LSAC Fee Waivers – If At First You Do Not Succeed . . . Try, Try, Try Again

June 19, 2010 at 2:56 pm (Applying to Law School)

Some of you who have followed my blog since its conception will know that last January I decided to dramatically reduce my hours (and salary) in order to finish my final year of undergrad.  This decision was very difficult for me because as an adult, I have felt a great sense of security in earning a paycheck that would comfortably (but never excessively) cover my expenses.  Growing up, I was very poor, the electric would be cut off, the water turned off, and groceries were scarce.  It left me feeling very insecure about money and so to risk putting myself in a similar situation to complete my undergraduate degree was really scary for me.  If I wanted to remain majoring in Poli Sci (which I love very much) I knew I would need to take my remaining required classes during the day since that is the only time such last few required classes are offered.  I begged my employer for a little bit of flexibility while still maintaining a 40-hour a week schedule.  They explained, and I understood, that my position requires me to work M-F/8-5.  But lucky for me, they created a position for me that is part-time and I also found a work-study position within the Poli Sci Department for me to help make up the hours lost.  Anyway, long story short, my income is now half what it was last year when I filed my taxes.  The unfortunate thing about financial aid is that it tends to go off last year’s income taxes which do not always exhibit a clear picture of one’s current income – this is what I had tried explaining to LSAC when I first applied for a fee waiver.  Not surprisingly, despite offering explanation of my current economic situation in contrast to last year’s income tax return, my request for a fee waiver was denied. 

So I launched my argument.  I had my firm’s bookkeeper print out a detailed list of my current income, last several pay check stubs, and my year-to-date income.  I appealed LSAC’s fee waiver denial the day after I took the lsat, so June 8th.  I didn’t think it would take too long to get a response since my original request had been denied in 48 hours.  But as time ticked on, I was getting nervous – LSAC places a hold on your account when your account is under review (even for fee waivers).  This meant that if my account was still under review by the time lsat scores are released, I would be in the dark until they determine whether my appeal should be granted or denied. 

Nevertheless, I am ecstatic to report that my fee waiver request appeal was approved.  I am so glad I took the extra time to further explain my situation.  I think a lot of people after initially being denied just give up, but I just want to say that at least for me, it paid off to be persistent.  So now, if I have to retake the lsat in October (I certainly hope I will not) the fee will be waived, and I now qualify to register for the credential assembly service at no charge, plus four report fees will be waived when I apply to schools this fall.  I have also heard unofficially that a lot of schools will waive their own application fees if you are an applicant who has received a fee waiver through LSAC.  Very nice indeed.

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4 Comments

  1. Christina said,

    Hello, I also got denied the fee waiver because I made to much money $21,000? I am trying to compose a letter and bills to send in with my appeal. Do you have your letter and maybe examples to prove your need for financial assistance? Thanks!

    • LawSchoolDreamer said,

      I apologize for my delay in response. When I appealed, I submitted my supporting documents with a very short, to-the-point cover letter that indicated why I felt I deserved a fee waiver. In my case, my income changed quite a bit from the prior tax year, so I submitted my most recent (2-3) pay stubs to reflect the difference in income. I hope that helps – good luck!

  2. Luke said,

    I have already registered and payed to take the LSAT in October, and I am now applying for the LSAC fee waiver. If I am approved for the waiver, will LSAC reimburse me for the LSAT that I already payed for? Thanks.

    • LawSchoolDreamer said,

      Hi Luke,

      Congratulations on registering for the LSAT and best of luck in October. If I’m remembering correctly, I registered for the fee waiver (and appealed the denial) and was ultimately granted the fee waver after I had already registered for the LSAT. I didn’t press the issue at the time, but I don’t believe I got a refund or a credit for the LSAT registration, but I did get the free test prep materials and the credential assembly service was waved. I do recall, though, that if I had taken the LSAT a second time, that the fee waver would have been applied to that second test. Nevertheless, you should call LSAC and see what they say.

      I hope that helps and best of luck!
      ~LawSchoolDreamer

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