If you qualify for LSAC Fee Waiver, you can save a TON of money on the LSAT & law school application process.
The Law School Admissions Council has rolled out a new & improved fee waiver program for the 2021-2022 application cycle.
What fees are waived if I get an LSAC Fee Waiver?
- Credential Assembly Service Fees: $195
- Law School Reports: $45 each
- LSAT Registration Fees: $200 each
- LSAT Prep Plus: $99
- LSAT Score Preview: $45
Credential Assembly Service
Everyone applying to law school will need to register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Almost all law schools in the US require you to apply using CAS. The fee to register for CAS is $195.
When applying to a law school, you don’t directly send your transcripts & letters of recommendation to each school. Instead, the entire application process is done through LSAC. When you sign up for the CAS, LSAC will collect all of your transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other documentation required to submit an law school admissions application.
These documents are standardized and compiled (along with your LSAT scores and other relevant information) into a Law School Report, which is required to be sent along with every law school application you submit.
Both Tiers of LSAC Fee Waiver Packages include Credential Assembly Service (CAS) registration.
Law School Reports
COST: $45 each
LSAC charges you one time to register for the Credential Assembly Service in order to sign up for CAS & submit all of your documentation to them. Then, LSAC also charges you every time you need to distribute those documents to each law school.
Your Law School Report is the standardized report that LSAC will send to each law school. This report includes your LSAT Scores, transcripts & transcript summary report & letters of recommendation. Nearly every law school in the US requires a copy of your Law School Report to be sent with your application.
Without a fee waiver, these Law School Reports cost $45 each. Law school applicants, on average, apply to 6 or 7 law schools during an application cycle, which means $270-$315 in Law School Report fees.
Tier 1 LSAC Fee Waiver package includes up to 6 free Law School Reports, for a total savings of $270. Tier 2 includes up to 3 free Law School Reports, for a savings of $135.
COST: $200 per exam
The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is the standardized test of choice for the law school application process. While some schools have begun accepting the GRE or other exams, the vast majority of serious law school applicants submit LSAT scores when applying to law school.
There is a $200 fee required to register for a given LSAT test date, unless, of course, you have been approved for the LSAC fee waiver. The tier 1 LSAC Fee Waiver package includes up to 2 free LSAT attempts, for a total savings of $400. Tier 2 includes 1 free LSAT attempt, which will save you $200. Still huge!
LSAT Prep Plus Subscription
In the past, the LSAT was a paper-and-pen exam. As a result, it made sense for students preparing for the LSAT to primarily prepare by using physical paper-and-pen LSAT preptests. Now the LSAT is digital, and so are the preptests.
The Official LSAT Prep Plus gives you access to over 70 full official, previously-administered LSAT preptests in a convenient online format. These practice tests are an essential part of every LSAT preparation routine. A 1-year subscription to access this database of questions costs $99 per year.
LSAC Fee Waiver recipients get 1 year of free access to the Official LSAT Prep Plus platform. Both Tiers of LSAC Fee Waiver Packages include this subscription.
LSAT Score Preview
First-time LSAT takers are now given the option to purchase an “LSAT score preview” feature. For a fee of $45, this option allows you to take the LSAT & actually SEE YOUR SCORE before deciding if you want to keep it or not.
Before LSAC introduced this feature, if you took the LSAT & got a bad score, that score would be included on your permanent record. Even if you retook the LSAT and scored higher, law schools would always see every LSAT score that you received. While some law schools only really care about the best LSAT score on your record, a bad score on your record certainly isn’t going to help you… and a REALLY bad score could potentially be a red flag with some admissions directors.
The only downside to using the LSAT Score Preview option is that it will cost you $45 if you sign up before taking the test or $75 if you wait to sign up until after the exam. Both Tiers of LSAC Fee Waiver Packages include a free LSAT score preview for first-time takers.
BONUS: Law School Application Fee Waivers
While not an official feature granted by LSAC through it’s Fee Waiver program, the LSAC Fee Waiver can help you save money on law school application fees as well. Some schools will automatically waive application fees if you have received a fee waiver from LSAC, while other law schools require you to make a request via form or email in order to receive an application fee waiver.
So it might take a little extra work to realize this bonus savings, but most law schools will waive law school application fees for LSAC fee waiver recipients. This hidden savings can really add up, too. Law school application fees can be as much as $85 per school. The average student applies to about 7 law schools, so that could provide an additional potential savings of up to $595 for the average applicant.
For students aiming to get into one of the top law schools in the country, a common strategy is to apply to all of the top 14 law schools. While this might seem excessive at first glance, consider that the acceptance rate at Yale is about 7%, the acceptance rate at Harvard is around 13%, and the acceptance rate at Stanford is about 10%.
Given how competitive these schools are, and how many students are vying for so few seats, it really does make sense to cast a wide net. However, if you don’t have an LSAC Fee Waiver, these applications can get extremely expensive. Applying to all of the top 14 law schools would cost $1145 in application fees alone.
|1||Yale Law School||$85|
|2||Stanford Law School||$85|
|3||Harvard Law School||$85|
|4||Columbia University School of Law||$85|
|4||University of Chicago Law School||$85|
|6||New York University School of Law||$85|
|7||University of Pennsylvania Law School||$80|
|8||University of Virginia School of Law||$85|
|9||Northwestern Pritzker School of Law||$75|
|9||University of California Berkeley School of Law||$75|
|9||University of Michigan Law School||$75|
|12||Duke University School of Law||$80|
|13||Cornell Law School||$80|
|14||Georgetown University Law Center||$85|
|TOP 12||TOTAL APPLICATION FEES:||$1145|
Please check with each law school to determine their specific policies on application fee waivers. I’ve complied a list of the waiver policies for the top 14 law schools below. As you can see, at most schools the LSAC Fee Waiver will either automatically qualify you for application fee waiver. Even if a law school requires a you to submit a separate application fee waiver request, documentation of your LSAC fee waiver will be taken into consideration.
- Yale: “The application fee is waived automatically for those applicants who have received an LSAC Fee Waiver” (source)
- Stanford: “Please note that our fee waiver criteria and process are distinct from that of LSAC.” You must fill out Stanford’s application fee waiver form, but the instructions note that “if you have also received a fee waiver from the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), please send in documentation of that decision.”
- Harvard: “If LSAC has granted you a LSAT/LSAC Credential Assembly Service Fee waiver and you apply to HLS, your application fee will be waived.” (source)
- Columbia: “Once eligibility has been established and approved by LSAC, candidates will automatically receive a fee waiver for Columbia Law School upon submitting an application for admission.” (source)
- UChicago: “If you received a fee waiver from LSAC, the application fee will be waived automatically when you submit your application through LSAC. You do not need any additional confirmation or approval from the Law School.” (source)
- NYU: “Applicants who have received an LSAC-approved LSAT or CAS fee waiver, will have their $85 application fee for the NYU Law JD application automatically waived.” (source)
- Penn: “Candidates who receive a fee waiver from LSAC will automatically receive an application fee waiver from the Law School.” (source)
- Virginia: “If you received a waiver for the LSAT or CAS fees from the Law School Admission Council, you automatically qualify for an application fee waiver form the University of Virginia.” (source)
- Northwestern: “LSAC fee waiver recipients must still complete the application and attach a copy of your LSAC fee waiver notification.” (source)
- Berkeley: “We will waive your application fee automatically when you apply if you are approved for an LSAC fee waiver.” (source)
- Michigan: “To request a fee waiver based on any of these criteria, please complete this form. If your request is granted, we will email you a fee waiver coupon number that can be entered on the payment page at the time you transmit your application through LSAC.” (source)
- Duke: “We provide a need-based fee waiver for applicants who have a waiver for the LSAT, and consider need-based request from other applicants.” (source)
How Do I Get an LSAC Fee Waiver?
You can apply for an LSAC Fee Waiver by completing this application through your LSAC account.
When Should I apply for an LSAC fee Waiver?
The LSAC Fee Waiver qualifies you for a 1-year LSAT Prep Plus Subscription that includes over 70 full LSAT Preptests. These preptests are the cornerstone of your LSAT preparation, so if you are struggling financially then I recommend signing up for a fee waiver as soon as you start studying for the LSAT.
Ideally, you should sign up about 6 months before your LSAT test date in order to give yourself plenty of time to prepare with the benefit of the LSAT Prep Plus 12-month subscription. This will still give you time to study for a retake if necessary, as well.
At a minimum, you want to submit your application for an LSAC fee waiver at least six week before your LSAT test date.
If you’ve already taken the LSAT, you won’t receive a refund for any fees that you have already paid. However, you can still apply to save on Law School Report fees, CAS fees, and to qualify for application fee waivers.
How long does the LSAT fee waiver take to process?
Once you’ve applied for your fee waiver and submitted all accompanying documentation to LSAC, it generally takes about 1 week to process your application. If your application is denied, you have an opportunity to appeal the decision, which may take an additional 3 weeks.
What is the difference between the LSAC Fee Waiver Packages?
|LSAC Service||Tier 1||Tier 2|
|Law School Reports||6||3|
|Credential Assembly Service||1||1|
|LSAT Prep Plus Subscription||1 year||1 year|
Who Qualifies for an LSAC Fee Waiver?
Independent vs. Dependent candidates are treated differently.
For the 2021-2022 application cycle, you will be considered an independent if you were born before January 1, 1998.
If you were born after January 1, 1998 then you may still be considered a dependent if your parents are deceased, you are married, you have dependents, or you were a ward of the court until you turned 18.
Take this short 7-question evaluation in order to determine your dependent/independent status.
Tier 1: Independent candidates with income under 250% of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for the tier 1 lsat fee waiver package.
Tier 2: Independent candidates with income between 250% and 300% of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for the tier 1 lsat fee waiver package.
|Persons in family/household||Poverty guideline||Tier 1 limit (250%)||Tier 2 limit (300%)|
Tier 1: Dependent candidates with income under 150% of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for the tier 1 lsat fee waiver package. Given the 2021 federal poverty guideline of $12,880, that means that dependent candidates who earn under $19,320 are eligible for the LSAC Fee Waiver program.
If your income is above this amount, you may still qualify for further consideration if your combined family income is under 300% of the federal poverty guidelines. See the table below to get an idea of what the income limit would be for your family.
|Persons in family||Poverty guideline||Family income limit (300%)|
It is important to note that the fee waiver criteria also include maximum asset and cash balance levels, and the income levels outlined above do not guarantee approval.