Understanding Military Benefits for Law Students
If you’ve ever served our country in the armed forces, you’ve earned not only our admiration and respect, but also the opportunity to attend law school with assistance from the GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program (for participating schools).
Most people know the story of the original GI Bill. It was signed into law by President Roosevelt in 1944 to give returning veterans access to low-interest mortgages and tuition grants. It quickly led to a massive influx of veteran students, and in 1947 veterans accounted for nearly half of college admissions. The bill was most recently updated in 2008 to cover more educational expenses, provide a living allowance, and offer transferability to spouses and kids. But still, it covers only in-state tuition at public schools.
Will The GI Bill Pay for Law School?
The GI Bill pays some portion of tuition, housing, books and fees. The Yellow Ribbon program can be used by schools to fund the difference in tuition covered by the GI bill and the actual cost.
The Yellow Ribbon Program fills the void. It enables veterans to attend private schools and graduate programs—like law school—that cost more than the state-tuition cap. How? The VA agrees to match veterans-only scholarships at participating institutions dollar-for-dollar, up to the full cost of tuition. Some schools limit the number of students it will grant money, but many do not.
Between the benefits of the GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program, over 30 of the T50 law schools—including Stanford, Notre Dame, and Duke—are essentially tuition free. Numerous others have tuition under $10,000 per year. This knowledge can be valuable even at schools without the biggest tuition breaks. You may find that T14 schools are tuition-free for veterans.