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Captains and below have options to attend law school

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Are you an active duty commissioned officer with the rank of captain or below? If so, you may be eligible to go to law school and become an Air Force judge advocate.

There are two programs for commissioned officers on active duty that provide the opportunity to go to law school and become Air Force JAGs: the Funded Legal Education Program or the Excess Leave Program.

While the requirements and application process for both programs are almost identical, only officers selected for FLEP remain on active duty and receive full pay, allowances, accumulate ordinary leave, have law school tuition and fees as well as additional allowances covered by the Air Force Institute of Technology

Officers selected for ELP still continue to accrue time for promotion and retirement purposes, and remain eligible for other active duty benefits, such as medical services, commissary and base exchange privileges but must pay for law school tuition and fees on their own.

Officers selected for ELP may apply for FLEP throughout their time at law school. However, according to Air Force Instruction 51-101, “no more than 25 officers may commence such training in any single fiscal year.”

To be eligible for either program, an applicant must be a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force on extended active duty and meet the active duty service and grade requirements.

Requirements:

For FLEP, the officer must have served on active duty (enlisted and/or commissioned service) for a period of not less than two years or not more than six years based upon the total active federal military service date at the time legal training begins. This eligibility requirement may not be waived, as established by Title 10 U.S. Code Section 2004.

For ELP, the officer must have served on active duty (enlisted and/or commissioned service) for a period of not less than two years or not more than 10 years based upon the total active federal military service date at the time legal training begins.

To meet the grade requirements for both programs, the applicant must be a captain or below, and in addition, ELP applicants must also have less than three years as a captain. Applicants must be a graduate of a regionally accredited college or university with a baccalaureate degree, or its equivalent, have discussed the program with their functional manager at Air Force Personnel Center and obtained a conditional release from their career field for either program.

For rated officers on flying status, there are additional requirements.

Program Prerequisites and Application Procedures

The application window opens in December of each year with the online application due in January.

Applicants must have an in-person interview with a staff judge advocate before Feb. 1.

For both programs, applicants must plan before they can apply. Prior to the deadlines of either program, officers must have completed the Law School Admission Test and received their test results, as well as applied to an American Bar Association-approved law school.

Applicants in both programs must pay expenses such as application and LSAT fees.

For further information, contact the Hanscom Judge Advocate office at 781-225-1410.