Yale Law School Announces Tuition-Free Scholarships for High-need Students

Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program Expands Strong Law School Financial Aid Offerings to Level the Playing Field for Students with Significant Financial Need

For decades, Yale Law School has been a leader in providing need-based financial aid, striving to ensure that every student has the opportunity to pursue a legal education, regardless of financial circumstances. Today, Dean Heather K. Gerken announced that the law school will strengthen its commitment to this mission through the creation of the Soledad ’92 and Robert Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program, which will waive tuition for JD students with the greatest financial need.

Yale Law School is allocating significant funding to launch the program this fall, offering approximately 45-50 full-tuition scholarships to eligible JD students. Students who meet the financial requirements will automatically receive the scholarship, beginning with the classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025 and continuing into the future. Thanks to the incredible generosity of Soledad ’92 and Robert Hurst, David ’78 and Patricia Nierenberg, and Gene ’73 and Carol Ludwig, the law school is also able to endow the program, ensuring that prospective YLS students will benefit from this life-changing initiative for generations to come.

“The Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program will free the neediest students from financial worries while studying law and open up a world of possibilities so they can be a powerful force for change in society.”
— Dean Heather K. Gerken

“We are committed to opening our doors to students who have the most to gain from this school and the most to give to the world, regardless of their means,” Gerken said. “I am delighted that we are able to make this extraordinary addition to an already best-in-class financial aid system. The Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program will free the neediest students from financial worries for their law studies and will open up a world of possibilities so that they can be a powerful force for change in society.

Yale Law School is one of only two law schools in the nation to provide aid based exclusively on financial need, and 73% of students received scholarships in the 2020 academic year- 2021. Thanks to these extensive financial aid programs, Yale law students graduate with the lowest debt load among all its peer schools. The Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program builds on these comprehensive financial aid offerings to adapt to changing student needs. Since 2016, the law school has admitted the six most diverse classes in its history. In the Class of 2024, more than a quarter of students are the first in their families to attend graduate or vocational school and about one in six are the first in their families to graduate from college.

The Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program will be awarded to JD students whose family income falls below the federal poverty guidelines and whose assets are less than $150,000. Qualifying students will receive over $70,000 per year to cover tuition, fees, and health insurance. In 2021, the law school began awarding an annual Horizon Scholarship of $4,000 to students meeting these criteria to supplement existing financial aid. Now, just one year later, students with a similar level of financial need will attend Yale Law School tuition-free.

“Our most needy students are facing significant financial hardship and have no economic safety net to fall back on,” said Miriam Ingber ’04, associate dean for admissions and financial aid at the faculty of Yale Law. “Even with extensive need-based financial aid and our loan repayment program, the financial burden on these students is heavy, and many students fear going into debt knowing that they are responsible for the financial well-being of their students. their family as well as their own. This new program is a critical step forward for the law school, and we hope it will transform the academic experience for our Hurst Horizon Scholars.

Dean Gerken expressed her gratitude to the program’s founding donors who made this important moment possible and noted that her administration is committed to expanding the Hurst Horizon Fellowship Program during her second term as Dean. An ongoing fundraising campaign is underway to further develop the program with the goal of expanding eligibility criteria in the future to reach more students.


“These extraordinary leaders have made an investment that will change the lives of generations of students. I am honored by their commitment to this school and our students,” Gerken said. “I look forward to working with our community to grow this important program in the years to come. This is only the beginning.”

The Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program comes several months after Yale Law School announced the launch of the Tsai Leadership Program, which aims to redefine the future of legal education by providing a modernized curriculum and training opportunities professional and student mentorship. Together, the newest programs are designed to broaden access to Yale Law School and ensure that every student can benefit from the rich academic experience, solid resources, and powerful mentorship opportunities available as they find their path and embark on meaningful careers.

“At Yale Law School, we prepare lawyers and leaders to meet the most critical challenges of the future and to effect change in all sectors of society,” Gerken said. “We are committed to ensuring that every student can fully immerse themselves in our dynamic intellectual experience and have the tools and resources they need to leave their mark on the world. The Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program cements our commitment to access and equity for all.

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