The Law School's financial aid resources are substantial, drawing on a variety of Law School scholarship and loan funds as well as funds from external sources, and we distribute more than $3 million in grants annually to each entering class.
(Scholarships are not conditional at Michigan. Renewal of scholarships requires only good academic standing and full-time enrollment at the University of Michigan Law School.)
Our graduates have an average debt that is among the lowest of top schools, and is more than $10,000 lower than the average debt for top schools. This is, in part, due to the lower cost of living here; in comparing awards from different schools, it is important to consider the total combination of tuition and cost of living in a given location, less any grant award, because while tuition is relatively consistent among schools, the cost of living can vary greatly, as can the amount of grants available.
Our resources are allocated on the basis of financial need and on the basis of academic achievement. More than half of our students receive outright grants and scholarships, in an average amount of about $15,000; the smallest award is $5,000, and the largest covers full tuition.
Most students, however, will need to take on debt in order to finance their legal education. Direct Unsubsidized and GradPlus loans are fixed interest rate loans offered by the government. A fixed interest rate loan eliminates the risk of unforeseen payment amounts. Further, additional loan options may be available for law students.
In short, students who have good credit and are U.S. citizens will be able to finance the full cost of the legal education here.
(Non-U.S. citizens and others who anticipate problems with eligibility for federal funds should contact the Law School's Financial Aid Office as soon as possible after being admitted to discuss their situation.)
In considering the cost of law school and the attendant debt, it is also important to weigh your options for paying off your debt at the various law schools you are considering; attending the lowest-cost school may not make sense if it requires you to limit your career options and earning potential over the course of your life.
There are few safer investments to make than attending Michigan Law, and the return on it will benefit you throughout a long career, both in terms of options as well in terms of economics. The large global law firms paying the highest starting salaries recruit from only a few law schools, a group in which Michigan figures prominently. Thus, although the cost of law school has risen considerably in the last decade, our graduates' average starting salary has risen even faster.
Of course, not everyone will pursue a career in a large law firm, and for those who wish to go into public interest or other lower-paying law-related jobs, Michigan offers one of the most progressive loan repayment assistance programs in the country.
While the expense of law school can understandably be worrisome for applicants, the financial aid and admissions professionals at Michigan Law are committed to working closely with our students to counsel and guide them about finding funding, minimizing debt, and weighing the various options available.
Grants and Scholarships
Scholarships are not conditional at Michigan Law. To retain a scholarship from year to year, you must only enroll at the Law School with a full-time course load and remain in good standing.
Law School Scholarships
All first-year admitted students are automatically considered for a Dean's Scholarship. Typically, files are reviewed within two weeks of admission beginning in mid to late January, and Dean's Scholarships range from $5,000 up to full tuition.
Incoming first-year students may also be considered for one of the following awards in lieu of, but not in addition to, a Dean's Scholarship:
- Teach for America Award
Michigan Law is pleased to offer competitive scholarships to certain outstanding applicants who have completed the Teach for America program. The scholarship award will be $10,000 per year for all three years of law school.
To remain eligible for the Teach for America Award from year to year, students need merely enroll at the Law School with a full-time course load and remain in good academic standing. Consideration will occur simultaneously with merit scholarship review.
- City Year National Service Scholarship
Michigan Law is pleased to offer a merit scholarship to admitted students who have completed the City Year program and have not already been awarded a merit scholarship.
City Year National Service Scholars will be awarded $10,000 per year for all three years of law school. To remain eligible for the City Year National Service Scholarship from year to year, students need merely enroll at the Law School with a full-time course load and remain in good academic standing.
- Teach for America Award
Competing aid Scholarships
In cases where no merit scholarship has been offered to an incoming first-year student, the Financial Aid Office is occasionally able to take financial award offers from peer schools into account. Copies of award letters from other law schools for the same admission year should be emailed to the Financial Aid Office.
Need-based Law School Grants
Law School grants are offered by the Financial Aid Office to first-year students who show exceptional financial need.
In assessing need, we take into account a variety of historical factors, such as Pell eligibility as an undergraduate, as well as current financial factors, such as income and assets. We do not require applicants to submit any parental financial records.
First-year admitted students may complete a very short online questionnaire to determine whether additional forms need to be completed. Need-based aid eligibility is assessed beginning in March.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Direct Unsubsidized loans are offered by the federal government through the Department of Education. The interest rate for new Direct Unsubsidized loans is determined annually, based on the 10-year Treasury bill plus 3.6 percent.
The interest rate for loans with disbursement dates between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 is 5.284 percent fixed for the life of the loan. Direct Unsubsidized loans are capped at $20,500 per year and are available to students regardless of financial need.
Grad PLUS Loans
Grad PLUS loans are funded by the federal government through the Department of Education. The interest rate for new Grad PLUS loans is determined annually, based on the 10-year Treasury bill plus 4.6 percent.
The interest rate for loans with disbursement dates between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 is 6.284 percent fixed for the life of the loan. Students may request to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus all other aid received for the academic year.
Grad PLUS loans offer a fixed interest rate, flexible repayment terms, and have less stringent credit criteria than private loans.
Private loans are available to law students from a variety of lenders. The loans are often offered at variable interest rates (with no cap on the interest rate) that are determined by your credit history and that of your co-signer. Most private lenders strongly encourage a co-signer.
The Federal Work-Study Program
The Federal Work-Study Program enables students to earn money through employment within the University. Law students often work in the Law Library or serve as research assistants to law professors. The federal government subsidizes 60 percent of all work-study wages. In addition, wages earned on campus while enrolled part-time or more are exempt from Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes.
Michigan Law’s Income-based Debt Management program (LRAP)
The Income-Based Debt Management Program (LRAP) at the Law School provides those from the entering class of 2011 and later with maximum flexibility to choose jobs from any law-related area (excluding judicial clerkships and U-M funded fellowships), including modest-paying public interest positions, while still maintaining a reasonable lifestyle and remaining current on outstanding loan obligations.
Graduates whose combination of income and debt make them eligible receive assistance in meeting their loan obligations.