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How Much Does Law School Cost?
While you might be eager to continue your academic journey into law school, you probably have a lot of questions. Perhaps the biggest one is, “how much does law school cost?” It’s a major question to think about, especially since the average cost of law school is about $200,000, including living expenses. In addition to looking at what law school might cost and how to minimize that, we also included some of the requirements to attend. Let’s get started!
Estimated total cost of law school
Depending on the law school, tuition can run up to $50,000 a year on average depending on the school. After attending school for three years, those fees can stack up. In-state tuition can be a lot cheaper, so applying to a law school in your state can be beneficial and cost-efficient.
The price of tuition also doesn’t include any of the living expenses that you’ll incur during the school year. Expenses vary depending on whether you live on campus or you commute, but it’s still a good idea to incorporate them into your cost of attendance.
Private vs. public
Private law schools tend to be more expensive than public law school alternatives. In fact, public law schools can run about $20,000 less than private ones. Private schools usually feature smaller classes and might be better known in their field, which makes the cost worth it for some students.
However, there are benefits to attending a public law school as well. Schools that are public receive a lot more government funding, which allows them to keep the price of tuition lower. They also have higher acceptance rates and a large number of attendees to network with.
Law school requirements
Pursuing a career in law is a big goal that starts during your time as an undergraduate. Some students pick a university that has a law school while others opt to transfer after graduation. Either way, there are a few requirements for law school that you should know about.
There is no specific undergraduate degree program required to attend law school. However, students should consider picking a pre-law track if their school offers it. A meeting with your advisor could also help you figure out the right path for you. When possible, you’ll want to make an acceptance to law school as seamless as possible. .
Law schools usually do require a GPA minimum for applicants that’s typically at or above a 3.0. If you aren’t happy with your GPA right out of your undergrad, you could pursue your master’s degree to improve it. After earning your master’s degree, you could transfer into your desired law school. Everyone’s journey is different, so do what’s right for you.
Keep reading: How to get in law school with a low GPA
Applicants are also advised to take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) since most law schools accept those scores to evaluate admission. If you’d prefer a different test, there are a few other options for applicants depending on which school you’re applying to. Some law schools accept the GRE, and some are test-optional. Try not to rush when taking your LSAT since law schools are able to see all of your scores (though they may take the highest one).
Related: Upcoming LSAT dates
Financial aid options
While law school tuition prices vary, it’s still a hefty expense. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it yourself. There are tons of financial aid options for law school applicants, and it’s worth taking at all possible opportunities to help minimize any debt when you graduate.
Scholarships and grants
A majority of students don’t pay the listed price for law school. This is because students can qualify for merit or need-based scholarships that the school offers. Over 50% of students were able to finance law school without student loans by using scholarship and grant money.
Scholarships360 also offers a wide array of scholarship resources for students. You could learn about our top scholarships for college students, or take a look at our guide to law school scholarships. There’s no limit to the grants and scholarships you can apply for, so go for as many or as little as you qualify for.
FAFSA and student loans
An important part of qualifying for financial aid is filling out the FAFSA application every year. After completing your undergraduate education, your FAFSA will more than likely rely a lot more on your financial information instead of your parents. The FAFSA also helps determine which loans and scholarships you qualify for.
More than half of law school students reported that they graduated with some form of student loan debt. While loans aren’t always ideal, sometimes they’re a needed option for your financial situation. So, try to implement a repayment plan while you’re still in college before you’re required to start making payments.
There are a lot of work opportunities for college students, and a majority of them cater to busy schedules. Getting a job on or off-campus can help cut some of your living expenses such as rent, groceries, and more. These additional expenses can stack up and add on to the cost of attending the law school of your choice.
You have the option of pursuing a paid internship, on-campus position, or a job offering tuition reimbursement. If there are any job fairs or postings around your campus or on your college’s website, definitely check them out. No matter what you choose, work experiences are a good way to build up your resume for after you graduate.
Average earning potential for law school graduates
Once you’ve graduated and passed the Bar, get ready to start your career as a lawyer! If you have accumulated any student loan debt during law school, you can rest easy about repayment; the average earning potential for lawyers is about $150,000 a year.
Incorporating a repayment plan or budget can also help with managing expenses and any loan debt you might incur. There are also loan forgiveness programs that you can apply for if you go into the public sector, but they do require a payment history for your loan. Best of luck, and don’t forget to celebrate your new beginning as a law school graduate!
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