photo of US dollars spread out into a fan with a $100 mill on top

Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash

How to Negotiate Your Law School Scholarship

Published January 31, 2019

One could think of worse predicaments than gaining acceptance to multiple law schools and feeling conflicted over competing scholarship offers. (Congratulations, by the way! This is an incredible problem to have.)

In some cases, prospective law students face the tough decision between choosing their top choice school or the school that best suits their budget. All hope is not lost. Some law schools are willing and able to work with students to make both a reality.

If you are planning to submit a formal scholarship reconsideration request, consider the below tips.

1. Be Professional
2. Tell No Tales
3. Do the Math
Bonus: Remember There Are No Guarentees

1. Be Professional

It’s worth noting straight away that some scholarship awards are non-negotiable. It’s recommended to inquire with the admissions office by phone or email before drafting a time-consuming email, as each school may have its own scholarship request protocol. Be sure to follow any specific instructions provided.

If you get the thumbs up to submit a formal request, begin your email with a greeting and maintain proper structure and punctuation throughout.

  • Use an appropriate subject line, such as ‘Scholarship Reconsideration’ or ‘Request for Additional Scholarship Funds’
  • Acknowledge your offer of admission and scholarship offer
  • Include a proper closing and thank the Admissions Committee for their time

2. Tell No Tales

If you are using another school’s scholarship offer as leverage, be prepared to show proof. In many cases, schools willing to negotiate will request documentation of your other scholarship offer(s). They want to both make sure you are telling the truth and review the conditions of your various offers, which could help factor into their possible counter-offer.

3. Do the Math

Be sure to do the basic math and understand net tuition before drafting your request. Net tuition is the law school’s sticker price minus scholarship and grants.

For example:

Hogwarts School of Law’s (HSL) annual tuition is $28,000 plus fees. HSL is located seven hours by car from your hometown and would require you to seek housing in an affordable city. HSL offered you a non-conditional annual scholarship of $15,000. This brings your net tuition to $13,000 plus fees per year.

Rushmore School of Law’s annual tuition is $53,500 plus fees. RSL is located in your hometown where you could live with family to minimize student loan debt. RSL offered you a scholarship of $30,000 with renewal provided you remain in the top 50% of your class. This brings your net tuition to $23,500 plus fees in Year 1 with the possibility of renewing.

In this example, net tuition is much less at HSW, but the added expense of room and board may make RSL more financially feasible, at least in Year 1. Law schools accredited by the American Bar Association are required to include conditional scholarship retention figures to students receiving conditional scholarship awards. Review them carefully.

In addition to being professional and honest, take the time to justify your request. It may also make sense to notify the admissions committee of any successes since you originally applied.

Note: Fees vary from law school to law school. Be sure to visit each school’s website for up-to-date tuition and fees.

Bonus: Remember there are no guarantees

It is possible you will put together an eloquent, thought-out request to no avail. Schools have set scholarship budgets and may be limited to what they can do, but with the right approach and a bit of luck, you may hit the jackpot. Happy negotiating!

Call to action for international program brochure download