What bar prep funding options are available?
By now, you’ve likely explored many options of funding for your bar preparation and life during bar prep: bar prep discounts, help from your employer, scholarships, loans, working as a student representative, etc. There may also be other resources available that you’ve not yet considered. You will have to get a little creative but it can be well worth it.
There are dozens of scholarships available, many of which don’t receive applications! Start with a simple Google search in your state. We’ve provided some examples below. Remember that your law school’s financial officer as well as your local board of bar examiners can also be great resources.
State bar scholarships
Many state bar associations offer bar exam scholarships. The application period generally runs in the early part of your 3L spring semester. These scholarships typically have threshold criteria such as academic achievement, financial need, involvement in community/extracurricular activities including student organizations and affinity groups, and leadership experiences.
Here are some state specific examples:
Local bar association scholarships
Many local and smaller bar associations offer their own scholarships as well. These will generally have a special interest requirement tied to them such as Women’s Bar, Young Lawyers, certain ethnic groups, etc. Think about the special interest organizations you’ve been involved in throughout law school and search for scholarships in these areas.
Here are some local bar association examples:
- Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers
- Dallas Women Lawyers Association
- New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association
- Washington State Association for Justice LGBTQ
BARBRI Public Interest Scholarship
Year after year, BARBRI supports thousands of students who seek to change the world. Last year alone, we awarded over $4.5M in BARBRI Public Interest Scholarships. A limited number of public interest scholarships are available for select BARBRI Bar Review courses. See if you qualify and learn how to apply for this scholarship here.
Low-interest loans from your law school
Some law schools provide students short-term repayment loans with no or low-interest rates to cover expenses during their bar exam study period. Check with your financial aid office to see if this is an option at your law school.
Bar exam loans
With a bar exam loan (sometimes called a bar prep loan or bar study loan), you may be able to borrow from $12,000 to $16,000 to cover your costs before you start earning a lawyer’s salary.
This can be a good option if you qualify for one of these credit-based loans. However, this is another debt incurred that will need to be repaid, so be sure to do your due diligence and weigh the pros and cons before committing.
These loans can have limits on the amount you can borrow, the total amount of overall debt you carry, and will have various grace periods and APRs. Below examples are some of the most popular national bar exam prep loan companies, but many states have local student loan options available as well.
Explore the options best for you
There are many resources available including many that are not covered in this article. Be sure to evaluate your personal situation and determine the best course for your current and future needs. You can also learn more about scholarships and funding options for BARBRI Bar Review here.