Flaticon Icon

As a toddler, your favorite toy was a plastic judge's gavel.

As a tween, all your outfits had intricate lace collars — a nod to Notorious RBG.

As a high schooler, you dressed as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor — every Halloween, all four years.

Kate McKinnon has on a brown wig and glass. She is shimmying while wearing a black judge's robe and a lace collar.

Today, you open the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website and read about all that the LSAT entails. Signing up for the LSAT means you're signing up for more than a test — there are also some pretty significant fees.

Your dream of becoming a lawyer starts to crumble as you realize the prohibitive costs associated with the LSAT.

But there's hope! You might be eligible for an LSAT waiver fee.

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility Status

Michael Buble pointing and saying,

The LSAT fee waiver programexists so that no person is denied access to law school due to the inability to pay law school application fees and other associated services. If you're eligible, the fee waiver covers far more than the basic LSAT fees.

However, there's no guarantee that your fee waiver application will be granted, even if eligible — but you CAN figure out if you meet the requirements to apply.

To apply for the waiver fee, you must officially be ONE of the following:

Flaticon Icon

  • a Canadian citizen

  • a Permanent Resident

  • a Protected Person/Convention Refugee

OR be a resident of either the:

  • Republic of the Marshall Islands (RFI)

  • Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

  • Republic of Palau

Flaticon Icon

  • a United States (U.S.) citizen

  • a U.S. national

  • a Resident Alien of the U.S.

  • have Temporary Protected Status

  • granted deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

  • applied for deferred action under DACA

Step 2: Check Your Dependency Status

Your dependency status is part of the financial need assessment and impacts what information is required to be submitted by those who are eligible to apply. According to the LSAC website:

Your dependency status is based on your answers in Section B of the fee waiver application...LSAC’s determination of your dependency status may not be the same as the determination made by the IRS or other organizations.

A woman saying,

How does the dependency classification directly impact me?

Dependent candidates are required to:

  • provide your tax documentation



  • provide your parents' tax documentation

Independent candidates are required to:

  • provide your tax documentation


Step 3: Dependency and Tier Eligibility

Tier eligibility is evaluated in relation to your LSAC dependency status.

Tier 1 Eligible

Flaticon Icon

Dependent candidates:


  • your income plus your parents' income isn't more than 300% of federal poverty guidelines

Flaticon Icon

Independent candidates:

  • you earn no more than 250% of federal poverty guidelines

Tier 2 Eligible

Flaticon Icon

Dependent candidates:


  • your income plus your parents' income is between 300-350% of federal poverty guidelines

Flaticon Icon

Independent candidates:

  • you earn 250-300% of federal poverty guidelines

Step 4: Other Information

Does the LSAC only consider income when evaluating a fee waiver application?

A libra scale out of balance. A finger pushes on the scale to set it back to a balanced position.

No! They look at many things when evaluating your financial balance:

  1. Income: wages from employment or unemployment, disability, or investments

    (U.S. candidates: comparison to federal poverty guidelines)

  2. Assets: cash or financial investment holdings

  3. Dependents: number of dependent family members

  4. Housing: rent/mortgage

  5. Other factors the LSAC deems important for a candidate's evaluation

⚡ Knowledge Check

Take a look below at two potential applicants for an LSAT waiver fee:

Flaticon Icon

Raquel graduated from college last year with about $10,000 in loans. She's had difficulty finding a job but isn't too bothered because she lives at home and doesn't pay rent. She feels her time is better spent studying for the LSAT.

Raquel's parents have a combined income of $67,000 a year. She doesn't believe in giving hard-earned money away, so she's been using her library's free resources to study. When signing up for a testing date, she realized that testing and applying to law school is prohibitively expensive.

Flaticon Icon

Ricky took 8 years to graduate from college but he did it debt free. His family needed his financial help, so his college classes could only happen after his workday was over. It was hard, but he knew he needed to graduate college in order to apply to law school.

Recently, Ricky's dad started getting disability payments from the state, so Ricky had to increase his work hours because there's no way he and his dad can manage to survive if they're bringing in less than $45,000 a year.


Which applicant is eligible to apply for the LSAT fee waiver?

Take Action

Close up of a man with a white shirt and dark suit jacket. He snaps his fingers, yells,

Follow these steps to prepare to submit your application:


Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

Get support to take action on this Byte