Scholars Program FAQs
How do I apply for the Toll Public Interest Scholarship?
All admitted students are welcome to apply for the Toll Public Interest Scholarship. The Office of Admissions & Financial Aid sends application instructions in February. Applicants are notified via email if you have been selected for an interview. Interviews take place in late March and early April.
What if I cannot interview for the scholarship in-person?
We much prefer to interview candidates in-person, and encourage all applicants to visit Penn Law. However, if you are unable to interview in-person, you are still eligible to apply.
When are scholarship offers extended?
Toll Scholarship offers will be extended in April. Please note, if you are selected for the Toll Public Interest Scholars Program, you will be asked to commit to the Scholarship within 48 hours. Acceptance of this Scholarship requires that you withdraw all applications to other law schools and commit to enroll at Penn in the fall semester immediately following the offer. Scholarship offers may not be deferred.
What do you look for in when selecting Toll Scholars?
The selection process is comprehensive and highly competitive. Toll Public Interest Scholars are selected based on the extent of their prior public service activities; depth of demonstrated commitment to public service; strength of academic achievement, including rigor and breadth of curriculum; and potential contribution to the legal profession based on past leadership, past service, Toll Scholar application, complete law school application, and an interview.
In selecting Toll Scholars, the Selection Committee seeks individuals who will excel in our collaborative and supportive environment, who will become active participants in the many public service opportunities at Penn Law, and who will become leaders in the public sector.
What is the Toll Scholars program?
Toll Scholars receive a full tuition scholarship for all three years of law school, as well as a generous summer stipend to fund unpaid public interest internships for each of two summers. Toll Scholars are expected to participate fully in our public interest community, remain enrolled at Penn Law and in good academic standing, and commit to working in public interest upon graduation. A minimum of three years of public service is required of all Toll Scholars, but the expectation is that scholars will engage in career long public service.
What counts as qualifying public interest employment?
Qualifying public interest employment is work that utilizes legal training and skills and is full-time employment in one of the following settings:
- a non-profit organization or institution whose primary purpose is to serve or advocate on behalf of individuals or organizations whose interests are not adequately represented by the private sector or the government;
- federal, state or local government, other than as a judicial clerk;
- clinical law teaching, if the position substantially involves advocacy on behalf of individuals or organizations not adequately represented by the private sector or the government; or
- a private employer (including self-employment), if demonstrated that
- at least 50% of the firm’s work, as well as more than 50% of my own work, involves provision of legal services at no fee or at a reduced fee, or at only a court-awarded fee, to individuals or organizations who are not adequately represented by the private sector or the government;
- the firm’s mission is substantially focused on representing individuals or organizations that are traditionally underrepresented; and
iii. the firm’s overall salary structures and my own salary are commensurate with public sector and/or government salaries.
What is the Toll Scholar community like?
Toll Scholars are at the center of a broader public interest community at Penn Law, and a diverse and active Penn Law community. Toll Scholars are a group of individuals with wide-ranging interests and backgrounds who are unified by their commitment to public service, and who engage with classmates along a variety of other interests. The Toll Program is a complement to, not a substitute for, the larger Penn Law experience and curriculum.