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Loans and Scholarship Options

Institutional Scholarships

Cornell Law School awards over $4 million in institutional aid each year to new and returning students. Over 80% of Law School students receive scholarship assistance. To be considered for institutional aid, submit a Cornell Law School Scholarship Application by March 15. 

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Outside Scholarships

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.

Award: $5,000
See Application: AAJ Richard Hailey Law Student Scholarships


Award: $5,000-$15,000
See Application: American Bar Association Legal Opportunity Scholarship


Award: Varies
See Application: American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC): Academic Year Fellowship


Award: $5,000-$30,000
See Application: American Association of University Women Education Foundation-Women of Color


See Application: Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute


Award: Civil Rights-$3,000; Shearman & Sterling- $15,000
See Application: Earl Warren Legal Training Scholarships-African American Attorneys


Award: $1,000
See Application: GP LSAT Prep Law Student Scholarship


See Application: Harter Secrest & Emery Diversity Scholarship


Award: Not specified
See Application: Korean-American Scholarship Foundation: KASF Scholarships


Award: $3,000-$10,000
See Application: Mexican American Legal and Educational Defense Fund


Award: $10,000 per year
See Application: Minority Corporate Counsel 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:

Award: Varies
See Application: American Bar Association (ABA)-Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund


See Application: Rhode Island Bar Foundation - Thomas F. Black, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund

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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.,, and 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.

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Federal Loans

Cornell Law School participates in the Federal Direct Lending Program which includes: the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan and the Graduate PLUS Loan.

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualifie for the federal loans, Cornell University's federal school code is 002711.
  • 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.
  • The Graduate PLUS Loan limit is determined by the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received (scholarship and loan).

If you have requested a Federal Loan and have decided to attend Cornell Law School, it is now time to complete the necessary steps to accept and allow disbursement of funds..

  • Please visit and sign the online promissory note(s) necessary.

    *Note: The Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan and Graduate PLUS Loan have their own respective master promissory notes.

The Graduate - Professional entrance counseling covers both the Unsubsidized Direct Loan and the Graduate PLUS Loan.

To cancel or reduce funds, send an email to the financial aid office, listing the loan(s) and amount(s) that you would like to change.

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 10 days prior to the first day 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 requirements for your loans, 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.

If you have any questions, please email the financial aid office.

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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:

Visit our neutral lending list

For more information, contact:

Financial Aid Office
115 Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell Law School
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-5141

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