Admissions, Expenses, and Financial Aid

The Degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.)

Admissions

The small size of Yale Law School—approximately 200 in each entering class—requires an extremely selective admissions process. Admission is subject to approval by the dean, pursuant to policies promulgated by the faculty of the School and the Corporation of Yale University. Overall, the Law School seeks the most promising students in terms of professional and academic distinction. Students are considered for admission regardless of financial need.

To apply for the class entering in August 2021, an applicant must apply through the Credential Assembly Service of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and:

  1. Have received before registration a bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent) from an approved undergraduate institution.
  2. Take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT or LSAT-Flex) or take the Graduate Record Examinations General Test (GRE or GRE General Test at Home).
  3. Submit transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended.
  4. Submit at least two letters of recommendation.
  5. Complete and electronically submit an application by February 15, 2021.
  6. Pay the nonrefundable application fee of $85 (or a fee waiver).

Admitted applicants must submit the Intent to Enroll form to secure their place in the next entering class and may not hold seats at any other law school via a deposit or other type of enrollment commitment. Admitted students may request a deferral of their enrollment, and such requests will be considered and may be granted.

Any applicant who has been excluded from any law, undergraduate, graduate, or professional school for deficiency in scholarship or because of misconduct is ineligible for admission. Any material misstatements on the application form or any form of application dishonesty (including fraudulent practices relating to the LSAT) will be considered disqualifying misconduct by the admissions committee.

Incoming first-term students must submit no later than October 15 of their first term a final, official transcript from the institution that awarded their undergraduate degree. Students who fail to do so will be withdrawn from the Law School.

All incoming J.D. students must start in the fall term. The Law School does not have an evening division, nor is there a summer session. Yale Law School offers no online or correspondence courses.

Any requests for exceptions to the admissions and application requirements stated above should be addressed by e-mail to admissions.law@yale.edu or in writing to the Admissions Office, Yale Law School, PO Box 208215, New Haven CT 06520-8215. For additional information about admissions policies and procedures please refer to the website https://law.yale.edu/admissions/jd-admissions.

Transfer Students/Advanced Standing

Students who have completed one year of full-time course work (or the equivalent) in residence at a U.S. law school approved by the American Bar Association may apply to transfer to Yale; at least two years of course work must be done at Yale Law School. Applicants in special programs in American Bar Association-approved U.S. law schools who have completed the first year of law school while completing the requirements for a bachelor’s degree may be considered for transfer. To be considered, an applicant must have received a bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent) before matriculating at Yale Law School.

Transfer applicants must have earned a grade of B or higher (or its equivalent) in all law school course work to be considered eligible to apply. A maximum of 28 units will be transferred toward the J.D. requirements at Yale Law School.

Transfer applicants must complete and electronically submit a complete application by June 15, 2021. All applications are available through LSAC and include a completed application form, transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended, deans’ certifications from all degree programs in which the applicant has been enrolled, at least two letters of recommendation from law school professors, and a nonrefundable application fee of $85 (or a fee waiver).

Applicants from foreign law schools should apply for admission to the first year of the J.D. program. Though granted only in rare circumstances, requests for advanced standing based on work done outside the United States should be made after admission to the first-year program.

Visiting Students

In special circumstances, a student enrolled in a J.D. program at an American Bar Association-approved law school may apply for admission on a full-time, nondegree basis. Visiting students may attend for one term or one year, and earn credit toward a degree at their home institutions. The admissions committee considers past academic performance as well as applicants’ special circumstances when rendering decisions on such requests.

A visiting student application form may be obtained by sending an e-mail to admissions.law@yale.edu. A completed application for visiting students contains the same materials required for transfer applicants. Additionally, a visiting application must include a cover letter explaining the applicant’s reason for visiting and a letter from the applicant’s law school granting permission to visit and indicating any conditions imposed on the credits earned at Yale Law School.

Visiting students must pay full tuition to Yale Law School and are eligible to apply for federal and supplemental loans, but are not eligible for Yale Law School scholarships/grants. Visiting students may have limited or restricted access to participation in student-run journals and may have a lower priority than Yale Law students in limited-enrollment courses.

Financing Law School

Quality legal education is expensive, and the Law School draws on the University, alumni, and friends to keep annual tuition well below the per student cost of education. Through a combination of loans, grants, and postgraduate loan forgiveness programs, the School seeks to reduce further the burden of education costs on those students demonstrating financial need. Approximately three-quarters of the student body receives some form of financial assistance. Extensive assistance to meet the cost of loan repayment for graduates is provided through the Career Options Assistance Program. Yale Law School is also an approved program for educational benefits from the Veterans Administration.

Tuition and Expenses

Tuition, including mandatory fees, in 2020–2021 is $34,058.50 per term. The total yearly bill is $68,117, not including other necessary expenses such as books, food, housing, hospitalization insurance fees, etc. Bills are payable before the beginning of each term at the University Office of Student Financial Services.

Previously deferred students who paid tuition deposits when they committed to enroll will have those deposits credited to their tuition bills. Should a previously deferred student withdraw before registration in the fall, all previously paid tuition deposits will be forfeited.

Students will be charged a special roster fee of $175 per term to be maintained on the school records during periods of nonattendance.

Tuition Rebate and Refund Policy

On the basis of the federal regulations governing the return of federal student aid (Title IV) funds for withdrawn students, the rebate and refund of tuition is subject to the following policy:

  1. For purposes of determining the refund of Title IV funds, any student who withdraws from the Law School for any reason during the first 60 percent of the term will be subject to a pro rata schedule that will be used to determine the amount of Title IV funds a student has earned at the time of withdrawal. Funds are earned according to the percentage of the term completed. A student who withdraws after the 60 percent point has earned 100 percent of the Title IV funds. In 2020–2021, the last days for refunding federal student aid funds will be October 26, 2020, in the fall term and a to-be-determined date in the 2021 spring term, when the School’s spring calendar is finalized.*
  2. For purposes of determining the refund of institutional aid funds and for students who have not received financial aid, tuition will be rebated in accordance with the following policy:
    1. 100 percent of tuition will be rebated for withdrawals that occur on or before the end of the first 10 percent of the term: September 3, 2020, in the fall term and a to-be-determined date in the 2021 spring term.*
    2. A rebate of one-half (50 percent) of tuition will be granted for withdrawals that occur after the first 10 percent but on or before the last day of the first quarter of the term: September 19, 2020, in the fall term and a to-be-determined date in the 2021 spring term.*
    3. A rebate of one-quarter (25 percent) of tuition will be granted for withdrawals that occur after the first quarter of a term but on or before the day of midterm: October 16, 2020, in the fall term and a to-be-determined date in the 2021 spring term.*
    4. Students who withdraw for any reason after midterm will not receive a rebate of any portion of tuition.
  3. The death of a student shall cancel charges for tuition as of the date of death, and the bursar will adjust the tuition on a pro rata basis.
  4. If the student has received student loans or other forms of financial aid, funds will be returned in the order prescribed by federal regulations; namely, first to Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, if any; then to Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans; next to any other federal, state, private, or institutional scholarships and loans; and finally, any remaining balance to the student.
  5. Recipients of federal and/or institutional loans who withdraw are required to have an exit interview before leaving Yale. Students leaving Yale receive an exit packet from Student Financial Services with instructions on completing this process.

*All spring-term dates will be posted on the Law School website as soon as they are available.

The estimated minimum amounts required for all expenses for the academic year, including tuition, are stated in the section on financial aid, below.

Student Accounts and Billing

Student accounts, billing, and related services are administered through the Office of Student Financial Services, which is located at 246 Church Street. The office’s website is https://student-accounts.yale.edu.

Student Account

The Student Account is a record of all the direct charges for a student’s Yale education such as tuition, room, board, fees, and other academically related items assessed by offices throughout the University. It is also a record of all payments, financial aid, and other credits applied toward these charges.

Students and student-designated proxies can view all activity posted to their Student Account in real time through the University’s online billing and payment system, YalePay (https://student-accounts.yale.edu/yalepay). At the beginning of each month, e-mail reminders to log in to YalePay to review the Student Account activity are sent to all students at their official Yale e-mail address and to all student-designated YalePay proxies. Payment is due by 4 p.m. Eastern Time on the first of the following month.

Yale does not mail paper bills or generate monthly statements. Students and their authorized proxies can generate their own account statements in YalePay in pdf form to print or save. The statements can be generated by term or for a date range and can be submitted to employers, 401K plans, 529/College Savings Plans, scholarship agencies, or other organizations for documentation of the charges.

Students can grant others proxy access to YalePay to view student account activity, set up payment plans, and make online payments. For more information, see Proxy Access and Authorization (http://sfas.yale.edu/proxy-access-and-authorization).

The Office of Student Financial Services will impose late fees of $125 per month (up to a total of $375 per term) if any part of the term bill, less Yale-administered loans and scholarships that have been applied for on a timely basis, is not paid when due. Students who have not paid their student account term charges by the due date will also be placed on Financial Hold. The hold will remain until the term charges have been paid in full. While on Financial Hold, the University will not fulfill requests for transcripts or provide diplomas and reserves the right to withhold registration or withdraw the student for financial reasons.

Payment Options

There are a variety of options offered for making payments toward a student’s Student Account. Please note:

  • All bills must be paid in U.S. currency.
  • Yale does not accept credit or debit cards for Student Account payments.
  • Payments should not be made to a Student Account that are in excess of the balance due (net of pending financial aid credits). Yale reserves the right to return any overpayments.
Online Payments through YalePay

Yale’s recommended method of payment is online through YalePay (https://student-accounts.yale.edu/yalepay). Online payments are easy and convenient and can be made by anyone with a U.S. checking or savings account. There is no charge to use this service. Bank information is password-protected and secure, and there is a printable confirmation receipt. Payments are immediately posted to the Student Account, which allows students to make payments 365/24/7 up to 4 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date of the bill, from any location, and avoid late fees.

For those who choose to pay by check, a remittance advice and mailing instructions are available on YalePay. Checks should be made payable to Yale University, in U.S. dollars, and drawn on a U.S. bank. To avoid late fees, please allow for adequate mailing time to ensure that payment is received by 4 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date.

Cash and check payments are also accepted at the Student Financial Services Cashier’s Office, located at 246 Church Street. The Cashier’s Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Yale University partners with Flywire, a leading provider of international payment solutions, to provide a fast and secure way to make international payments to a Student Account within YalePay. Students and authorized proxies can initiate international payments from the Make Payment tab in YalePay by selecting “International Payment via Flywire” as the payment method, and then selecting the country from which payment will be made to see available payment methods. International payment via Flywire allows students and authorized proxies to save on bank fees and exchange rates, track the payment online from start to finish, and have access to 24/7 multilingual customer support. For more information on making international payments via Flywire, see International Payments Made Easy at https://student-accounts.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Yale%20International%20Payments%20-%20YalePay.pdf.

A processing charge of $25 will be assessed for payments rejected for any reason by the bank on which they were drawn. In addition, the following penalties may apply if a payment is rejected:

  1. If the payment was for a term bill, late fees of $125 per month will be charged for the period the bill was unpaid, as noted above.
  2. If the payment was for a term bill to permit registration, the student’s registration may be revoked.
  3. If the payment was given to settle an unpaid balance in order to receive a diploma, the University may refer the account to an attorney for collection.
Yale Payment Plan

A Yale Payment Plan provides parents and students with the option to pay education expenses monthly. It is designed to relieve the pressure of lump-sum payments by allowing families to spread payments over a period of months without incurring any interest charges. Participation is optional and elected on a term basis. The cost to sign up is $50 per term.

Depending on the date of enrollment, students may be eligible for up to five installments for the fall and spring terms. Payment Plan installments will be automatically deducted on the 5th of each month from the bank account specified when enrolling in the plan. For enrollment deadlines and additional details concerning the Yale Payment Plan, see https://student-accounts.yale.edu/ypp.

Bill Payment and Pending Military Benefits

Yale will not impose any penalty, including the assessment of late fees, the denial of access to classes, libraries, or other facilities, or the requirement that a student borrow additional funds, on any student because of the student’s inability to meet their financial obligations to the institution, when the delay is due to the delayed disbursement of funding from VA under chapter 31 or 33.

Yale will permit a student to attend or participate in their course of education during the period beginning on the date on which the student provides to Yale a certificate of eligibility for entitlement to educational assistance under chapter 31 or 33 and ending on the earlier of the following dates: (1) the date on which payment from VA is made to Yale; (2) ninety days after the date Yale certifies tuition and fees following the receipt of the certificate of eligibility.

Interruption or Temporary Suspension of University Services or Programs

Certain events that are beyond the University’s control may cause or require the interruption or temporary suspension of some or all services and programs customarily furnished by the University. These events include, but are not limited to, epidemics or other public health emergencies; storms, floods, earthquakes, or other natural disasters; war, terrorism, rioting, or other acts of violence; loss of power, water, or other utility services; and strikes, work stoppages, or job actions. In the face of such events, the University may, at its sole discretion, provide substitute services and programs or appropriate refunds. The decision to suspend services and programs shall be made at the sole discretion of the University.

Financial Aid

Applicants for financial aid must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is available online at https://fafsa.ed.gov. A Financial Aid Application and Scholarship Tool (FAAST) application is also required and is available online at https://faast.law.yale.edu. Applications must be submitted by April 15 for continuing students. Admitted students should submit their FAFSA and FAAST as soon as possible after admittance. No financial aid application will be processed unless it is completely filled out, including the required information about parents’ finances. Students who are twenty-nine years of age or older as of December 31 of the academic year for which aid is requested need not supply information about parental finances.

The estimated budget for a single student for travel, books, and all living costs for the academic year 2020–2021 is $23,883. Individual cases may, of course, vary from these estimates, but all financial aid need determinations are based on these averages.

Among the goals of the aid policy are allocating grant resources to the neediest students and balancing graduates’ educational indebtedness. The Law School therefore uses a formula that increases the proportion of grant as total need increases. Students whose total need is relatively low will normally receive only loan assistance. While the formula varies each year, in 2020–2021 students are expected to meet $50,450–$52,450 (depending on their class year) of need with loans, typically relying on federally guaranteed loans to the maximum extent possible. The remainder of each award above the required loan portion is ordinarily met through grants from the Law School. The Law School expects students who receive grants to help provide stewardship through letters, reports, or meetings with donors.

In calculating individual financial aid awards, the student’s financial resources—including student assets, summer and term-time employment, and spouse’s and parents’ contribution—are taken into account. The Law School treats students who are twenty-nine years old or older as of December 31 of the academic year for which aid is sought as financially independent from their parents. For students twenty-seven and twenty-eight years old as of December 31, only one-half of the calculated parental contribution will be treated as a resource.

A handbook containing detailed information on financial aid policies is available from the Financial Aid Office, Yale Law School, PO Box 208215, New Haven CT 06520-8215 or https://law.yale.edu/financialaid. The director and staff of the office are available to discuss financial aid matters.

Summer Public Interest Fellowship

The Summer Public Interest Fellowship (SPIF) program provides funds to Yale students working at public interest, government, and nonprofit organizations. In the summer of 2019, the Law School provided fellowships for more than 180 students in the United States and around the world.

Student eligibility is based on financial need. Those who do not meet the needs test may still be able to receive SPIF funding or loans. In 2020, students are eligible to receive up to $8,000 through SPIF.

Career Options Assistance Program

Yale Law School has long encouraged its graduates to consider the broad spectrum of careers available to them. In 1989 the School established the Career Options Assistance Program (COAP) to mitigate the influence of educational debts on the career choices of its graduates. COAP is one of the most generous postgraduation financial assistance programs in the country. In 2019 alone, COAP disbursed more than $5.5 million in benefits to more than four hundred graduates.

COAP provides grants to cover the shortfall between graduates’ educational loan payments and the amounts graduates can afford to pay from relatively modest incomes. Unlike many other loan forgiveness programs, eligibility is based upon compensation levels, not type of employment. COAP participants work in local, state, and federal government; nonprofit organizations serving the public interest; academia; and private practice. COAP assistance is also available to judicial clerks in the form of loans. Eligibility does not depend on the political or ideological orientation of the graduate, the employer, or the work.

COAP grants are calculated on the basis of the participant’s income, indebtedness, and an imputed loan repayment schedule. Participants’ gross income is adjusted with regard to spouses, dependents, and assets, and for graduates whose adjusted income is less than a certain “threshold” level, COAP covers the entire calculated repayment for qualified educational loans. Those with adjusted incomes over the threshold are expected to contribute a percentage of their income in excess of that amount toward repayment. Provisions are made for parental leave and for part-time work.

For further information, please contact the Financial Aid Office, Yale Law School, PO Box 208215, New Haven CT 06520-8215.

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Law (Ph.D.)

Applicants for this program must apply through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at https://gsas.yale.edu/admissions/degree-program-application-process. General information about the program can be found at https://law.yale.edu/phd.

The Degrees of Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.)

Admissions

A J.S.D. applicant must:

  1. Show promise of superior scholarship. Admission to the J.S.D. program is highly selective. It does not follow automatically from admission to the LL.M. program or from the award of the LL.M. degree, but rests entirely on the graduate committee’s independent judgment of an applicant’s qualifications. The Yale LL.M. degree must ordinarily have been awarded within the five years preceding the student’s J.S.D. application.
  2. Submit:

    (a) a completed J.S.D. application form, plus a letter of application;

    (b) a dissertation proposal;

    (c) statements of contingent approval of three committee members willing to serve as supervisor and readers. The committee should be composed of at least two members of the Yale Law School faculty, one of whom must be the chair. A full-time faculty member of Yale University may serve as a second reader;

    (d) letters of recommendation from two members of the Yale Law School faculty;

    (e) a writing sample, which would ordinarily be a paper written as an LL.M. student;

    (f) a current résumé or curriculum vitae.

The application and supporting materials should be submitted to the J.S.D. program by March 19, 2021. All J.S.D. admission decisions are typically announced in late April. Applicants who have been denied admission three times may not file further applications.

Students who have earned an LL.M. degree from another institution are rarely admitted and then only under extraordinary circumstances. Interested students from outside the Law School should contact the director of graduate programs (203.432.1681) to discuss their plans.

An LL.M. applicant must:

  1. If from the United States, have graduated, or expect to graduate, with high rank from a law school that is a member of the Association of American Law Schools or approved by the American Bar Association. If from another country, ordinarily have graduated, or expect to graduate, with high rank from a law school or law faculty with standards substantially equivalent to those of U.S. law schools. All offers of admission are contingent upon graduation. The Law School reserves the right to review or revoke admission if applicants fail to graduate with their degree cohort. As a general rule, admission is not available to persons who have already obtained the LL.M. degree or an equivalent degree from another law school in the United States.
  2. Submit the following materials by December 1, 2020:

    (a) a completed online application to Yale Law School along with the required essays;

    (b) a current résumé or curriculum vitae;

    (c) original or certified copies of all academic transcripts, from studies both in law and in other fields (or, in the case of international students, the nearest equivalent record of courses, grades, and rank). If transcripts are not in English, the originals must be accompanied by a certified English translation. Final official transcripts may be certified electronic transcripts or traditional paper transcripts. In either case, they must be sent to Yale Law School directly from the issuing institution or its authorized agent. Applicants must follow instructions from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) as to transcript submission;

    (d) at least two and no more than four letters of recommendation from law professors or other references commenting in detail on the academic and professional qualifications of the applicant (letters must be in English or accompanied by an English translation).

  3. Take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), administered at centers throughout the world by the Educational Testing Service, no later than November 1, 2020, unless the applicant is a native speaker of English or the applicant’s undergraduate education or first law degree was completed at an institution where English is the language of instruction. The admissions committee requires a minimum score of 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL test. Yale Law School does not accept the IELTS examination.
  4. Pay a nonrefundable application fee of $75 (USD).

Application forms may be accessed online at https://law.yale.edu/llm-admissions. Early filing is recommended. On occasion, the Admissions Committee may also reach out to individual candidates directly for additional information when the committee feels this would be helpful in its deliberations. The LL.M. application and all supporting documents must be submitted through the LSAC. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all required documents are received by the LSAC in a timely manner. Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission. Fees are nonrefundable in the event that an application is not complete. LL.M. admission decisions are typically announced in mid-March. Previous applicants who were not admitted to the LL.M. program must submit a completely new application and pay the application fee. Applicants who have been denied admission three times may not file further applications.

Expenses and Financial Aid

Tuition and estimated living expenses for graduate students in the LL.M. program in 2020–2021 are the same as for J.D. students (see Financing Law School, above). Tuition for resident J.S.D. students in 2020–2021 is $25,586. To remain registered at Yale Law School, nonresident J.S.D. students are charged a $200 fee per term. An additional fee of $200 will be charged upon approval of a dissertation.

Grants and loan funds for tuition and living expenses are awarded by the Law School on the basis of the individual student’s demonstrated financial need, which includes an assessment of student assets and, if the student is twenty-eight years of age or younger, parental assets. Awards do not include funds for travel and research expenses. Applicants to the graduate programs are urged to apply to sources outside Yale Law School for support.

The Degree of Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.)

Admissions

Applicants for this program must:

  1. Have a doctoral degree or be a doctoral candidate in a field other than law, unless the applicant is a working journalist. Journalists must have earned at least a bachelor’s degree.
  2. Submit:

    (a) a completed application form available at https://law.yale.edu/graduate/msl_application.htm;

    (b) a current résumé or curriculum vitae;

    (c) a letter describing the applicant’s professional experience and interest in the program;

    (d) official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work (transcripts must be in English or accompanied by an English translation). Final official transcripts may be certified electronic transcripts or traditional paper transcripts. In either case, they must be sent to Yale Law School directly from the issuing institution or its authorized agent;

    (e) at least three and no more than five letters of recommendation from persons having knowledge of the candidate’s academic ability and professional promise (letters must be in English or accompanied by an English translation);

    (f) three to five examples of professional work for those applying as journalists.

  3. Take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), administered at centers throughout the world by the Educational Testing Service, no later than November 1, 2020, unless the applicant is a native speaker of English or the applicant’s undergraduate education or first law degree was completed at an institution where English is the language of instruction. The admissions committee requires a minimum score of 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL test. Yale Law School does not accept the IELTS examination.
  4. Pay a nonrefundable application fee of $75 (USD).

Previous applicants who were not admitted to the M.S.L. program must submit a completely new application and pay the application fee. Applicants who have been denied admission three times may not file further applications.

The letter of application, supporting materials, and the nonrefundable application fee of $75 payable to Yale Law School should be submitted to the M.S.L. Program, Yale Law School, PO Box 208215, New Haven CT 06520-8215, by January 11, 2021. All M.S.L. admissions decisions are made and announced in March. Admission does not carry with it a commitment of financial support. Financial aid is awarded based on demonstrated financial need only, and the extent and conditions of any support will be individually arranged.

Expenses and Financial Aid

Fees for the program are the same as for the J.D. program. Financial aid for M.S.L. candidates is designed to supplement grants from outside sources, sabbatical salaries, and personal resources.

Grants and loan funds for tuition and living expenses are awarded by the Law School on the basis of the individual student’s demonstrated financial need, which includes an assessment of student assets and, if the student is twenty-eight years of age or younger, parental assets. Awards do not include funds for travel and research expenses. Applicants to the graduate programs are urged to apply to sources outside Yale Law School for support.