All applicants to law school must register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). The CAS is required by nearly all law schools in the United States. The fee for CAS registration is $195 and it is good for 5 years.
The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) streamlines the application process by collecting all transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other required documents for law school admission applications. This documentation is standardized and compiled into a Law School Report. The Report, along with LSAT score and other relevant information, is required to be submitted with every law school application.
CAS registration is included in both tiers of LSAC Fee Waiver
A very important note is that fees previously paid cannot be waived retroactively, and no refunds will be issued. That means that you should apply for a fee waiver as soon as you think you might apply to Law School.
The LSAC fee waiver program is designed for law school candidates who are financially under-resourced, with the goal of increasing equity and access to legal education.
In order to increase the number of fee waiver applicants we can assist, LSAC has updated their fee waiver program for the 2022 - 2023 cohort to recognize different levels of financial need. There is now a two-tiered benefit system to assist applicants of varying economic circumstances in receiving two levels of fee waiver benefits.
# Free with Tier 1
Tier 1 Value
# Free with Tier 2
Tier 2 Value
LSAT Test Fees
CAS Registration (Good for 5 years)
Law School Reports
LSAT Prep Plus (Good for 1 year)
To learn more about any aspects of the LSAT, check out our LSAT Article.
The major benefit is that many schools will waive their application fee automatically if you receive an LSAC fee waiver.
The average LSD user applies to 8 schools, and most schools with application fees cost about $80. That means that getting a fee waiver can save you an additional $640 on top of all the LSAC fees.
Additionally, some test prep companies will provide free courses for people who received LSAC fee waivers. Powerscore will give anyone who got a fee waiver and is retaking the LSAT a free PowerScore On-Demand LSAT course . Three months of which are worth $740.
Overall, a Tier 1 LSAC fee waiver can easily be worth: $2,419
And a Tier 2 LSAC fee waiver can easily be worth: $2,069
You will have to apply on your LSAC portal provide your prior year’s tax paperwork to the LSAC in order to get qualified for a fee waiver. If you are from the US and you did not file taxes in the previous year then you will need to request a verification of non-filing from the IRS.
Note: you cannot request a verification of non-filing until June 15th for the previous tax year, and you should receive it within 5-10 calendar days according to the IRS.
At a minimum, you must submit your fee waiver application to the LSAC at least 6-weeks prior to the registration deadline for the LSAT you are going to take.
Since (a small) part of the benefit of the fee waiver is the LSAT Prep Plus, you should consider applying for the fee waiver at least 6-months prior to the registration deadline to give yourself plenty of time to study.
The review process is usually completed by LSAC within one week after receipt of your supporting documentation.
If you get denied, you can appeal the decision once to LSAC. The LSAC often approves appeals so we recommend giving yourself time to appeal. The review process usually takes 3-weeks.
Your LSAC file will be placed on hold while LSAC reviews your application and supporting documentation. Even if your file is on hold, you may proceed to take the LSAT. However, your LSAT score will not be released to you or any law schools until your application is fully approved or, if denied, applicable fees are paid.
Since fees previously paid cannot be waived retroactively, and no refunds will be issued. The LSAC (and we) encourage you NOT to submit payment while you’re waiting for LSAC's decision.
The LSAC uses federal poverty guidelines to determine preliminary eligibility. Additionally, the LSAC breaks candidates into two categories, Independent and Dependent.
You can check your status by filling out the first step of the fee waiver application.
An independent candidate earning up to 250% of the federal poverty guidelines may be eligible for the Tier 1 fee waiver package.
An independent candidate earning 250-300% of the poverty guidelines may be eligible for the Tier 2 fee waiver package.
Under 250% of federal poverty guidelines
Between 250% and 300% of federal poverty guidelines
Your income is under 150% of federal poverty guidelines
Your income plus guardians’ income is under 300% of federal poverty guidelines
Your income is under 200% of federal poverty guidelines
Your income plus guardians’ income is under 300%-350% of federal poverty guidelines
Keep in mind that these are just preliminary guidelines. You can get approved if your income falls outside of these thresholds. The purpose of the fee waiver is to break down the barrier to success in the law school application process. If LSAC fees are creating a barrier, then we strongly recommend applying.
Note: The fee waiver criteria also include maximum asset and cash balance levels and other factors LSAC may consider in its sole discretion. The income levels outlined above do not guarantee approval.
For unmarried candidates without dependents the LSAT and LSAC fee waiver income limit thresholds in 2022 are:
Poverty Guideline (2022)
Tier 1 income limit (250%)
Tier 2 income limit (300%)
These numbers increase if you live in Alaska or Hawaii. They also increase if you are married or have children. You can find the full table from HHS here.
If the LSAC determines that you are a dependent candidate, then you fall into a different income limit category in 2022.
For dependent candidates, the income threshold for LSAC fee waivers are:
People in Family
Poverty Guideline (2022)
Tier 1 income limit (300%)
Tier 2 income limit (350%)
These numbers increase if you live in Alaska or Hawaii. They also increase if you have more than 5 people in your family unit. You can find the full table here.
I am the half of LSD that didn't take the LSAT, or go to law school (Sorry about that). But I did go to MIT business school while surrounded by law students and lawyers, so I am somewhat qualified to talk about the intricacies of law school apps and finances.
Windsor (the dog) didn't write this but he WAS a Resident Tutor and career advisor at Harvard College with me, so deserves some credit.