On Monday, Aug. 31, Osgoode Hall Law School at York University announced a further $1 million investment in financial accessibility to ensure that a greater number of students are able to access legal education.
Half of the new funding ($500,000) will create 100 new $5,000 bursaries to be disbursed over two years to mark the 50th anniversary of Osgoode’s affiliation with York University in 1965. The balance of the new funding will go toward Osgoode’s first-in-Canada Income Contingent Loan Program, which provides a minimum of five students annually with bursary and loan funding to cover the entire cost of tuition for the three-year Juris Doctor (JD) Program. Recipients must agree to repay their loan after graduation over a 10-year period once they are employed and earning more than $80,000. If their income in any of those years is below that amount, the loan repayment may be forgiven in whole or in part.
The Income Contingent Loan Program is one of a range of ambitious accessibility initiatives that Osgoode has introduced in recent years. In addition to more than $4.3 million in bursaries, scholarships and graduation awards distributed to Osgoode students last year, the law school has established paid public interest summer internships for law students with financial need and a free Access to Law and Learning LSAT prep course for prospective law students with financial need.
Last year, Osgoode marked its 125th anniversary with a student-led Osgoode @125 debt relief campaign that raised $125,000 which, once matched by Osgoode alumni and the law school, added a further $400,000 to Osgoode’s endowment.
“Osgoode has made accessibility and inclusion a key and sustaining priority,” said Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin. “Together, this new $1 million in financial aid funding to mark Osgoode and York’s 50-year affiliation, the Osgoode @125 campaign and the Income Contingent Loan Program demonstrate our commitment to our goal that every admitted student should be able to obtain legal education at Osgoode regardless of financial means.”
Osgoode’s 2015-16 academic year commenced on Aug. 27 with the arrival of approximately 300 entering JD students. First-year tuition is $23,806. For the five eligible students who will receive Income Contingent Loans this year, $10,000 of that amount will be given as a bursary that they do not have to pay back. The remaining $13,806 will be a loan that the students will have to agree to repay after graduation. Similar loan arrangements will exist for the five students when they move on to their second year as well as the third and final year of the JD Program.