The Law School's financial aid resources are substantial, drawing on a variety of Law School scholarship and loan funds as well as funds from external sources, and we distribute more than $3 million in grants annually to each entering class. (Scholarships are not conditional at Michigan. Renewal of scholarships requires only good academic standing and full-time enrollment at the University of Michigan Law School.) Our graduates have an average debt that is among the lowest of top schools, and is more than $10,000 lower than the average debt for top schools. This is, in part, due to the lower cost of living here; in comparing awards from different schools, it is important to consider the total combination of tuition and cost of living in a given location, less any grant award, because while tuition is relatively consistent among schools, the cost of living can vary greatly, as can the amount of grants available.
Our resources are allocated on the basis of financial need and on the basis of academic achievement. More than half of our students receive outright grants and scholarships, in an average amount of about $15,000; the smallest award is $5,000, and the largest covers full tuition. Most students, however, will need to take on debt in order to finance their legal education. Direct Unsubsidized and GradPlus loans are fixed interest rate loans offered by the government. A fixed interest rate loan eliminates the risk of unforeseen payment amounts. Further, additional loan options may be available for law students. In short, students who have good credit and are U.S. citizens will be able to finance the full cost of the legal education here. (Non-U.S. citizens and others who anticipate problems with eligibility for federal funds should contact the Law School's Financial Aid Office as soon as possible after being admitted to discuss their situation.)
In considering the cost of law school and the attendant debt, it is also important to weigh your options for paying off your debt at the various law schools you are considering; attending the lowest-cost school may not make sense if it requires you to limit your career options and earning potential over the course of your life. There are few safer investments to make than attending Michigan Law, and the return on it will benefit you throughout a long career, both in terms of options as well in terms of economics. The large global law firms paying the highest starting salaries recruit from only a few law schools, a group in which Michigan figures prominently. Thus, although the cost of law school has risen considerably in the last decade, our graduates' average starting salary has risen even faster. Of course, not everyone will pursue a career in a large law firm, and for those who wish to go into public interest or other lower-paying law-related jobs, Michigan offers one of the most progressive loan repayment assistance programs in the country.
While the expense of law school can understandably be worrisome for applicants, the financial aid and admissions professionals at Michigan Law are committed to working closely with our students to counsel and guide them about finding funding, minimizing debt, and weighing the various options available.
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