Law School Admissions


Law School-Administered Financial Aid: The Good News and the Bad News

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



legal education, financial aid, law school student debt, loan repayment assistance program


In 2015, the ABA Task Force on Financing Legal Education reported a vast increase in law school-administered financial aid over the previous ten years. Financial aid administered by law schools was even the most rapidly rising cost factor for law schools collectively. At first glance this increase might seem like some good news for persons sharing my values and worldview. Historically financial aid has been associated with helping the financially needy, encouraging them and members of underrepresented identities to attend law school, and helping make it possible for students who want to devote their careers to low-paying, public-interest-oriented work to achieve their dreams. In fact, however, as the task force makes clear, almost all the increased financial aid is being awarded to applicants with high LSAT scores and high undergraduate GPAs — what is called “merit” these days. Any correlation between the beneficiaries of increased financial aid and the kinds of students who traditionally benefited from law school-administered financial aid is purely coincidental.