Scholarships for Law Students
Helpful Resources for Finding Law School Funding
Law schools, just like their students, strive for individual success. For a law school, success includes attracting and retaining top-performing students, and merit scholarships are a popular tool for their recruitment efforts. Many of the merit scholarships given bring generous amounts, but you should calculate your chances of winning a renewal carefully if you are planning to use such a scholarship as the cornerstone of your college planning.
For a law school to do its best in the relative rankings, its students must maintain excellent grades and score high on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Many law schools structure the first year to be more difficult than the remainder, which serves two purposes: it weeds out the less well prepared, and the method of grading on the curve disqualifies a predictable percentage of those who need a GPA of 3.0 (the most common standard) to keep merit scholarships.
To calculate your statistical chances of a GPA at or above that level, you’ll need to know the median grade (that is, where the curve is set). A higher median means a greater likelihood of keeping the needed 3.0.
With that minor caveat, earning any merit scholarship, even for one year, is still free financial assistance. And so very many schools offer such scholarships you’ll have little trouble locating offers. You’ll discover that almost all law schools evaluate you for scholarships during the admissions process, which is a very convenient service.
Scholarships From Law Schools
The following is a tiny fraction of the available aid, and the best place to find out about your choices is the financial aid office at your law school.
Illinois Institute of Technology
The Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Institute of Technology has garnered favorable publicity for removing its GPA requirement for scholarship renewal, which ended with the 2011 class. As of 2012, once you win a renewable Chicago-Kent scholarship, you can keep it as long as you’re in school.
All new students are screened for scholarship potential during the admissions process, and you will be notified of your scholarships in your acceptance letter. There are various types of scholarships offered (for academic prowess, financial need, and contributions to the community), and they are posted online as they become available. For example, current listings include several scholarships from bar associations and numerous diversity scholarships.
Wayne State University
The Wayne State University (WSU) Law School performs the same screening process on admission for the following scholarships:
- The Dean’s Scholars Program still maintains the type of GPA requirement for renewal discussed above. It pays between 25 and 100 percent of tuition for new students, and is potentially renewable based on the minimum GPA, which is not mentioned on the school’s website.
- The Merit Scholarships, also for new students, provide a minimum of $10,000 to those with excellent academic records. Additionally, there are Merit Scholarships that underwrite full tuition for second-year students who performed well in the first year.
A third type of award, the Damon J. Keith Scholarship Program, offers new law students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities or Hispanic Serving Institutions a maximum of $25,000 to enroll at WSU.
The Baylor Law School states that its admissions screening for scholarships considers both your GPA as an undergraduate and your score on the LSAT, which is the method most often used. Baylor is distinguished by requiring a GPA of 2.75, rather than the usual 3.0, for renewal, and if you maintain a 2.75 your award will be renewed automatically in your second and third years.
Like Wayne State, Baylor gives students who didn’t win merit scholarships on admission a second chance. If your GPA is at least 3.6 after the third quarter of your first year (admittedly a high bar to clear), you’ll be eligible for a merit scholarship as of the fourth quarter, with the award to continue after reevaluation on a quarterly basis.
The Leon Jaworski Scholarship for Outstanding Undergraduate Advocates goes to new students who have had particular success in areas like debate or mock trials. The award is renewable and requires only a 2.00 GPA.
Emory University School of Law requests that anyone who wants details on the merit scholarships awarded by Emory in the admissions process contact the Office of Admission directly. Emory also offers the Robert W. Woodruff Scholars and Fellows Program, which covers tuition and fees, plus a living allowance of $3,000 each year. The program is highly competitive, and considers not only your academic record but also personal character and leadership ability.
University of Colorado-Boulder
Colorado Law, the law school belonging to the University of Colorado-Boulder, lists not only the ordinary admission-based merit scholarships but also a number of additional awards like the following:
- The Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation offers two scholarships named for Joe Rudd and David P. Phillips to students committed to mineral resources practice.
- The Robert Masur Fellowship in Civil Liberties goes to a first-year student who plans to do civil rights or liberties work in the summer before the second year.
- The DRI Law School Diversity Scholarship is for new second and third year students in these categories: female, Native American, African American, Hispanic, and Asian.