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Cut Law School Application Costs: Freebies and Waivers

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By William Peacock, Esq. on June 28, 2013 10:09 AM

It adds up pretty quickly, doesn’t it?

  • LSAT $165
  • Credential Assembly Service $160
  • Law School Reports $25 per school
  • Application Fees $50-$60 per school

Looking to cut back on the money you spend before you even get into law school? The easiest way to trim the bill is a Law School Admission Council (LSAC) fee waiver, but they are notoriously difficult to get. As a point of reference, as a pizza delivery boy, with a sub-$20k income, I still didn’t qualify back in 2007.

It's worth applying, but most likely, you'll be footing the bill. If you are approved, however, you get everything listed above, free, with a few limits on quantities. Also, many law schools will waive their application fee automatically if you have the LSAC waiver.

Besides the LSAC fee waiver, one of the quickest ways to cut those application costs is by applying to schools with no application fee, or obtaining waivers on a school-by-school basis. Here is a quick list of fee-free law school applications (though you'll still have to pay the LSAC $25 per law school report):

Top 100

  • University of Illinois
  • Washington and Lee
  • George Mason
  • Case Western
  • Baylor
  • Brooklyn
  • Loyola Chicago
  • Chicago Kent

Tier 3

  • Cleveland State
  • New York Law School
  • Akron
  • Pacific McGeorge (requires a short survey on their website)
  • Toledo

Tier 4

  • Florida Coastal
  • Golden Gate
  • John Marshall

Unranked

  • Irvine
  • Drexel

Beyond the freebies are those who grant fee waivers. Some will offer them immediately after receiving your LSAT score through the Candidate Referral Service (CRS) (you did check "yes" on that box, didn't you?). Others will offer fee waivers on a case-by-case basis. Those are probably only worth the effort if you really want to go to that school.

With the sheer number of schools that out there, and the school-by-school nature of fee waivers, listing the details here would take forever. Fortunately, the University of Hawaii already did the work for you, in this handy Google Doc spreadsheet.

It goes without saying that your choice of schools shouldn't be based on the cost of the application, but if you looking for a few extra applications, as safety schools or just to expand your options and chance of receiving a scholarship, it can't hurt to tack a few of these names onto your list.

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