Financial Support




Public Interest/Public Service Scholars Program (PIPS)

In 2001, WCL created this merit-based scholarship program to provide financial and programmatic support to students with both strong academic credentials and a clearly demonstrable desire and commitment to pursue a career in public interest or public service upon graduation. Every year, WCL will offer up to 10 Public Interest/Public Service Scholarships to entering full-time students. These students will receive individualized academic and career counseling, faculty and alumni mentoring and other support to ensure their experience at WCL well equips them to pursue and obtain rewarding and meaningful careers in non-profits, the government, or private public interest law firms. They will also have many opportunities to develop relationships with other PI/PS scholars while here at WCL, ultimately graduating into a global network of other like-minded lawyers whom they can call upon throughout their professional careers. For specific details on the scholarship program, including the application process and financial details of the award, please visit http://www.law.american.edu/finaid/pipsscholarship.cfm.


Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Program (PILRAP)

Increasing costs of legal education mean that many students borrow significant amounts to pay for their education. WCL became one the nation's first schools to offer loan repayment assistance for graduates working in the lower-paying public interest sector when it created the PILRAP program. Since its inception, PILRAP has assisted an increasing number of graduates, allowing them to work for a variety of public interest, nonprofit and government organizations. For specific information on PILRAP, contact the Financial Aid Office at 202-274-4040 or visit http://www.wcl.american.edu/finaid/pilrap.cfm.


Dean's Fellowships

Each year, WCL makes available dozens of Dean's Fellowships, which offer 2L and 3L law student the opportunity to receive tuition remission for up to 20 hours of work per week with selected faculty members and administrative offices. Though these positions are not exclusively public interest focused, many of them do involve significant public interest work.


Mussey-Gillett Fellowships

These awards, named after WCL's founders are awarded to rising second year students who satisfy the highest criteria of academic excellence and service to the WCL community. The application process is announced during the spring term preceding the award year.


Equal Justice Foundation Fellowships

Each year, the student-led Equal Justice Foundation raises money to fund as many as 30 Equal Justice Fellowships to first and second year law students at WCL who seek to spend their summers working in the public interest. The primary means for generating the funds is through an annual EJF auction [link to new site], which is held every spring and generates upwards of $100,000 for EJF Fellowships. At the auction, students, faculty, alumni and community members bid on items like tickets to concerts and sporting events, resort homes, travel, merchandise, memorabilia, food, and more.

Past fellows have worked at a variety of organizations, government agencies, and NGO's. Below are some examples of where WCL students have interned in recent years:

  • ACLU-Lesbian & Gay Rights Project
  • Atlanta Legal Aid Society
  • Ayuda, Inc.
  • Brooklyn Legal Aid Society
  • Casa Alianza/Int'l Human Rights Law Group
  • Catholic Charities, Hogar Hispano
  • Catholic Charities: Immigration Services
  • Center for Strategic Initiatives of Women
  • Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Attorney's Office
  • Environmental Legal Assistance Center
  • Florence Immigrant & Human Rights Project
  • Guatemala Human Rights Commission
  • Homeless Persons Representation Project
  • International Labor Rights Fund
  • Lasner & Kubitschek
  • Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
  • Legal Aid Society of Hawaii
  • Legal Aid Society of San Francisco
  • Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Inc.
  • Louisiana Crisis Center
  • Manna, Inc.
  • Micronesia Legal Services Corporation
  • National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium
  • National Lawyers Guild-Prison Law Project
  • National Women's Law Center
  • Neighborhood Legal Services Program
  • Northwest Women's Law Center
  • Oxfam Cambodia
  • Sanctuary for Families
  • Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund
  • South Asia Human Rights Documentation Center
  • States Attorneys Office/Prince Georges County
  • UN High Commissioners for the Refugees
  • Virginia Capital Resource Center
  • Women Empowered Against Violence (WEAVE)
  • Women for Women in Bosnia
  • Youth Law Center

Other Financial Support

There are a variety of other awards and scholarships given to public interest-minded students and alumni, including:

  • The Peter Cicchino Award
  • The SBA Pro Bono Community Service Awards
  • The Mary C. Arends Scholarship
  • John and Tyna Karl Employee Rights Scholarship
  • Arthur Mathews Memorial Scholarship
  • The Elliott S. Milstein Endowed Scholarship
  • Fred R. Joseph Memorial Scholarship