Law School Admissions


Scholarships at Risk: The Mathematics of Merit Stipulations in Financial Aid Awards

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date



financial aid, merit-based, law school grades


American law schools often condition financial aid grants on the maintenance of a certain grade point average (GPA). "Merit stipulations," as these conditions are known, require that students meet or exceed minimum academic standards, typically at the end of their first year in law school. Students must meet these stipulations in order to keep all or part of their financial aid for the remaining two years of law study. But the very existence of a merit stipulation discounts the value of a grant. That discount can, and should, be calculated according to the probability that a student may fail to fulfill the merit stipulation attached to her or his financial aid grant. This Article serves as a first step toward equipping prospective students to assess their own economic prospects by framing the problem of merit stipulations in law school financial aid as one of applied mathematics.