Posted on February 26, 2022

Yale Law School to Cover Full Tuition and Fees for Lowest-Income Students

Melissa Korn and Sara Randazzo, Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2022

Yale Law School will begin covering full tuition for its lowest-income students next fall, as the elite graduate program aims to diversify its ranks and make obtaining a law degree more affordable.

Students from families with income below the federal poverty line will receive annual scholarships of about $72,000, covering tuition, fees and health insurance. The students will still be responsible for their own living expenses, which the school estimates to be about $21,000 this school year.


Yale Law Dean Heather Gerken said the more generous scholarships are a natural extension of the school’s recent success in attracting and enrolling a more diverse student population. One in four first-year law students there is now the first in their family to attend professional school. More than half the class is now made up of students of color, compared with 32% between 2006 and 2016.


Among the nation’s 200 accredited law schools, only a few of the most prestigious regularly give need-based scholarships. For most, fierce competition for students that will help boost national rankings drives schools to offer scholarships based on test scores and grade-point averages. {snip}

“They’re trying to entice people with lower prices, and the people they want to entice are those that help their ranking,” said Kyle McEntee, who founded Law School Transparency.

Since white and Asian students have, on average, historically scored higher on the Law School Admission Test than have other racial groups, he said, such an approach harms broader diversity efforts.

Ms. Gerken said she hopes Yale’s move will push other law schools to direct more of their financial-aid dollars to need-based scholarships.