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Funding from outside Harvard Law School is an excellent way to finance your education while reducing total borrowing. We consider “outside resources” to be assistance awarded from outside HLS Student Financial Services, such as private grants and scholarships, fellowships, veterans benefits or other military education benefits, Americorps benefits, and the like.

There is typically a high correlation between the amount of effort spent seeking outside funding and the likelihood of securing it. We recommend that you start by looking closely at organizations with which you and your family are already connected. This may include religious or civic organizations, local law firms, parents’ employers, unions, secondary schools, and the U.S. Military. Many organizations award merit and need-based scholarships to affiliated students.

Current students can also login to the HLS Office of Career Services job database and search under “Diversity” to find law firm scholarship opportunities for students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented at law firms.

HLS has a long-standing relationship with AccessLex; many of our students have won aid money through their programs, grant applications, and scholarship lotteries. AccessLex offers an extensive database online that tracks hundreds of scholarships for law school students.

Outside Scholarships Effect on Need-Based Grant and Borrowing Allocations

Outside scholarships received by HLS students typically do not impact the amount of need-based grant gift aid they may be receiving from the school. Rather, outside scholarships only impact the amount a student is eligible to borrow in student loans for the academic year it is awarded for. For example, if a student received an outside scholarship for $5,000 there would be no change to their need-based grant received, but that $5,000 would count towards meeting the student’s academic year budget. This means the student’s borrowing eligibility is reduced by the same amount. In the rare occurrence that a student’s budget was completely filled with grant resources, HLS grant would then have to be reduced in order to comply with federal regulations to maintain that all aid remains within the student’s cost of attendance.

Harvard University Restricted Scholarships

Harvard University (not Harvard Law School) has a pool of University-wide restricted scholarships that are awarded each year to current students from around the University via a nomination process. The nominations for HLS students are coordinated by our office and usually begin in February of each academic year for awards to be disbursed in the following academic year. Students will receive notification via email when the process begins, and are invited to look over the various restricted scholarships available to determine if they might meet the qualifications of any of these funds.

Detailed information about these University Restricted Scholarships is available on the Committee on General Scholarships Web Site. With respect to HLS financial aid policy, Harvard University Restricted Scholarship Funds are considered to be “outside resources,” meaning they do not impact need-based grant eligibility.