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New law scholarship at WVU will benefit rural communities

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A new scholarship established at West Virginia University by the West Virginia State Bar Association is designed to increase legal services in rural communities across the Mountain State.

The Rural Practice Scholarship at the WVU College of Law will be awarded to two members of the Class of 2020 who commit to practicing law in under-served areas.

In exchange for a student’s commitment to three years of post-graduate practice in a rural county, the scholarship will pay tuition and fees for three years of law school at WVU. The scholarship will match in-state tuition and fees and be given in the form of a forgivable loan. At current tuition levels, each scholarship is worth more than $22,000 a year. 

One year of loans will be forgiven for each year of qualifying post-graduate rural practice. If the recipient chooses to stop practicing in a rural community, he or she will be required to pay back the outstanding scholarship amount.

“By encouraging students to focus on rural practice, the West Virginia State Bar seeks to ensure the state’s rural communities will have access to local legal services,” explained attorney Dean Rohrig, president-elect of the West Virginia State Bar.

Scholarship recipients will be selected based on their academic record and academic promise; commitment to establishing a rural practice in West Virginia; and potential for maintaining a rural practice in West Virginia over a prolonged period of time. 

As an added benefit, the West Virginia State Bar Rural Practice Scholarship Committee will assist the scholarship recipients in finding summer jobs after their first and second years of law school. The committee will also assist them in securing permanent positions after graduation and passage of the bar exam.

Counties covered by the West Virginia State Bar Rural Practice Scholarship currently include Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Grant, Monroe, Pendleton, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Ritchie, Tucker, Tyler, Webster and Wirt.

The Rural Practice Scholarship was established through the WVU Foundation in conjunction with “A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University.” The $1 billion fundraising effort runs through December.



CONTACT: James Jolly, College of Law; 304.293.7439

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