Securing Scholarships for Paralegal Studies
Paralegals help lawyers when it comes to preparing legal documents as well as court cases, and with no help from paralegal professionals, lawyers will have a difficult time attending to their clients' needs. As a paralegal, your role is to help legal representatives organize their documents, research material for court cases and proceedings, and provide trial assistance to lawyers.
Paralegal Colleges That Provide Financial Aid:
Where to Find Paralegal Scholarships
If you are looking for ways to save money on your paralegal education, various organizations and institutions offer financial aid for paralegal studies to deserving students.
Because paralegals play an important role in the law industry, various organizations generously support students who intend to pursue a career as a paralegal.
One such organization is the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Yearly, the NFPA subsidizes the Thomson-West Scholarship, which gives away $2,000 and $3,000 to academically performing paralegal students. To be eligible for the scholarship, aside from doing extremely well academically, you must also submit an essay on a chosen topic by the NFPA. Apart from scholarships, the NFPA also gives recognition to paralegal professionals through the NFPA Paralegal of the Year, Pro Bono Publico award, and Outstanding Local Leadership award. These do not include any monetary rewards, but gives awardees the distinction of being the best in their field.
Another association that provides scholarships is the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE) that gives yearly scholarships to outstanding undergraduate members for $500.
Private and corporate scholarships
Private and professional sources abound, and adding to the list of paralegal grants is the Warner, Norcross, and Judd law firm in Michigan that provides up to three scholarships to financially deserving students. Generally, scholarship amounts from $1,000 to $5,000.
Other sources of private scholarships include:
Cleveland Association of Paralegals - funds the Joy King Memorial Scholarship amounting to $500. To qualify, you must have very good academic status and must complete an essay based on the association's chosen topic.
Orange County Paralegal Association – Qualified members have a chance to win $500 scholarship money
State Bar Associations
Because paralegals are key components to the law industry, Bar Associations usually include paralegal scholarships in their programs. For instance, the Paralegal Division of the North Carolina Bar Association typically offer various scholarships and awards depending on availability of funds. Another example is the Maricopa County Bar Association that aims to enhance the paralegal industry by taking care of the education of its member paralegal students. In addition, they also give out student awards yearly to their outstanding student members.
Colleges and universities
Just like all professional organizations, some colleges and universities also offer paralegal scholarships to qualified students who may reimburse full tuition assuming they are able to prove their academic excellence and high commitment to the paralegal industry.
Examples of college scholarships include:Chippewa Valley Technical College (Wisconsin) – one of the technical colleges that provide various paralegal grants and federal student loans such as:
- Joanne Dow Memorial Scholarship – a $100 scholarship given to paralegal students who have demonstrated involvement in their communities
- Cheryl Janke Memorial Endowment Scholarship – a $500 scholarship given to outstanding students
- Chippewa Falls Rotary Club Scholarships – a $300 scholarship awarded to paralegal students who are local residents of Chippewa Falls and with a GPA of at least 3.0
Elgin Community College (Illinois) – sponsors of the Judge Ernest Akemann Scholarship, award this scholarship to paralegal students or outstanding law students. Requirements for eligibility include fulltime enrolment to the program of study and a consistent 3.0
GPARoosevelt University (Chicago) – sponsors of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Awards that are awarded to students with winning essays about the paralegal industry as chosen by the board. Scholarship money may be up to $3,000.
As there are many lawyers in the country, the need for paralegals will always be high. Programs for paralegal studies are available in colleges and universities as well as community colleges and online paralegal schools. Some institutions require that their students complete any four-year program before applying while others accept high school diplomas only. When looking for a paralegal program, ensure that you are applying in an educational institution that is accredited by the American Bar Association.