Need-based institutional aid (i.e., grants and university loans) is calculated on the basis of family financial strength as demonstrated by the need analysis forms and other required documents described in the Eligibility for a Scholarship Grant section. Prior educational debt and the family’s willingness to contribute to the student’s educational costs are not factored into the aid decision.
Grant awards for entering J.D. students (Class of 2026) will be made on a three-year basis. Award letters to recipients of institutional grants will include information about the financial aid package, including educational loans, and the Law School’s grant commitment for each of the student’s three years (six semesters) of full-time study at Columbia Law School.
Law School grant funds for each class (e.g., Class of 2026) are committed at the time of admission. Therefore, the Law School does not accept grant applications from students in their second or third years, nor from students admitted with advanced standing. Of course, upperclass J.D. students who are experiencing financial difficulty because of significant adverse changes to their circumstances are encouraged to meet with a Financial Aid Officer to explore their financial aid options.
All need-based grant packages include a loan component, comprised of federal loans for U.S. students and eligible noncitizens, and private (credit-based) educational loans for international students. Students who are not able to secure the loans necessary to finance their education must find other means to pay for their education.
Continuing students (2L’s/Class of 2025 and 3L’s/Class of 2024) who received a three-year grant at the time of admission to the Law School will have their financial aid renewed in accordance with their award notification once they have submitted the following: Financial Aid Questionnaire, Grant Data Sheet, current resume, biographical sketch, loan documents, and loan application(s). They will not need to complete the CSS Profile application again, nor to submit tax returns, unless tax data is required for verification of FAFSA data.
Grant recipients are required to notify our office of changes to their circumstances (e.g., tuition exemption, outside awards, etc.) and may be asked to provide additional documentation. While adjustments to the Law School grant may not always result from such changes, it may be necessary to modify loan amounts.