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Everything you need to know about the LSAC fee waiver.

Information on who qualifies, how much they are really worth, and why you should apply.
Tags: applying to law school, free, fee waiver, save money, LSAC
Apr 2, 2023

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. How the LSAC Fee Waiver Works
  3. What the LSAC Fee Waiver gives you
  4. Additional Benefits (Fee App Fees and Free Prep Course!)
  5. How to Apply
  6. When to Apply
  7. How Long Does it Take to Apply
  8. Who Qualifies
  9. Incomes Thresholds
  10. Related Articles

Introduction. A Guide to the LSAC Fee Waiver

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

How the LSAC Fee Waiver Works:

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.

Product fees you can get for free if you get a waiver:

# Free with Tier 1

Tier 1 Value

# Free with Tier 2

Tier 2 Value

LSAT Test Fees

2

$ 430

1

$ 215

CAS Registration (Good for 5 years)

1

$ 195

1

$ 195

Law School Reports

6

$ 270

3

$ 135

LSAT Prep Plus (Good for 1 year) 

1

$ 99

1

$ 99

Score Preview

1

$ 45

1

$ 45

To learn more about any aspects of the LSAT, check out our LSAT Article.

Additional Benefits of applying for a Fee waiver:

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

How to apply for a fee waiver:

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.

When to apply for an LSAC fee waiver:

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. 

How long does it take for your LSAC fee waiver to be approved:

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.

Who Qualifies:

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.

Tier 1

Tier 2

Independent

Under 250% of federal poverty guidelines

Between 250% and 300% of federal poverty guidelines

Dependent

Your income is under 150% of federal poverty guidelines

And 

Your income plus guardians’ income is under 300% of federal poverty guidelines

Your income is under 200% of federal poverty guidelines

And 

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. 

Independent Candidates income for the LSAC fee waiver:

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%)

$13,590

$33,975

$40,770

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.

Dependent Candidates income for the LSAC fee waiver:

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%)

2

$ 18,310

$ 54,930

$ 64,085

3

$ 23,030

$ 69,090

$ 80,605

4

$ 27,750

$ 83,250

$ 97,125

5

$ 32,470

$ 97,410

$ 113,645

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.

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Windsor MIT '22, Harvard College Advisor

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.

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A at McKinney, waiting on Maurer. Do I R&R with games gone or go to McKinney and hope to transfer. 156, 3.4, nURM
21:40
If you're up for retaking that's probably the advice you'll mostly get
I'd really rather not take another year
[] ararara
21:44
@KnowledgeableRitzyWasp: GO!
GreasyWorkablePotato
21:47
sup with columbia gotdamn
21:47
Yeah don't go somewhere you want to transfer away from. Grades may or may not work out, transfers may or may not materialize, and aid may or may not be sufficient.
I still havent put down my nd one ah
im like rly scared to deposit at ND because it feels binding
pug
22:13
come to UT with me caterpillar forget nd
tablenapkin
22:33
does anyone have experience with applying as an indigenous international applicant
Ijustwannagetinman
22:40
Guys I just realized in my last LOCi to UCLA
Ijustwannagetinman
22:41
I listed a professor who posted on one of his blogs that he is leaving at the end of June in 2024
Ijustwannagetinman
22:41
but I didn't know that he posted that it was in ONE blog it wasn't on the UCLA website
Ijustwannagetinman
22:41
I didn't list him in my second LOCi he's just literally one of my favorite authors so I wrote about him is this devastating that I listed him??
22:49
i think ur okay i dont think they would expect u to know let alone know themselves
22:51
This is a risk of talking about specific professors (and my school's careers in law folks advised me against doing so in Why ___ essays for that reason) but I doubt they're going to gauge your entire interest in the school based on this
22:52
Ironically, you'll probably benefit if your reader is a bit cynical and assumes the "one of my favorite authors" bit is laying it on thick, but this person leaving is not actually a dealbreaker
22:52
(Which it does not sound like it is)
22:57
during my cycle (2020-21) I mentioned professors in many of my apps
22:58
I outperformed my numbers so I don't think its that bad of a tactic
22:58
I think you just need to sound credible
Ijustwannagetinman
23:15
I didn’t say he was one of my favorite authors I just cited UCLA’s first amendment center and said “led by professor volohk”
Ijustwannagetinman
23:15
But he’s leaving soon
Ijustwannagetinman
23:15
He happens to be one of my favorite authors, but I didn’t say that in the essay
Ijustwannagetinman
23:16
I just wanna go to UCLA so bad it makes my heart ache
QuixoticPowerfulAlligator
23:18
how do transfers adjust socially typically
0:43
i know undergrad typically doesnt matter, but is there an exception for if your undergrad is also the law school?
0:43
i ask as a current community college student hoping to transfer to ucla undergrad, then ucla law
3:04
anyone else get an error email from TAMU
kineticsand
5:59
Go to the school that will pay for you to go. To do otherwise is a life altering error in judgment.
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