3 Ways To Minimize Law School Debt
74% of law school students graduate in debt. And the average law school graduate owes $160,000 in student loan debt. With law school tuition only increasing, it’s important to understand the implication of debt and how to minimize it.
US News recently spoke to experts on how prospective law school student can earn a law school degree while keeping debt to a minimum.
“Significant amounts of debt can mean that graduates must accept jobs that pay well but don’t allow them to pursue the career they were seeking,” Ben Cooper, the founder of PreLaw Pro, a law school admissions and career consulting firm, tells US News. “It can also mean significant delays in other life goals such as marriage, children, and homeownership.”
One of the best ways to save for law school is by utilizing a 529 plan, a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future education costs.
“Any amount saved is that much less that will have to be borrowed and repaid with interest,” Patricia Roberts, chief operating officer of Gift of College, an online gift registry for education savings accounts, and author of the book Route 529, tells US News. “529 college savings plans are one of the most effective ways to save for higher education expenses given their many tax advantages. Prospective students may want to defer attendance and work for a few years while saving up for the cost of law school.”
GET YOUR LAW EDUCATION SUBSIDIZED
Another way to minimize your debt, experts say, is to get your law education subsidized by your employer.
“A growing number of employers are recognizing the stress that employees are under and are willing to offer support in repayment of student loan debt as a financial wellness benefit,” Roberts tells US News.
YOU MAY QUALIFY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS
Aside from FAFSA and merit-based aid, experts say law students may often qualify for a variety of scholarships. One such scholarship is medical-based financial aid.
“This program pays students to attend college or grad school if they have a medical condition that impedes, or has the potential to impede, their prospective employment,” Jason White, an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, tells US News. “I suffer from asthma and allergies and these conditions qualified for aid under the program, saving me approximately $90,000 between (undergrad) and law school. Money dispersed through the program is not a loan and does not have to be paid back.”