Law school is expensive. There’s no other way to put it. With how things are going, you could be looking at spending over $150,000 when you finally get your degree, and that’s on the low end. So, unless you’re made of money, chances are you’re going to need some financial aid.
Right now, with law school prices so high, a large majority of students finance their education with student loans. The loans can be private or federal, or some kind of mixture. It really just depends on what works best for your situation.
There are numerous pros and cons for each kind of financing, and you’ll want to gather as much information as possible after you get into law school but before you make your decision.
Go here if you want to take a look at the federal student loan website. Go ahead and browse it if you like. There are a bunch of resources there and even more information. It’s enough to make a person’s head spin.
For the record, I used federal student loans to finance my law school education. Here’s why: I didn’t know what else to use, and the government was more than willing to lend me money to go to law school, since I’d be paying it back over the next 20 to 30 years.
Here are some other reasons for my choosing the federal loan option.
- Qualifying for these loans is pretty easy, and doesn’t always require a cosigner.
- They offer some very generous repayment options, such as income-based repayment, and public service loan forgiveness programs.
Whatever the reason, just make sure getting a federal student loan is right for you.
I just want to put this out there, because I’ve done a lot of research on the subject and written a TON of stuff on the subject for a student loan company: you don’t want to get a private student loan to pay for your law school education. It’s a pain in the butt, and you’ll probably need to pay some of it back while you’re still in school.
However, once you graduate, you can refinance your federal student loans with a private loan company. That’s where the savings start to come in.
With private loans, you’ll be able to get much better interest rates and some really flexible loan terms. While you’ll lose your federal loan benefits, you’ll also gain the ability to discharge your loan debts in bankruptcy. Did I mention that you can’t get rid of your federal student loans through bankruptcy?
Not only will you get better interest rates, you’ll also get better customer service and some other amazing resources. It all just comes back to the federal student loan benefits. With private loans, there aren’t any income-based repayment programs, and there aren’t any loan forgiveness programs.
Some other options
Federal Work Study: this program allows you to work part-time during the school year for various, approved companies and organizations, with a cap at 20 hours per week. If you can qualify for one of these programs, you’ll save yourself some money, since this is essentially a grant (meaning you don’t have to pay it back) instead of a student loan.
Veteran’s Educational Assistance: The VA (US Department of Veteran’s Affairs) offers a bunch of educational benefits for Veterans. They offer numerous GI bills, help out with tuition and other school fees, offer a monthly housing allowance, and even give a books and supplies stipend. For more information on the programs that the VA offers, go here.
Other Scholarships and Grants: If you can help it, getting a scholarship or a grant is the way to go. You won’t have to pay the money back, which means more money for you later once you’re done with law school. Keep in mind that scholarships are taxable income. Every law school out there offers scholarship opportunities to students. They will have a webpage devoted specifically to what scholarships out there are available. Here is Yale University’s, for example. However, outside of the scholarships offered by each school, there are also a bunch of scholarships available from organizations all over the United States. The American Bar Association is a great resource in looking for various scholarship opportunities.
Putting it all together
If you decide you want to go to law school, you’re going to need some help paying for it. Whether you get a loan, a grant, or a scholarship, or you have a wealthy relative…the money is going to need to come from somewhere. However, as you can see, there are a bunch of resources out there that are available to every prospective law student. So, don’t give up. Keep your head up and find a little bit of peace in the fact that somehow, some way, you’ll be able to get it done. It will just take a little bit of effort and a lot of hard work.