Biggest Law School Scholarships Disproportionately Go To White Students, ABA Finds

Law School Scholarships ABA

New data from the American Bar Association reveals disparities in scholarship distribution among law students based on race. According to the data, white law students, who constitute approximately 61% of the national pool of full-time law students, were awarded 70% of full-tuition scholarships offered by law schools this year. In contrast, students of color, representing nearly 32% of full-time law students, received fewer than 23% of full-tuition scholarships.

Furthermore, students of color received a greater share of scholarships covering less than half tuition compared to white students, despite their lower proportion in the national student pool. This marks the first year the ABA has collected and reported data on law school scholarships by race, shedding light on longstanding racial disparities in scholarship distribution.

Aaron Taylor, executive director of the AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence, emphasized the need for law schools to assess their scholarship awarding practices to ensure equity. He pointed out that reliance on Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores has contributed to these disparities, with a 2019 study revealing lower average scores for Black LSAT takers compared to white and Asian test-takers.

The data also show that Asian law students, although comprising 7% of law students, received only about 3% of full-tuition scholarships, despite having comparable median LSAT scores to white students. Taylor highlighted that the typical white student was more than twice as likely to receive a full scholarship than the typical Asian student.