Merit Scholarships, Grants, and Need-Based Financial Aid

Planning how to finance your legal studies can be daunting. We want to provide you with the tools to understand the many opportunities that Cardozo offers for financing your education. 

Once you are admitted to Cardozo Law you will automatically be considered for merit-based scholarships and grants based on the strength of your admissions application. After your first year at Cardozo the Dean’s Committee will review your academic performance to determine whether to grant new or additional merit awards.

For the 2015 entering classes, all admitted applicants who meet the criteria below qualify for one of the following three programs at Cardozo:

  • Outstanding Achievement. Those who demonstrate outstanding potential for success at Cardozo as demonstrated by an LSAT score of 162 or higher and an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher qualify for a renewable merit scholarship of at least $30,000 per year (in the form of our Monrad Paulsen, Cardozo Scholar, Dean’s Merit, or Gates scholarships). To be eligible, applicants must fully complete their applications by March 1.
  • Undergraduate Success. Those who have achieved significant undergraduate academic success and earned a GPA of 3.5 or higher will qualify for an Achievement Grant of at least $5,000 for their first year at Cardozo regardless of LSAT performance, if they do not receive any other form of scholarship or grant. To be eligible, applicants must fully complete their applications by March 1.
  • Early Application Grant. Cardozo appreciates sincere interest in our school. Admitted applicants who apply early will qualify for a one-time grant of $1,000 toward first-year tuition, provided they are not awarded any other form of scholarship or grant. To be eligible, applicants must apply no later than January 1 and fully complete their applications by February 15.

Even if you do not qualify for one of the above options, all applicants are considered for the following scholarships or grants upon admission to Cardozo:

  • The Monrad Paulsen Scholarship, named after Cardozo’s esteemed first dean, is the most prestigious and highly selective scholarship at Cardozo. It offers guaranteed three-year full-tuition awards and is offered to full-time entering students with exemplary academic credentials who are nominated by the Admissions Committee.
  • The Cardozo Scholars Program awards full-tuition scholarships to full-time entering students with outstanding academic credentials who are nominated by the Admissions Committee.
  • The Dean’s Merit Scholarship is offered in varying amounts to entering students nominated by the Admissions Committee on the basis of academic credentials and demonstrated potential for success in the legal profession.
  • The E. Nathaniel Gates Scholarship, named after a former Cardozo professor, recognizes outstanding potential in those who are first-generation graduate students or who come from backgrounds under-represented in the legal profession. Professor Gates, a member of the Cardozo faculty from 1992 until his death in 2006, was the first member of his immediate family to attend college and law school. He served as advisor to important student initiatives and organizations, including the Diversity Coalition and the Black, Asian, and Latino Law Students Association, and at the time of his death was working on a sweeping examination of race in American law dating back to the colonial period.
  • The Cardozo Law Achievement Grant is offered to select entering students, in acknowledgement of academic or professional accomplishments prior to law school. Recipients are nominated by the Admissions Committee. The grant is a one-time offer, awarded during a student's first year, and is not renewable for the student's second and third year.

Dean's Distinguished Scholars Program
The Dean’s Distinguished Scholars Program recognizes exemplary performance after the first year of law school at Cardozo. Students are automatically considered for this distinction, which is typically bestowed on those who place within the top 10% of their first year class. Dean’s Distinguished Scholars may receive a new or additional scholarship award for their second and third years at Cardozo.

Scholarship Retention Data
Most merit scholarships at Cardozo are renewable for the second and third years at our school, provided that recipients maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.950 (which is approximately the top 80% of the class) at the end of each academic year. More than 90% of students who have received these conditional scholarships have retained their full awards after their first year at Cardozo.

For the most recent recipients of such conditional scholarships at Cardozo, the breakdown is:
Students Matriculating in:
Number Entering with Conditional Scholarships:
Number Whose Conditional Scholarships Have Since Been Reduced or Eliminated:

Need-Based Grants
Cardozo awards a limited amount of need-based grants to qualifying J.D. students. Applicants must file a FAFSA (international students should file the International J.D. Student Financial Aid Application) by April 15 each year to be considered for these awards. Additional information may also be requested.

Yellow Ribbon Program                                                                                                              
Cardozo School of Law proudly participates in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program. This program was established by the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 and provides educational benefits to eligible military veterans who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001.

During the 2014-2015 academic year, Cardozo School of Law will contribute an unlimited amount of funding (to be matched by the VA) for an unlimited number of qualifying post-9/11 veterans.

*Please Note*

  • Unlimited amount of funding means Cardozo School of Law will cover 50% of the remaining tuition and fees that exceeds the Post-9/11 GI Bill contribution. The VA will cover the other remaining 50% of the tuition and fees. For example: If tuition and fees comes to $27,771 for the semester. The VA will pay Cardozo $20,235.02 (1415 Post-9/11 Bill annual cap) + $3,767.99 (VA Yellow Ribbon contribution) = $24,003.01 (total VA payment). Cardozo will contribute $3,767.99 (Cardozo Yellow Ribbon contribution). Under this scenario, which would only apply to a fully eligible veteran, 100% of the student’s tuition and fees would be covered!
  • Unlimited number of qualifying post-9/11 veterans means Cardozo School of Law will offer Yellow Ribbon to every eligible veteran matriculating at Cardozo. Cardozo does not put a cap on the number of recipients per academic year.

Please visit the following websites for additional information:

External Scholarship Opportunities
Organizations such as civic groups, alumni associations and local bar associations may have scholarship programs. Please feel free to utilize the following websites to help conduct your search:

Additionally, we have a listing on Angel and in the Office of Student Finance of various 3rd party scholarship applications and information.

Please note that the school does not offer scholarships or grants above the full cost of tuition.

We welcome your questions about the scholarships and grants offered at Cardozo.

Student Finance Homepage:
Phone: 212.790.0392