FAQs: Scholarship

Common questions about scholarships and financing a legal education.

How does NDLS assess scholarship?
The majority of scholarship funds are awarded based on scholastic merit. The primary points of consideration in determining the merit scholarship will be the applicant’s LSAT and undergraduate GPA. Our office has the ability to consider and award a small amount of need-based scholarships on an applicant-by-applicant basis.

When will I be notified of my scholarship?
NDLS will begin notifying admitted students of scholarship decisions in mid-February. However, early decision applicants are given priority review and will be notified of both admission and scholarship status (if admitted) by the end of December. For all other applications, we operate under a deferred timeline because it gives us a better opportunity to assess the overall merit of the admitted students and ensure equity among the scholarship funds.

What percentage of your students receive scholarship assistance?
Approximately 85% of currently enrolled students are receiving scholarship assistance. The awards range from $5,000 per year to near full-tuition scholarships.

If I retake the LSAT exam and raise my LSAT score am I eligible for additional scholarship?
If you retake the exam in February and raise your score, the Admissions Office will review the increase and adjust your scholarship award accordingly. If you retake the exam in June and raise your score, the Admissions Office will review your scholarship and reconsider if funds are available.

Are other scholarships available?
The NDLS Admissions Office is solely responsible for awarding merit-based scholarships, i.e., there are no further University-base scholarships for which applicants may apply. You may choose to explore our external scholarship database for opportunities that exist outside of NDLS.

Do most students keep their scholarship after their 1L year?
Nearly 100% of our students retain their scholarship awards for the full three years. Our scholarships are renewable provided the student maintains good academic standing.

Can I earn additional scholarship funds once I am enrolled?
Students in the top 10% of each class are eligible for support from the Dean’s Circle. Students receiving less than $10,000 in scholarship assistance will receive up to $10,000 for the coming year. Students already receiving $10,000 or more in assistance receive academic recognition, but do not receive further funding from the Dean’s Circle. There are also various writing competitions and awards held throughout the year with prizes in the range of several hundred dollars to $1,000.

How do most NDLS students fund their legal education?
Most NDLS students fund their education through a combination of merit scholarship from the Law School, external scholarships, income from part-time employment or savings, and graduate student loans including both private and federal loan programs.

What federal loans are available to law students?
Federal loans available to graduate students include Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (which allows students to borrow up to $20,500 per year) and the Federal Direct PLUS Loan (which allows students to borrow up to the cost of attendance). For more information on these programs, please consult the Office of Financial Aid’s website here.

How do I apply for federal loans?
Students applying for federal loans must submit the FAFSA. Students may submit their FAFSA online beginning October 1. The suggested deadline for submitting it in order to receive priority processing consideration at NDLS is February 28th. The University of Notre Dame institution code is 1841.

Can I work during my 1L year?
Your first year of law school can be quite a transition. As a student at NDLS, we encourage you to focus your attention on your studies and extracurricular endeavors. According to the ABA standard, full-time students may work up to 20 hours per week. For those students interested in working, you may want to consider the employment opportunities on campus. Students can apply to work in graduate, teaching, or research assistantship positions across campus.

You may also apply to be an Assistant Rector during your 2L or 3L year. An Assistant Rector (AR) is a head staff member who aids in the general administration of a residence facility and its programs. ARs live in undergraduate residence halls or graduate student housing facilities. ARs contract for each semester with a starting salary of approximately $7,000. During their appointment, ARs enjoy a furnished room and meal plan. ARs also enjoy a tuition assistance benefit for three credit hours per semester. Given the financial benefits, a significant majority of the ARs on campus are law students. For additional information about becoming an AR, visit the Division of Student Affairs website.

What is the tuition and associated fees at NDLS?
Please visit our Tuition and Fees website to see the current tuition rates. The estimated total cost of attendance includes: tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses, and transportation expenses. Actual costs may vary based on housing accommodations, travel, and personal expenses.

What is the average amount of debt for graduates?
Average indebtedness of 2013 graduates was $99,090.00, and 81% of the 2013 graduating class had some level of student loan debt upon graduation.