February 22, 2022
On Monday, February 21, Dean Heather K. Gerken announced that Yale Law School would strengthen its commitment to funding the tuition of disadvantaged students through the creation of the Soledad ’92 and Robert Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program—which will erase tuition for J.D. students with the greatest financial need, the school said in a release.
Yale Law School is allocating significant funding to launch the program this fall, providing approximately 45–50 full-tuition scholarships to eligible J.D. students in the Classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025. Students who meet the financial requirements will automatically receive the scholarship. 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 future YLS students will benefit from this life-changing initiative for generations to come.
“We are committed to opening our doors to the students who have the most to gain from this School and the most to give to the world, regardless of their means,” said Gerken. “I am thrilled that we are able to make this extraordinary addition to a financial aid system that is already best-in-class. The Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program will free students with the greatest need from financial worry during law school and 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 country to provide aid based exclusively on financial need, and 73% of students received scholarship grants in the 2020–2021 academic year. As a result of these extensive financial aid programs, Yale Law students graduate with the lowest debt load among all of its peer schools.
The Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program builds upon 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 25% of the student body are the first in their families to attend graduate or professional school; and approximately one in six is the first in his or her family to graduate from college.
The Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program will be given to J.D. students whose family income is below the federal poverty guidelines and whose assets are below $150,000. Students who qualify will be awarded more than $70,000 per year to cover the cost of tuition, fees, and health insurance.
In 2021, the Law School began awarding an annual $4,000 Horizon Grant 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.
Research contact: @YaleLawSch