Excess Leave Program (ELP) for Law School

Air National Guard: Federal Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet


The Excess Leave Program allows you to pursue your legal ambitions while on “excess leave.” This type of leave isn’t counted against your leave account and does not have to be repaid. Through this program, you will be responsible for all application expenses, tuition and fees. You also will not receive pay or allowances. However, you will continue to accrue time for promotion and retirement purposes, and you’ll remain eligible for other active duty benefits such as base exchange, commissary and medical services.


Both Serving Officers and U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) Cadets qualify for ELP. Service members must be a U.S. citizen serving on extended active duty, in the pay grade of O-3 and below, graduate of an accredited college or university with a bachelor's degree and obtain a conditional release though the Air Force Personnel Center for your career field should you be selected for Excess Leave Program (ELP).

Service members in the rank of O-3 and below must have served on active duty for a period of not less than two years or more than 10 years at the time law school training begins.

USAF Academy Cadets must be a U.S. citizen, apply in their Senior year, be in good standing with a minimum 3.25 GPA in legal studies or 3.5 GPA and experience on the cadet Mock Trial team or Cadet Moot Court program. 

Benefit Highlights

The ELP provides Service members the opportunity to apply to attend law school and become judge advocates.Service members in a classroom


Applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen

  • In the rank of 0-3 or below (with less than 3 years time in grade as an O-3) or USAFA Cadet

  • Have served on active duty for at least 2 years but not more than 10 years or a USAFA Cadet

  • Graduate of an accredited college or university with a bachelor’s degree or USAFA Cadet

  • Obtain a conditional release though the Air Force Personnel Center for your career field should you be selected for Funded Legal Education Program/Excess Leave Program.

  • Apply to an American Bar Association approved law school and provide a statement listing law schools where the applicant as applied or been accepted. (TJAG reserves the authority to specify the law school that the applicant will attend.)

  • Complete the Law School Admission Test and results from the Law School Data Assembly Service or the Law School Admission Counsel.

Application Procedures:

Service members can apply on-line at: https://www.airforce.com/careers/specialty-careers/jag/entry-programs/active-duty-military

You must upload the following items when applying:

  • Full-length color photograph (in service dress, 5” x 7” or 8” x 10”, jpg.)

  • Release letter from AFPC Functional Manager (PDF)

  • Motivational statement (one page, double-spaces, one-inch margin, 11-point Times New Roman font, PFD)

  • Resume (PDF)

  • Law School Application Form, Law School Letters of Acceptance, Academic Scholarship Letters (FLEP Law Schools, PDF)

  • DD214 (if prior military, PDF)

  • Officer SURF, Officer Performance Reports, Training Reports or Enlisted Performance Reports (PDF)

  • LSAT percentile (can be the report that was mailed to you)

  • Undergraduate transcripts (PDF, unofficial copies are acceptable)

  • Letters of recommendation (up to 5, PDF)

  • Optional writing sample (10 pages or less, PDF)

Letters of Recommendation should be written by someone who can attest to your work ethic, duty performance and leadership potential. Address all letters to “Selection Board Member” and upload as part of your online application.

The online application allows you to select which Air Force Base you would like your Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) interview. Once you submit your online application the SJA will contact you to schedule an interview.

Legal Internships:

During the first two year of the program, officers must participate in legal internships during summer breaks. Internships must begin within 2 calendar days of the officer’s last examination or class and may not end earlier than 2 calendar days before the start of fall classes. Contact Air Force Institute of Technology and The Professional Development Directorate (AF/JAX) with the beginning and ending dates of your summer break along with the names of the closest Air Force Bases. AF/JAX will make internship assignments.

Winter internships are available for Service members living in the local area of an Air Force Installation. There is a minimum of work requirement of 10 duty days and leave is not authorized.

While performing internships, officers are returned to pay status and ordinary leave is accumulated and may be granted. For leave that exceeds 10 duty days Service members must have AF/JAX approval.

Transferring from ELP to Funded Legal Education Program

Officers selected for the ELP may later apply to the Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) provided they meet FLEP eligibility and tuition requirements. USAFA Excess Leave Program participants are not eligible. The minimum Active Duty Service Commitment (ADSC) for individuals who start participation in the ELP and then later complete their legal training in the FLEP is five years (e.g., two years as ELP and one year as FLEP = five years ADSC; one year as ELP and two years as FLEP = five years and four months ADSC).

Upon Graduation:

Upon completion of law school, the individual officer is responsible for the fees and expenses of bar review courses and bar examinations.

An officer’s excess leave status will automatically terminate 2 calendar days after completion of the bar examination or graduation from law school, whichever is later.

Officers must obtain a legal license as soon as possible and take the first scheduled bar examination following graduation from law school.

Active Duty Service Commitment: Participation in the ELP results in a four-year ADSC if the program is completed. If the program is not completed, participants will have an ADSC of one month for each month of participation.

Additional Information
Document Review Date: 20 July 2021