For many, the biggest obstacle to pursuing an LL.M. is not choosing a school or an LL.M. program or the application process, but finding the necessary funding. Here are some ideas and resources that can help you find funding sources inside and outside the United States
Possibilities in the United States
- Fulbright Scholarships
The Fulbright program, sponsored by the US government, is active in more than 155 countries around the world. There is a difference between a Fulbright international student and a foreign Fulbright scholar. While the former is for graduate students, young professionals, and artists who wish to study in the United States, the latter allows college and university faculty members with doctorates. to teach and conduct research in the United States Therefore, you should seek information for Fulbright students. Fulbright scholarships are competitive and awards are based on your academic and professional profile.
- Grants and Scholarships
Grants and scholarships are awards that do not have to be repaid. A scholarship is awarded based on merit, while a grant is awarded based on need. Grants and scholarships may be from US government departments or from public or private trusts and foundations. Some may require citizenship or permanent residency. You should never pay for scholarships or grants. If a grant or scholarship search engine or application form asks for credit card or other financial information, don’t use it!
- Student loans
Student loans are a form of financial aid that must be repaid. There are a variety of student loans, but to keep it simple, I divide them into federal and private loans. Federal loans have different names such as Stafford Loan, Federal Direct Student Loans, PLUS Loans, or Perkins Loans, and come in two varieties: direct subsidized and unsubsidized. The catch is that to receive federal loans, you must be a US citizen or permanent resident. This, unfortunately, will not apply to most prospective LL.M. students.
Private loans are given to students by banks or finance companies. Loan terms vary from lender to lender, so it’s not easy to make general statements. Again, the catch with private loans is that they are only granted to US citizens and permanent residents for the most part. However, a few US banks will offer student loans to international students if the loan is co-signed by a creditworthy US citizen or permanent resident.
- Financial aid from your law school
You should definitely seek financial aid from the law schools to which you are applying. Some law schools do not offer any international LL.M. students; however, others do – and some are quite generous.
Opportunities in your home country
There may be options for obtaining funding through national or international associations and organizations. Since every country is different, you should research the possibilities that might apply to you. Here are some starting points:
- Student loans
Some countries offer loan type funding to their citizens wishing to study abroad. You can go to the international or exchange office at your home university or to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. These offices are most likely prepared for such questions and often have a list of resources to consider.
- Private loans
Private loan terms vary not only from country to country, but also from lender to lender. It is worth asking your home bank if they offer financial assistance for studying abroad.
- Grants and Scholarships
EducationUSA is a network of hundreds of counseling centers in 170 countries, where millions of international students find comprehensive and up-to-date information about American higher education, including grants and scholarships, each year. The EducationUSA Network is supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State. Unfortunately, most online scholarship search engines are geared towards undergraduate education, often referred to as “university”. You can search for scholarship opportunities using their search functions. Once you know the association or organization, contact them and ask them if they also offer scholarships for master’s studies in law.
- Foundation scholarships
There are many international service organizations, such as Rotary International, that facilitate study abroad by providing scholarships to outstanding students. A number of them are aimed at students with a particular demographic makeup, such as those from a specific country. Chambers of commerce sometimes also offer scholarships for LL.M. students or resources to find funding sources.
Desiree Jaeger-Fine is a writer and author of In Pursuit of Happiness: A Lawyer’s Journey, A Short and Cheerful Guide to Networking and A short and happy guide to getting hired.