Beach County high school qualify for this scholarship if they plan to attend law school after earning a bachelor’s degree. The scholarship takes financial need into account. Applicants may need to participate in an in-person interview as part of the selection process. Students who submit a common application through the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties will also be considered for other awards.

Amount: Varies

Women in Public Finance Award & Scholarship


Who Can Apply: The scholarship supports women entering college with a plan to pursue careers in public finance or a related career in finance, government, or law. Applicants must be graduating high school students planning to attend college, including students who took a gap year. The scholarship requires a minimum 3.0 GPA; proof of leadership skills through volunteering, work experience, or extracurricular activities; and demonstrated interest in public finance. Applicants must submit an essay and a copy of their high school transcript.

Amount: $5,000

Attorney Ken Nugent Legal Scholarship


Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports legal U.S. residents enrolled in an accredited law school. Applicants must provide proof of enrollment at a law school, which can include unofficial transcripts, an official enrollment verification form, or an acceptance letter sent on a school letterhead. Applicants must also hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit a 500-word essay on why they want to enter the legal field. The scholarship requires an online submission package.

Amount: $5,000

One Lawyer Can Change the World Scholarship


Who Can Apply: Offered by BARBRI, the bar exam preparation organization, this scholarship supports first-year law students. The award supports 10 incoming law students who plan to be agents of change as lawyers. Applicants must submit a 500-word essay as part of their submission. In addition to first-place prizes of $10,000, the scholarship awards second-place prizes of $5,000 and $1,000 to eight runners-up. BARBRI publishes essays from winning scholars.

Amount: $10,000

LSAC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Writing Competition


Who Can Apply: The Law School Admission Council promotes access and equity in legal education through its writing competition. The scholarship supports students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ students. Applicants must submit an essay on the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion, which should discuss recruitment and retention strategies to promote diversity in the legal profession. The panel chooses three winners from first-year law students, second-year students, and final-year students. LSAC publishes the winning papers.

Amount: $5,000

LSAC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Writing Competition


Who Can Apply: The Law School Admission Council promotes access and equity in legal education through its writing competition. The scholarship supports students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ students. Applicants must submit an essay on the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion, which should discuss recruitment and retention strategies to promote diversity in the legal profession. The panel chooses three winners from first-year law students, second-year students, and final-year students. LSAC publishes the winning papers.

Amount: $5,000

ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund


Who Can Apply: The American Bar Association offers scholarships to first-year law students who identify as members of underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, including Black law students, Hispanic law students, and Asian law students. Applicants must be incoming first-year law students, including part-time law students, attending an ABA-accredited institution. The scholarship requires a minimum 2.5 GPA. Recipients receive scholarship support for three years. Each year, the scholarship fund supports 10-20 law students.

Amount: $15,000

Lloyd M. Johnson Jr. Scholarship Program


Who Can Apply: Offered by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, this scholarship promotes diversity in the legal field. Women and people of color qualify for the scholarship. Applicants should attend or plan to attend an ABA-accredited law school on a full-time basis. The committee considers the applicant’s academic record, interest in corporate law, financial need, and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Recipients also receive mentorship and professional support during their legal career.

Amount: $10,000

MALDEF Law School Scholarship Program


Who Can Apply: The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund offers law student scholarships as part of its mission to advance the civil rights of the Latino community in the United States. Applicants must submit a current resume, a personal statement, a letter of recommendation, and their law school transcripts, if applicable. The committee evaluates applicants based on academic and extracurricular achievements, financial need, and commitment to advancing Latino civil rights.

Amount: $2,000

The Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship


Who Can Apply: Offered by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, this scholarship supports Black students earning a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must submit transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, essays, and information about volunteer activities. The scholarship also considers financial need. Recipients receive $2,000 per year for four years if they maintain full-time status and stay in good academic standing with their college.

Amount: $8,000

Earl Warren Scholarship


Who Can Apply: Named for the former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, this scholarship provides $10,000 of funding each year while recipients attend law school. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund offers the scholarship annually. Recipients also receive an internship or externship opportunity and an invitation to the Legal Defence and Education Fund’s annual Civil Rights Training Institute. Scholars must remain in good academic standing to continue receiving funding.

Amount: $30,000

Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar Program


Who Can Apply: Offered by the Foundation for Advancement of Diversity in IP Law, this program supports law students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Applicants must submit a resume and proof of a bachelor’s degree in a field that prepares students for careers in patent law. The program also asks for a personal statement explaining the applicant’s interest in patent law. Applicants with financial need receive preference. Recipients must attend an ABA-accredited law school.

Amount: $30,000

The Snell & Wilmer Fellowship for Advancement and Resources (FAR)


Who Can Apply: This fellowship promotes diversity and inclusion in the legal profession by supporting students from diverse backgrounds. Fellows receive a paid LSAT preparation course, a stipend, and a law school prep course before attending law school. During law school, the fellowship covers the cost of any books or study aids. Fellows work with mentors to complete their legal studies and become successful lawyers. During their first year of law school, fellows work with their mentor at least once a month to build skills and expand their network.

Amount: Varies

The Zelle Diversity In Law Scholarship


Who Can Apply: This scholarship, offered by the Zelle law firm, aims to increase and promote diversity in the legal field. Law students who come from historically underrepresented groups or who demonstrate a long-standing commitment to diversity can apply. In addition to receiving a scholarship, law students can complete a paid summer clerkship at a Zelle office. Scholarship recipients also work with an attorney mentor during their time in law school.

Amount: $20,000

The Zelle Diversity In Law Scholarship


Who Can Apply: This scholarship, offered by the Zelle law firm, aims to increase and promote diversity in the legal field. Law students who come from historically underrepresented groups or who demonstrate a long-standing commitment to diversity can apply. In addition to receiving a scholarship, law students can complete a paid summer clerkship at a Zelle office. Scholarship recipients also work with an attorney mentor during their time in law school.

Amount: $20,000

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