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After graduating from law school, there is one more thing you will need to do before starting your legal career: pass the bar exam. Since you can’t work as a lawyer until you graduate from the bar, a bar exam loan could help cover your expenses while you prepare for and take the exam.

Here’s what you need to know about how bar exam loans work and where to get one:

Bar exam loans cover your living expenses between graduation and the bar exam

Law student loans can help you succeed in school, but your journey to becoming a practicing lawyer does not end there. You still need to pass the bar after you graduate, which can take months of study and preparation.

Since you won’t be able to work as a lawyer until you pass the bar exam, you may need to borrow money to cover living expenses, test preparation, and legal fees. exam. Depending on where you live, these expenses can vary widely.

With a bar exam loan (sometimes referred to as a bar preparation loan or bar study loan), you can usually borrow around $ 12,000 to $ 16,000 to cover your costs before you start earning a salary. attorney. If you are not a U.S. citizen, student loans for international students can also be an option.

Learn more: How long does it take to get a student loan?

Lenders who offer bar exam loans

If you are looking to take out a bar exam loan, it is important to compare the rates of several lenders to find the loan that is right for you. Here are some Credible partner lenders that offer bar exam loans:

Lenders who offer bar exam loans Amount of the loan Costs
$ 1,000 – $ 16,000
(total loan limit of $ 225,000)
$ 1,000 – $ 15,000 Nothing
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How to get a loan for bar exam

If you want to take out a bar exam loan, follow these steps:

  • Get your finances in order: Review your personal finances and credit history and look for areas that you could improve before applying for a bar exam loan. For example, you might be able to improve your credit score if you can afford to pay off high credit card balances.
  • Shop around and compare several lenders: Compare the interest rates and terms of as many lenders as possible. This way, you can find a loan that suits your needs. You can do this easily with Credible – after filling out a simple form, you can compare the rates of several lenders for bar exam loans as well as other types of private student loans.
  • Fill out the loan application and get your funds: Once you have decided which lender you prefer, you will need to complete a complete loan application with the lender on their website. This usually leads to a thorough investigation of your credit report. If you are approved for the loan, the lender will disburse your funds.

Borrow responsibly! A bar exam loan may need to be repaid – with interest. Be sure to use the funds from a bar exam loan only for bar exam preparation and living expenses to avoid accumulating additional costs.

Learn more: How student loans work

Find your bar exam loan

How Bar Exam Loans Are Different From Student Loans

Bar exam loans usually do not have the same terms as federal student loans or other types of private student loans.

Here are some of the differences to keep in mind:

Repayment period Maximum loan Eligible borrowers
Ready for bar exam Up to 15 – 20 years
(depending on the lender)
$ 12,000 – $ 16,000
(depending on the lender)
Law students and recent graduates
(based on credit and financial history)
Federal student loans Standard repayment over 10 years
(other repayment plans are also available)
Limit of $ 138,000 for graduate students (up to $ 65,500 subsidized) Any registered graduate student
Private student loans Varies by lender
(usually 5 – 20 years)
Varies by lender Any student
(based on credit and financial history)

What to do if you are denied a bar exam loan

If you are denied a bar exam loan, you still have options. Here are two other alternatives to cover your bar exam fees:

  • Make a new request with a co-signer: If you’re turned down because of your credit history or income, consider reapplying with a creditworthy co-signer. It might help you get approved. But keep in mind that your co-signer will be legally responsible for the loan if you don’t make your payments. There is also student loans for bad credit available who might be easier to qualify while still in school.
  • Federal student loans: You may still be eligible for federal student loans if you haven’t reached your borrowing limits and are still enrolled in law school. It might also be a good option to get student loans without co-signer. If you are considering Grad PLUS loans, be sure to compare the interest rates of private student lenders as well, as you may be able to get a better deal on a private student loan if you have excellent credit.

Learn more: When to apply for a student loan

Alternatives to the Bar Exam Loan

There are also several alternatives to bar exam loans that could help you earn or borrow enough money to pass your bar exam:

  • Support for the employer: If you have a new job with a law firm, they might be willing to cover your bar exam fees and preparation courses.
  • Scholarships or grants: If you recently graduated from law school, you may be eligible for grants or scholarships that can help pay for the bar exam. Keep in mind that some scholarships are also specific to certain minority groups, legal fields, or locations. Speak to your school’s financial aid office to see what resources might be available.
  • Side jostling: A side concert might help you earn your way by hitting the bar. Some possible options include carpooling, delivering food, or even helping out at a local law firm.
  • Personal loans: While the terms are not as favorable as with a student loan, a personal loan can also help cover the cost of the bar exam. Use our personal loan calculator below to estimate your monthly payments.

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Total payment

Total interest

Monthly payment

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loan, you will pay

monthly and a total of

interest over the life of your loan. You will pay a total of

over the term of the loan.

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About the Author

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg is an expert in personal finance. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Investopedia, The Balance, The Huffington Post, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Mint.com and more.

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