Our Philosophy

The financial aid program at Harvard Law School has two central goals: to help make a legal education accessible to every student in the JD program through need-based aid, and to preserve the broadest range of career options for graduates through need-based loan repayment assistance (the Low Income Protection Plan, or LIPP).

In other words, Harvard Law School has a financial aid program to meet financial need during your law school years and after you graduate. HLS does not award "merit" or “full-ride” scholarships (which typically are not need-based) because doing so would decrease the resources available for need-based aid, and significantly increase the debt burden of every financially needy student. 

In a need-based aid program, fairness and equity are cornerstone principles. Our experienced staff assesses each student's financial need through careful and methodical evaluation of uniform financial data. We are committed to helping every student formulate a workable education financing plan.

HLS offers need-based HLS Grant assistance to over 700 of 1675 JD students each year. HLS Grant assistance covers only a portion of the cost of attendance and the level awarded depends on financial need. Students meet the remaining cost of attendance through a variety of means which may include education loans, external scholarship aid, student savings from summer employment or personal assets, student earnings from term-time employment, and family assistance.

It is possible for any student to fully finance the cost a law degree through education loans, regardless of financial need. Graduates who enter private law practice find that even a significant loan debt is manageable and represents a wise long-term education investment. The average annual education loan payment for recent graduates is about 10% of the annual income for those starting work in the private sector, and any JD graduate with eligible education loans can receive loan repayment assistance upon taking a lower-paying job that qualifies for LIPP.

Last modified: February 06, 2014

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