Congratulations! You’ve gotten into law school.
Now comes the hard part. Figuring out how to pay for school.
The average cost of law school can be quite high. Including tuition and fees, the top law schools run $60,293. That’s per year.
For many hopeful lawyers, the best solution for paying for law school is to get a loan.
But the average salary of a lawyer upon graduation is $68,300 for the private sector and $52,000 for the public sector. Between rent and the cost of living, it doesn’t leave a lot left over to pay for loans.
Which means that unless you plan on being in debt for a while, you have wealthy parents, or you just won the lottery, you should keep reading this to learn about the best loans for law school.
PLUS loans for law school are provided by the US Department of Education. They’re given to graduate students looking to supplement their educational expenses.
These are expenses that aren’t covered by scholarships or other types of financial aid.
To be eligible, you must have a good credit history and be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible law school.
Interest rates are at 7.9% and with this loan, students can borrow as much as the total cost of the attendance. That amount is determined by what law school they attend.
Discover Law Loans
Discover law loans for law school are private loans. Those who receive this loan receive a fixed interest rate between 6.79% and 7.89%.
Students are able to receive a lower interest rate if they qualify for the Auto Debit Reward program.
You are eligible for this program if you’re the borrower of the loan and you have at least one loan in Normal Repayment where full installment payments are due.
There are limitations, though and it’s subject to change.
To receive a Discover law loan, students must pass a credit check. Those not in good standing must provide a cosigner in order to get the loan.
Those who receive this loan must be enrolled at least half-time and they’re not required to pay back the loan while still in school.
Wells Fargo Student Loans
Wells Fargo provides loans for law school which are private but offer competitive interest rates. These are great loans for law school for several reasons.
It’s a loan that helps students pay not only for tuition, but for expenses like housing, textbooks, lab fees, and anything else that is related to their education.
What’s more, there are discounted interest rates available for eligible students. And there’s no expectation to pay back any of the loans until six months after graduation.
It’s also possible to have a cosigner added to the loan to help a student’s chance of being approved.
Federal Work-Study Programs
Federal work-study programs are found at most undergraduate and graduate schools.
It’s a program that provides funding to students attending classes full-time during at least part of the year and part-time during the rest of the year.
Students are allowed to work either on or off-campus in non-profit agencies in exchange for their loans. Paid employment cannot exceed more than twenty hours per week per ABA limits.
Income-Driven Repayment Plans
Upon graduation, these loans for law school offer a monthly payment plan. It’s based on totaling less than 10% of your family’s monthly income.
This is different from most other loans for law school in that it’s not based on the amount of the total debt you owe.
Income-driven repayment plans provide more opportunities for payment relief than many other types of private or institutional loans.
The staff in the financial aid department at your law school will determine how much you can borrow. It’s dependent on the cost of attendance at your school, any federal regulations within the state, and any other policies your educational institution may have.
Federal Perkins Loan
Federal Perkins loans for law school are available at many institutions, but not all.
How much a student receives is decided by the school and based on your financial information. The maximum amount that can be awarded to each student is $8,000.
These loans also have the potential for being included in the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
However, while 7,500 people have applied this year, less than 1,000 are actually expected to qualify.
Private Loans for Law School
Private loans for law school are a great option for students who don’t qualify for any federal loans.
A private loan may be a better option for those seeking competitive interest rates. Private loans are also helpful to those post-graduates who are still looking for full-time work.
The terms of these loans for law school vary depending on the vendor. Make sure to look at the grace periods and repayment terms before you sign up for a private loan.
Also, keep in mind that while there is a $138,500 lifetime limit on federal direct loans for professional and graduate school students who are studying non-health-related fields, private loans have no limits.
Those law students looking for short-term loans based on their income should visit this website. These types of loans help you make small necessary purchases while you’re in school.
Federal Direct Stafford Loan
The Federal Direct Stafford loan is a Direct Unsubsidized Federal loan. With it, students can borrow up to $20,500.
There’s an interest rate of 6.8% and a 1% loan fee which starts as soon as the loan is distributed. Students are given a six-month grace period before they must start paying back the loan.
If a student requires it, there are forbearance and deferment options available.
Federal Direct (Unsubsidized Loans)
The US Department of Education let’s law schools borrow up to $20,500 from them every year.
But remember that these loans for law school aren’t subsidized. That means the interest on any money you borrow starts accruing immediately.
Interest rates were fixed at 5.31% in the 2016/2017 school year but are subject to change.
Those who are awarded this loan has a six-month grace period to find a job upon graduation before they’re required to begin repaying their loans.
The Difference Between Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
A direct subsidized loan is available to undergraduate students with financial needs. The school you attend determines the amount you’re allowed to borrow and the amount cannot exceed your financial needs.
The US Department of Education pays the interest on this type of loan as long as you’re in school at least half-time. They’ll also pay interest for the first six months after you leave school and during periods of deferment.
A direct unsubsidized loan is available to both undergraduate and graduate students. You do not need to demonstrate any financial need.
Again, your school determines how much money you can borrow but they’ll base it on your cost of attendance and any other financial aid you’re receiving.
With this type of loan, the US Department has nothing to do with it so you’re responsible for paying any and all interest at all times.
However, you can choose not to pay interest while you’re attending school, or during grace or deferment periods, your interest accrues. It will then be added to the loan’s principal amount.
Do Your Homework First
Loans for law school can get expensive. Many people have struggled to pay back their loans.
As you review your options, evaluate the interest rates available for each type of loan.
Government loans can often be more expensive than most people think.
Government loans are especially expensive when you hit your limits for federal direct loans and have to consider taking out a PLUS loan.
If you need to get a cosigner in order to get a loan, be aware that it’s their credit on the line. If you fail to pay, they’re fully obligated to pay it back in full. And they’re not even the ones benefiting from the education you’re receiving.
However, keep in mind that if you choose to opt for private loans for law school, you’ll be able to remove the cosigner at a later date.
Many private lenders are willing to release the cosigner once the primary borrower establishes a history of timely payments and has an established and reliable income.
Get Noticed After Graduation
After graduating from law school, the next parts are to pass the Bar and then find employment.
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