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 2,000 Yale Law School graduates have participated in COAP and received over $58 million in benefits. COAP remains the most generous loan repayment program available to law school students and the example after which many other programs are modeled.



We are pleased to annouce a number of changes to the Career Options Assistance Program (COAP). All of the changes will be implemented beginning in January 2024 (i.e., COAP Cycle 1 of 2024, for which applications open on November 1, 2023). Over the coming months we will be updating our website, as well as relevant handboooks and other materials, to reflect these changes. Summary of changes.


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Now it is time to pivot and ask, where are your extraordinary gifts needed? How do you make this legal world that you are entering a better world? One where no one is shut out; one where the weak and vulnerable are not exploited; one that produces fair results based on the merits of the issues before it.”

Visiting Lecturer Stephen Bright

2012 Commencement Address