Entering Student Merit Scholarships

Entering Student Merit Scholarships--Frequently Asked Questions

Effective Fall 2019 Entering Class


Do I need to apply for an Entering Student Merit Scholarship?

No. The scholarship is based on the information contained in your application and no separate application is required.


How does the school determine the amount of the scholarship I receive?

Entering Student Merit Scholarships are awarded based on a matrix that combines LSAT score and cumulative undergraduate G.P.A. Applicants from undergraduate schools that do not use a traditional 4.0 grading system and applicants who received an undergraduate degree from a foreign school will be awarded a scholarship consistent with the matrix using an individualized assessment of the applicant’s complete file.

Merit Scholarship Matrix - Fall 2019

*Living stipends are only available for Presidential Award recipients. $1,350 per month credited to student account monthly. Living stipends are applied August 1 – July 31 for students that begin in the fall.


How long do I get to keep my scholarship?

Entering Student Merit Scholarships are initially awarded for the academic year, Fall and Spring terms (or in the Spring and Fall terms if the recipient first enrolls in January). Entering Student Merit Scholarships are guaranteed to be renewed for your second and third years provided you remain eligible to continue enrollment and don’t take a leave of absence. A full time student will receive his or her scholarship each semester for a maximum of six semesters.  A part-time student will receive his or her scholarship each semester for a maximum eight semesters.


What do I need to do to retain my scholarship after the first year?

There are no conditions or stipulations on your scholarship other than being eligible to continue enrollment and being enrolled at the law school.


When does the school make a decision that I am eligible to continue and renew my scholarship?

Determinations of eligibility to continue to enroll at the law school for scholarship renewal purposes are made for both full-time and part-time students at the end of the second semester of law school and at the end of each subsequent Fall and Spring semester.


How will I actually receive the scholarship money?

Scholarships are credited directly to your student account, and applied to your tuition in the Fall and Spring terms in two equal amounts.


If I take a leave of absence for a semester, does that affect my scholarship?

If you fail to enroll in any of the terms covered by the scholarship, the amount designated for that term is forfeited and will not be carried forward into a future term. For example, if you enter in the Fall and take a leave of absence in the Spring, the Spring portion of the scholarship is forfeited.


If I’m in a joint JD/MBA degree program, can I use my law school scholarship for classes that count toward my MBA degree?

No, TJSL scholarship funds may only be used to offset TJSL tuition.


Can my scholarship be used for visiting at other schools during the Fall or Spring semester, if such a visit is approved in extraordinary circumstances?

No, TJSL scholarship funds may only be used to offset TJSL tuition.


Can my scholarship be used for Summer or intersession tuition?

Entering Student Merit Scholarships may not be used to cover Summer or intersession tuition.


What is the difference between a full-time scholarship and a part-time scholarship?

Full-time awards are given to students who enroll for twelve or more units. Part-time awards are given for enrollments of seven to eleven units. Part-time student awards, therefore, are three-quarters of the comparable full-time award.  For example, a full-time award of $10,000 would be $7500 as a part-time award.


If I switch from the full-time to the part-time program, will it affect my scholarship?

A full-time student who switches to part-time will see the scholarship reduced by one-quarter. For example, if you are awarded a full-time merit scholarship for $10,000 a year ($5,000 per semester) and later switch to part-time, the scholarship will decrease to $7,500 ($3,750 per semester), but the total award will not decrease. Assuming you remain eligible to enroll and don’t take a leave of absence, you will receive your total award of $30,000, but in smaller increments over a longer period of time and in no event will the total amount exceed the $30,000 awarded on admission.


If I switch from the part-time to the full-time program, will it affect my scholarship?

A part-time student who switches to full-time will see an increase in their semester award by one-quarter, but the total award will not increase. For example, assume you are awarded a part-time merit scholarship for $10,000 a year ($5,000 per semester) and later switch to full-time status.  Your scholarship will increase to $13,334 ($6,667 per semester), but the cumulative amount awarded if you remain eligible to enroll and don’t take a leave of absence will not exceed the $40,000 award granted upon admission.


If I am a part-time student and enroll in six or fewer units, will it affect my scholarship?

Yes. When you enroll in six or fewer units, tuition is charged on a per credit basis.  Your scholarship will be calculated by looking at your last regular semester to determine the percentage scholarship you received.  That same scholarship percentage will be applied when you take 6 or fewer credits. For example, if your base scholarship is $8,000 per term and the tuition charged is $16,000; then your base scholarship percentage is 50%.  If you then take 5 credits (assuming tuition is $1600/credit), your tuition will be $8000 per semester and your semester scholarship will be $4,000 (50% of your tuition).


If I get a larger scholarship from another law school, will you match it?

A scholarship offer is not negotiable. We want to be fair and transparent, treating each person receiving an Entering Student Merit Scholarships, at each scholarship level, equally. The Law School prides itself on fair and equitable treatment of every student enrolled and considers it important that students know they can rely on that fairness.


Why might my scholarship offer from Thomas Jefferson be less than that from another law school?

Another school may offer you more money, but you should carefully read the fine print. Consider whether you are being offered a guaranteed renewable scholarship dependent solely on being eligible to continue enrollment and being enrolled as we are offering you, or whether you are  really being offered a one-year scholarship and a “lottery ticket.” If you need to achieve a stipulated GPA or rank in class in the first year to keep your scholarship, then what you have actually been offered is a one-year scholarship with a chance at having the scholarship renewed.  By contrast, our scholarship is guaranteed past the first year, so long as you remain eligible to continue and remain enrolled.

Here is a tip: If another school offers you a scholarship that requires you, for example, to be in the top 20% of the class at the end of your first year, ask what percentage of the incoming 1L’s were awarded a similar scholarship. If more than 20% were, you have been offered a lottery ticket for your second and third year. You will find on law schools’ websites, as required by the ABA, the number of students who have lost their scholarships in the previous year – this is valuable information.

Here is another tip:  If another school offers you a scholarship that requires you to achieve a certain G.P.A at the end of your first year, ask what percentage of the class generally achieves that average. Many law schools have a grading curve so that only a certain percentage of the class can achieve a certain G.P.A. As explained above, a percentage requirement can mean your scholarship is a lottery ticket for the second and third years.


Do you offer living stipends?

Yes, in limited situations, the Law School does provide living stipends to students who receive the President’s Award.  Living stipends are non-transferable are applied automatically each month to the student’s account.  Living stipends are applied August 1 – July 31.


If I do really well in my first year of law school, will my scholarship increase?

We award academic success scholarships at the end of the first year of study, through our Continuing 2L Merit Scholarship Program. The matrix is located at www.tjsl.edu/admissions/financial-aid/scholarships/continuing-student. All law students have an academic evaluation which occurs at the completion of the first year courses. There is no guarantee that your scholarship will be increased. However, as long as you remain eligible to continue enrollment and continue at the law school, we guarantee that your initial award will not be reduced.


Does the Law School offer any other scholarships to first year students?

The Law School seeks an entering class whose members will meet the needs of a modern world when they become lawyers. The Law School, therefore, awards a limited number of additional scholarships to achieve that class. For example, as the U.S. increasingly moves to a knowledge based economy, increasing the number of lawyers with degrees in science, technology, engineering or math is critical. As another example, there is an increasing “access to justice” gap in the U.S. There are simply too few lawyers to help the millions in need at prices they can afford. One way to address that gap is to ensure that the legal profession welcomes traditionally underrepresented demographic groups. 


Whom should I contact if I have any other questions about financial aid?

You should contact our Director of Financial Aid, Marc Berman, at financialaid@tjsl.edu.