Products built to simplify and automate borrowing.
Products built to power seamless lending.
The latest updates and insights from our team.
Helpful tools to get your questions answered.
The average lawyer earns about $148,000 per year. But the average law school debt is $160,000. It is important, then, that you understand law school loans and get the best ones. That way, when you graduate, your loans will be more manageable.
You have two main options when it comes to student loans: federal and private.
To be eligible for federal student loans you must fill out the FAFSA. Law students are eligible for two types of federal loans, Direct Unsubsidized and PLUS Loans. With Direct Unsubsidized Loans, you can take out $20,500 per year. The lifetime total is $138,500. With Direct PLUS Loans, you can take out the cost of attendance minus other aid you’ve received. You will need to pass an adverse credit check to be eligible for a Direct PLUS loan.
You can also take out private student loans. The loan amounts you can get will be dependent on each lender, but you can typically get up to the cost of attendance minus other aid. To be eligible to borrow, you’ll need to meet certain qualifications, which will vary with each lender. However, you’ll at least need to make sure you have a good credit score, or have a cosigner with a good credit score. This can help you secure a lower interest rate. Some lenders may also offer a lower interest rate to borrowers who sign up for autopay.
No matter what type of loan you get, you can use the money to pay expenses related to your law degree. You can pay for education expenses like tuition, books, and other supplies you may need or living expenses like room and board and more personal things. Some private student loans will even cover bar exam expenses including the actual cost of the test as well as a prep course and lodging for the exam.
It depends. With federal loans, you can typically defer until after you graduate. You’ll even get a grace period of six months before you have to start making payments. With private lenders, you may not be able to wait as long. You should talk with your lender to see what deferment options are available to you. You’ll also want to ask if they offer grace periods.
Once you know when your repayment period starts, ask about repayment plans. Federal student loans tend to have more flexible repayment options such as income-driven repayment and graduated repayment. Income-driven repayment bases your monthly payment on a percentage of your income. So, you’ll never pay more than what you could reasonably afford. Graduated repayment extends the repayment term to 25 years, which lowers your monthly payment. And these are just some. While typically not as flexible, private lenders may offer similar support in the form of deferred repayment plans and hardship plans. Deferred repayment plans allow you to postpone making payments on your loans while in school, however, interest will accrue in the meantime. You should talk with your lender for more information on your repayment options.
Generally, when trying to minimize school debt, start with scholarships and grants. Then, federal student loans. Finally, private student loans.
Scholarships and grants should always be your first options. It’s free money that you receive and don’t have to pay back. It’s a great way to fund your education worry-free. As a bonus, it’ll lessen the load on how much you have to take out in loans.
Once you’re ready to start looking for loans, first explore federal loan options. In general, federal student loans tend to have lower interest rates and better terms. Additionally, federal student loans have the potential to be forgiven, which private student loans do not.
If you still need more money after that, then explore private loan options. With private loans, especially, take time to review the terms of each loan carefully. You can even use Sparrow to help you do that. Fill out the Sparrow application to get matched with what you qualify for at top lenders. Then, save and compare your favorite ones before making a final decision.
Here are our best picks for law school loans that you can start with.
Arkansas Student Loan Authority
The Arkansas Student Loan Authority (ASLA) is an Arkansas state entity that provides educational funding for all Arkansas students who wish to attend higher education institutions. ASLA is a great option for Arkansas students.
Ascent – Cosigned Loans & Non-Cosigned Loans
Ascent is an online lender that offers educational funding for students. They offer three types of student loans: a traditional cosigned loan, a non-cosigned credit-based loan, and a non-cosigned outcomes-based loan. Collectively, the three options provide a great selection for those who do not have a cosigner available, are international or DACA students, or have lower credit scores.
Brazos is a non-profit lender offering educational funding through private student loans available only to Texas Residents. They offer a wide range of loan options, covering undergraduate, graduate, MBA, law, medical, dental, veterinary, and doctoral degree programs. Brazos is a great option if you live in Texas, have strong credit, and want competitive interest rates.
College Ave Student Loans offers educational funding for undergraduate, graduate, professional, and career school students, and parents of students. It’s a great option if you are seeking a more flexible repayment term that allows you to find a loan that matches your budget.
Earnest’s student loans provide funding to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. They’re a great option if you are seeking competitive interest rates, unique borrower perks, and flexible repayment options that allow you to find a loan that matches your budget.
LendKey is an institution that offers educational funding to undergraduate and graduate students. By connecting borrowers with a network of 100+ lesser-known credit unions and community banks, LendKey allows you to work with smaller lenders with low rates and good customer service, rather than traditional lending institutions. It’s best for students with strong credit who want generous cosigner release and forbearance policies.
MPOWER is an online lender that offers educational funding to international, domestic, and DACA students. They offer non-cosigned undergraduate and graduate student loans. It is best for international students and DACA students who don’t have a credit history and can’t access a qualified cosigner.
Prodigy Finance is an online lender that provides funding to international students. They offer non-cosigned graduate student loans. They’re a good option for international students who don’t have a credit history and can’t access a qualified cosigner.
Sallie Mae is an online lender that provides educational funding to students. They offer cosigned and non-cosigned undergraduate, graduate, and career training student loans. They’re a good option for students seeking competitive interest rates with a creditworthy cosigner.
SoFi offers educational funding to undergraduate, graduate, law, and MBA students, and parents of students. With competitive interest rates, a diverse set of repayment options, and exclusive member benefits, SoFi is a good fit for borrowers with a strong credit score or a creditworthy cosigner.
Law school can be challenging, but paying for it doesn’t have to be. Securing free aid first through scholarships and grants can help ease the financial burden of law school. Then, use this article to help you navigate loans. Get federal student loans first and use Sparrow to help you look for private ones. That way you can focus more on succeeding at law school.
Sparrow’s goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products.