About the Career Options Assistance Program

Yale Law School has long encouraged its graduates to pursue public service activities. Rising educational debt burdens and stagnant public sector salaries, however, increasingly deter graduates from choosing public interest careers. Large debt and low salaries also discourage career options in academia and some types of private practice.

To give financial expression to the Law School’s commitment to a full range of career opportunities, Yale established the Career Options Assistance Program (COAP) in 1989 to provide substantial post-graduation assistance with educational loan repayment for graduates who choose lower paying positions.

Since its inception, more than 1,500 Yale Law School graduates have participated in COAP and received over $54 million in benefits. In 2020 alone, COAP disbursed $5.4 million in benefits to over 400 graduates. COAP remains the most generous loan repayment program available to law school students and the example after which many other programs are modeled.


**COAP during COVID-19**


If you are a COAP participant and you have become unemployed due to COVID-19, the Law School will allow up to three one-month extensions of the standard three month unemployment benefit (for a total of six months maximum). To receive the additional award, the participant:

  • must be enrolled in  COAP at the time they become unemployed;
  • have loans that are in repayment; and
  • must submit an unemployment form confirming that they are unemployed due to COVID-19 and actively seeking employment each month (for up to three months). Please contact the Financial Aid Office for the unemployment form.

If you are approved for an additional award, the loan payment will be made directly to the Student Loan Office at Yale University. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance or any questions.

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Today is a wonderful time to be blessed with legal training and to be able to go out and take on the enormous challenges of a difficult world — with an aspiration to lead tempered by humility at the complexity, difficulty, discipline, and self-sacrifice inherent in the task.”

Ben W. Heineman, Jr.

Class of 1971