An LL.M. degree is a substantial investment in time, effort and money, and while it should pay off well over time, financing the degree can be a challenge. Tuition in the Graduate Real Estate Program for 2011-12 is $1,500 per credit. However, there are resources and strategies that can help reduce both the cost and time of the LL.M. program.
To reduce the time to complete the program, you can take real estates courses at NYLS while working on your J.D. degree, over a summer semester or by visiting for a semester or a year, and these courses will provide advanced standing that is applied to your LL.M. degree. Or you may be able to take one or more courses online during your J.D. course of study. You will need the permission of your law school to count these credits toward your J.D. degree. Some schools give permission relatively easily, some not, and you should always secure that approval before signing up for a course.
To reduce the cost of the LL.M. program, you can visit at NYLS for a semester or a year while studying for your J.D. (or apply to transfer, if you are currently a 1L.), or take some LL.M. courses online to be applied toward your J.D. Again, this requires the permission of your law school, but if they grant it, you may be able to earn 8 or more credits that provide advanced standing in the LL.M. program while counting toward your J.D. as well.
In planning for your degree, it may be helpful to keep the following additional facts and resources in mind:
1. Student Loans. LL.M. students may be eligible for Federal Stafford Loans, Federal Graduate PLUS Loans, and/or private loans. Under the Stafford program, students may borrow up to a maximum of $20,500 per academic year; up to $8,500 of that amount per year may be subsidized based on financial need. Total Stafford loans may not exceed $138,500. Also, if you are currently in repayment of past Stafford loans, repayment will stop as long as you are enrolled at least half-time in the LL.M. program. Graduate PLUS loans may cover the difference between the cost of attendance and the Stafford loan proceeds. For more information, visit http://www.nyls.edu/prospective_students/tuition_and_financial_aid/financial_aid_resources.
2. Financial Aid. The Law School does have need-based financial aid available to qualified LL.M. students. To apply for financial aid, please contact Ms. Jade Kolb, Director of Financial Aid, at email@example.com or (212) 431-2828.
3. Scholarships, Grants and Fellowships. Scholarships and grants for LL.M. studies are not common, but they do exist. Numerous private organizations provide scholarships, fellowships, grants and awards for which LL.M. students may apply. Each organization has its own application process and criteria, and starting early can be important in securing support. We are happy to provide guidance on possible need-based aid and other funding sources to students who have been accepted into the program.
4. Tax Deductions. LL.M. tuition is often deductible on federal and state income taxes. While college and J.D. tuition are not tax deductible, tuition in an LL.M. program often is deductible as an educational expense needed to maintain or improve skills needed in your current work or as a business expense if you are self-employed. For details, see IRS Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf .
5. Employer Tuition Benefits. Many employers, such as law firms, financial institutions and government agencies, have tuition reimbursement or scholarship programs for their employees. For example, New York City has a scholarship program for its employees in which NYLS participates, called the Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship Program, which can provide substantial support for city employees enrolled in a NYLS LL.M. program.
Voted #3 specialty LL.M. program in New York by readers of the New York Law Journal!