Loans and Scholarship Options
Cornell Law School awards over $4 million in institutional aid each year to new and returning students. Almost 50% of Law School students receive scholarship assistance. To be considered for institutional aid, please complete a Cornell Law School Financial Aid Information Sheet by March 15.
Outside scholarships are scholarships offered to a student by an agency, state, or civic association. Outside scholarships are paid to students through the Cornell Law Financial Aid Office. These scholarships reduce borrowing; however, on rare occasions, they may impact institutional grants, so it is important to disclose all outside scholarships you will be receiving. If you are interested in such scholarships, please review the list below. Please note that this is just a sampling of scholarships available to students. It is important to use your resources: college graduate school advisor, the internet, civic associations, local libraries and bar associations. In addition, we send out information via email notifying our students of other possible outside scholarship opportunities.
American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC): Academic Year Fellowship
American Association of University Women Education Foundation-Women of Color
Earl Warren Legal Training Scholarships-African American Attorneys
Award: Civil Rights-$3,000; Shearman & Sterling- $15,000
GP LSAT Prep Law Student Scholarship
Harry A. Blackmun Scholarship Foundation, Inc.
Harry A. Blackmun Scholarship Foundation, Inc.
118 West Mulberry Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-3600
Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Jaycee War Memorial Fund
Korean-American Scholarship Foundation: KASF Scholarships
Award: Not specified
Mexican American Legal and Educational Defense Fund
Minority Corporate Counsel Association
Award: $10,000 per year
National Black Law Students Association
Entering Student Outside Scholarships
Law Preview Scholarships Sponsored by Clifford Chance
Top law firms understand that their lawyers must be diverse in order to best serve their clients. That is why many top 100 law firms have invested heavily to improve diversity among practicing attorneys and the legal community in general. These law firms understand that improving diversity in the legal profession requires more than just hiring and promoting diverse attorneys within their firms. It also requires a sustained commitment to increase the pipeline of diverse students who earn strong grades in law school and are, therefore, positioned to compete for the most sought-after jobs and become the profession's next generation of leaders and decision-makers.
Law Preview (the nation's largest law school prep course) has teamed up with Clifford Chance (one of the world's most prominent law firms) to provide Law Preview Scholarships to select members of our entering class. Clifford Chance has generously agreed to help entering students prepare for the unique challenges they will face during their 1L year at Cornell Law by paying the cost of tuition for a law school prep course. Visit the following URL to see if you meet the scholarship criteria: www.lawpreview.com/scholarships.
American Bar Association (ABA)-Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund
Adler Pollock & Sheehan Diversity Scholarship
Rhode Island Bar Foundation - Thomas F. Black, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund
Cornell University Fellowship Database
[To use, navigate to "social sciences"]
The American Bar Association also has a list of scholarship links.
Students may want to take advantage of free scholarship search services that are available on the web. www.fastweb.com, www.collegeanswer.com, and www.collegeboard.com are reputable services that are available.
Beware of any service that asks for money or credit card information before conducting the scholarship search.
Please also check with the NAACP Defense and Educational Fund Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, Japanese American Citizens League, Hawaiian Community Foundation and the Asian American Defense and Educational Fund.
We have compiled this list solely to serve as a resource for use in researching possible funding sources for your legal education. We have made a good faith effort to list programs of which we are aware. This list is not comprehensive. There may be other sources to consider. Also, we are not in a position to vouch for any aspect of the listed programs or their particular funding mechanisms, and our list should not be seen as any kind of endorsement of these programs or their sponsors.
Cornell Law School participates in the Federal Direct Lending Program which includes: the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Graduate PLUS Loan.
- Loans are only offered if a student completes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and qualifies for the loans.
- Eligibility is limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
- The loan limit for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is $20,500 per academic year.
- For the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, repayment is deferred until six months after graduation (or if enrollment drops below half-time).
- The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program currently has an annual fixed rate of 6.8%.
- The Graduate PLUS Loan limit is determined by the cost of attendance, this loan has a 7.9% fixed interest rate and payment is deferred until six months after graduation (or if enrollment drops below half-time).
If you have been offered a Federal Direct Loan and have decided to attend Cornell Law School, it is now time to complete the necessary process to accept or decline these funds.
To accept any portion of the federal funds, please complete and return the following forms by August 1:
- Please visit www.studentloans.gov and sign the online promissory note or notes necessary.
(The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan has its own promissory note.)
(The Graduate PLUS Loan has its own promissory note.)
- Please visit www.studentloans.gov and complete the online Entrance Counseling.
(To fulfill this requirement you have two options: there is a combination Entrance Counseling option which covers the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Graduate PLUS Loan or you can complete one Entrance Counseling session for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and one for the Graduate PLUS Loan.)
To decline funds, please send an email to the financial aid office, firstname.lastname@example.org , listing the loans that you would like to decline.
It is important to note that while the fall portion of the loans will be listed on your first bill as anticipated aid, the funds will not be disbursed until the third week in August (usually 10 days prior to the start of classes). As long as they are listed, they serve as credit and you are not responsible for the portion of the bill covered by your loans. It is important to make payment arrangements for the remaining amount.
Please understand that if you have not signed the promissory note or completed the Entrance Counseling for your loans at Cornell, your loans will not disburse. The promissory note and Entrance Counseling are valid for 10 years at Cornell. You do not need to redo this process every year. You will however need to complete this process if you signed for a specific loan and it never disbursed. This would mean that if it is the first time you are receiving the loan, you need to complete the Entrance Counseling and promissory note.
Private or Federal Graduate PLUS Loans
Private or Graduate PLUS Loans allow students to round their aid packages by covering the unmet need or family contribution. Loan limits are determined by the cost of attendance, as determined by the law school, less all other aid. The Cornell Law School Financial Aid Office determines the yearly borrowing limit for each student. Private lenders often have a debt ceiling that can impact the amount a student is eligible to borrow. Private loan interest rates and borrowing eligibility are based upon an applicant’s credit rating. It is therefore vital that you review your credit history before applying for these loans.
Graduate PLUS loan applicants will have their credit checked for approval only.
If you are looking to apply for a Graduate PLUS Loan to cover your unmet need or family contribution please download the application form, located in the forms section of the website, and turn it into our financial aid office for processing.
Also, if you have not done so already, please complete the Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory note found on the Federal Direct Lending website. Master Promissory Note: www.studentloans.gov.
Visit our neutral lending list and review our loan comparison sheet to help decide which loan option may be better for you.
For more information, contact:
Financial Aid Office
226A Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell Law School
Ithaca, NY 14853