New database of scholarships available

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Are you a law student in the Chicago metropolitan area? And do you happen to be of Czech, Moravian, Ruthenian, Silesian or Slovac ancestry?

If you answered yes to both, here’s good news: You have a chance to land some money — up to $5,000 — from the Bohemian Lawyers Scholarship Fund. Yes, it’s a thing.

Are you a female law school student? Do you like intellectual property? Well, you too can get some coin — up to $5,000 as well — from the Rachel Krevans Scholarship. Krevans was a groundbreaking IP attorney, whose firm started the fund in her honor.

Want to know how we know about such possible financial windfalls? AccessLex Institute has created the AccessLex Scholarship Databank that compiles scholarship and writing competition offerings nationwide. Here’s the website: accesslex.org/databank.

On it, you can find nearly 800 scholarships, with about $3 million in play. The bulk of the scholarships — 467 — have awards up to $5,000. Twenty-five have awards greater than $15,000.

Since the site’s recent launch, thousands of students have visited it, AccessLex reports. That shouldn’t be a shock, given the cost of law school. The average law school debt is $145,500, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Who wouldn’t want to knock it down even just a bit?

“The main goal was to offer law students and aspiring law students, who are already stretched for time, one place they could go to find aid opportunities that suit their strengths and fit their goals,” said Ann Durandetta, manager of Product Development and Education Services at AccessLex and head of the Scholarship Databank team.  “They’re out there, but out there is a pretty big place.”

It’s simple to use. You can search via scholarship type and/or award amount. Looking for needs-based scholarships? That’s in there. (There are 228, FYI.) Information includes application deadlines, location, applicant attributes, interest areas and essay requirements.

Scholarships are available for current students, entering students and aspiring ones. There are a number for bar prep as well.  

It’s the only site of its kind, according to AccessLex, the largest nonprofit in the country dedicated to the advancement of legal education. 

The idea came two years ago, at the nonprofit’s annual student success conference, officials said. A law school administrator, in a town hall session, said such a tool would be particularly welcome. 

“Many in the audience concurred — so we came back to the office and got to work,” said Cynthia Cassity, chief marketing officer at AccessLex. “It is gratifying to address a specific need voiced in detail by a valued partner and to be able to come out with a solution that exceeds expectations.” 

The database is comprehensive, no question. And the scholarships target a wide range of law students. Are you a single mother? There’s the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC Annual Single Mother Scholarship.

Are you Polish? You can apply for the Kosciuszko Foundation Tuition Scholarship.

There are ones for Hispanics, Blacks, Native Americans, Asians, Italians, Jews, Greeks, veterans, immigrants … There’s one for those who are legally blind … And those with hearing loss …

Ever been in serious debt? There’s the Mapes Law Offices Scholarship: “Students who have experienced first-hand the pressure of debt and how it shaped you, and how it has affected your plans for college are encouraged to apply for this scholarship.”

We’re guessing many law school students can relate …

Some of the scholarships have limitations also when it comes to geography as well. For instance, you can’t apply for the Akron Bar Foundation Scholarships if you go to school in Florida. It’s only for students attending Ohio schools.

And some target students interested in special legal areas, such as social justice, tax and even wilderness protection.

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