At HLS Student Financial Services, financial aid is just one of the things we do. Our office is also home to the Low Income Protection Plan and the Summer Public Interest Funding Program. We help students with billing issues and administer the financial clearance process each term, and we offer workshops and presentations on financial matters for all HLS students.
Overview of the HLS aid program
Through need-based aid to students and graduates, Harvard Law School provides access to legal education and preserves the broadest range of career choice options in a variety of law-related and public service fields. The JD financial aid program measures the ability of students to pay tuition, fees, and living expenses — and the ability of graduates to repay education loans — then awards need-based aid to all who qualify for assistance.
In-school financial aid
Harvard Law School Grant and Loan assistance is awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need. The School does not award “merit” or “full-ride” scholarships (which typically are not need-based) because these would reduce the resources available for need-based aid and significantly increase the debt burden of every financially needy student. For students whose demonstrated financial need does not reach the threshold for Law School Grant eligibility, Federal Direct Stafford Loans and supplemental education loans are available to meet education expenses. For international students, Harvard Law School Loans are offered instead of Federal Direct Stafford Loans, and supplemental education loans are also available.
Career choice and the Low Income Protection Plan
Loan repayment statistics show that graduates working in private sector jobs (where the average starting salary for recent Harvard Law School graduates is over $150,000) are comfortably able to repay even a significant education debt, and that the percentage of income devoted to loan repayment declines over time as annual income increases. For graduates in relatively low-paying jobs, however, an investment in law school education can turn into an unmanageable repayment burden. The Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP) addresses this problem by extending financial assistance from the Law School for many years beyond graduation. LIPP is an income-contingent loan repayment assistance program for graduates in public service or law-related private sector jobs — in other words, LIPP helps eligible graduates repay their loans. Unlike public interest scholarships, LIPP requires no “up front” commitment to public service work. Any HLS J.D. program graduate with eligible loans can qualify for LIPP assistance to repay eligible education loans.
Summer Public Interest Funding
Student Financial Services also administrates the Summer Public Interest Funding program, which guarantees funding to every first-year or second-year student who takes a qualifying public service summer job. All students are eligible to participate (whether receiving academic-year financial aid or not), and financial aid recipients are guaranteed a minimum level of funding for the summer.
A long term plan
We want to help you develop a workable long term plan for financing your education and doing the work you choose after graduation. You can learn more about our aid program throughout this website, and our staff is always ready to answer your questions.
Assistant Dean for Student Financial Services