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Yale Law Announces Free Tuition for Highest Need Students

Yale Law School will soon be offering tuition-free scholarships for its highest need students.

Dean Heather K. Gerken announced this week the Soledad ’92 and Robert Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program, which will provide approximately 45 to 50 full-tuition scholarships to eligible J.D. students starting with the Classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025 and continuing on. Students who meet the financial requirements will automatically receive the scholarship.

“We are committed to opening our doors to the students who have the most to gain from this School and the most to give to the world, regardless of their means,” Dean Gerken says in an official release. “I am thrilled that we are able to make this extraordinary addition to a financial aid system that is already best-in-class. The Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program will free students with the greatest need from financial worry during law school and open up a world of possibilities so that they can be a powerful force for change in society.”

AID BASED EXCLUSIVELY ON FINANCIAL NEED

Yale Law School is one only the few schools that provide aid to students based exclusively on their financial need. Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School also award aid based only on financial need.

At Yale Law, 73% of students received scholarship grants in the 2020-21 academic year. That financial support has benefited Yale law students greatly. According to Yale Law, its students graduate with the lowest debt load among its peer schools. Data from Law School Transparency shows that the average graduate loan disbursement for 2020 Yale Law grads is $135,680. Compare that to Columbia Law, where 2020 grads had an average graduate loan disbursement of $190,141.

“Our highest need students face significant financial hardships and lack an economic safety net to fall back on,” Miriam Ingber, Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Yale Law School, says. “Even with significant need-based financial aid awards and our loan repayment program, the financial burden for these students weighs heavily, and many students fear debt knowing that they are responsible for their families’ financial well-being as well as their own. This new program is a critical step forward for the Law School, and we hope it will transform the academic experience for our Hurst Horizon Scholars.”

The Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program will be given to J.D. students whose family income is below the federal poverty guidelines and whose assets are below $150,000. Students who qualify will be awarded more than $70,000 per year to cover the cost of tuition, fees, and health insurance.

Sources: Yale Law School, Yale Law School, US News, Law School Transparency

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