sylvernight wrote:I'm completely willing to take out loans, but the rules of FLEP forbid it. The school must either cost less than $16K/year, or the tuition must be supplemented by an academic scholarship. According to the website, and the JAG recruiter I've talked to, you can't even use personal funds or need-based scholarships. (Which is one reason I want to talk to a FLEPer, if possible. I'd like to see how they all did it).
What's really frustrating about this is that unless I get an academic scholarship from my first-choice school, I'll have to go to my second-choice school because they offered me a full ride (Both schools are T2, but on opposite ends of the spectrum).
It actually isn't that difficult to talk your school of choice into giving you money. You just have to be persistent. It helps if they have experience with the FLEP program. I'm an Army FLEPer at GW. My numbers were good, but not great -- 3.3/169 -- I think I got 7k out of them initially. After I got the scholarship email, I contacted the Dean of Admissions to explain my situation. I told them I really wanted to attend GW, but I couldn't unless they got the tuition below 20k (Army cap is slightly higher). I was told initially that they loved FLEPs, but that my numbers really weren't good enough to get any more money. I said, "That's great, is there anyone else I can talk to?" I ended up sending emails to several different people, and talking to the Dean of Admissions again a few more times. Each conversation, I just told them how GW was my first choice but I couldn't come unless I got more money. Finally, about a week before the deadline, I got a phone call where they told me they had found the money. I'm now a 2L, so I can say that persistence pays off.
The other thing that helps is if your school is familiar with the program. GW also has a program where, for LLMs, if a service sends a certain number of people, they get one free. I believe here it's 3 students, with the 4th student free. The FLEP students that go here have traditionally done really well, so there's that. If you're interested in going East Coast, I know that William & Mary is incredibly FLEP friendly -- most of each year's Army class goes there (10 or 12 people). You get automatic in-state tuition if you're on active duty, so tuition is just over 18k, I believe. That puts it below the Army's cap, which is why it's so popular with FLEPs. If you have the numbers to get in there, you may have luck getting them to throw you a few thousand dollars to bring tuition below 16k.
That has been my experience, anyway.