Are you looking for the TOP 10 cheapest law schools for your future law career? One way to get a good idea of the quality of a school is to look at its price. The ranking below is based on a survey of the average tuition and fees for students attending each school in the 2015-2016 academic year, and is updated as more data is released. To get a better idea of a school’s cost, visit the school’s official website located in the school’s school directory found here
The average student loan debt for someone who graduates from college is $30,000. After tuition, room and board, and other expenses, it can be hard to come up with that much money. If you’re interested in a career in law, you may want to consider going to a cheaper law school. These schools have a lower cost of attendance and lower tuition costs, so you may want to consider them if you have a large student loan balance.
We ranked the top 10 cheapest law schools, based on two factors: The cost of living and the average starting salary for attorneys. To calculate the cost of living, we took into consideration the average cost of a year of tuition and housing at the following 10 law schools: Western New England University School of Law, California Western School of Law, St. Thomas University School of Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law, California Western School of Law – Irvine, California Southern School of Law, William Mitchell College of Law, Hamline University School of Law, Western State University College of Law and the University of New Mexico School of Law.
Studying law is not cheap. In 2019, the average annual tuition was $28,186 for public universities and $49,312 for private universities, according to Law School Transparency. Even in a profession that could pay well, that’s a lot of money to spend on education.
Related: The average salary of a lawyer may surprise you
But if you choose your law school carefully, you can get your J.D. for much less than the averages listed above. And finding a more affordable school can help you minimize the student debt you’ll incur while in law school.
If you’re looking to save money on law school, here are the 10 cheapest law schools in the US, based on the latest data from the Internet Legal Research Group (IRLG) as of June 2021.
Annual in-state tuition: $12,838
Annual out-of-state tuition : $24,674
Annual in-state tuition: $13,023
Annual out-of-state tuition : $29,644
Annual in-state tuition: $13,060
Annual out-of-state tuition : $26,120
Annual in-state tuition: $13,177
Annual out-of-state tuition : $32,436
Annual in-state tuition: $14,132
Annual out-of-state tuition : $34,035
Annual in-state tuition: $15,563
Annual out-of-state tuition : $25,463
Annual in-state tuition: $16,031
Annual out-of-state tuition : $31,974
Annual in-state tuition: $16,078
Annual out-of-state tuition : $36,918
Annual in-state tuition: $16,188
Annual out-of-state tuition : $36,250
Annual in-state tuition: $16,490
Annual out-of-state tuition : $29,090
The University of the District of Columbia tops our list of the most affordable law schools, with an annual tuition of $12,838.
However, it is important to note that this rate only applies to in-state students, which means you must live in Washington DC. Obviously, the chances of you living there are pretty slim. Like most of the other schools on our list, Washington State University has tuition rates that are about twice as high for out-of-state students.
However, tuition is not the only education cost for many students. If you decide to live on campus, you should also consider the cost of board and lodging.
When both costs are considered, the University of North Dakota is the least expensive law school. With tuition of $13,023 and board and lodging of $8,974, the total cost of tuition at the University of North Dakota is $21,977. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock ranked second with a total cost of $24,291 and the University of South Dakota ranked third with a total cost of $25,482 (this amount is not included in the rankings).
Almost without exception, you will pay more for a private law school than a public one. However, some private schools are cheaper than others. Of the 329 schools in the ranking, two private schools are in the top 100 in terms of tuition fees.
The University of Tulsa is (by far) the cheapest private law school at $25,254 per year. The second private institution ranked in the top 100 is Ohio Northern University, with an annual tuition of $29,160.
It is important to note that private schools are defined as schools that charge the same fees from out-of-state and in-state students. Brigham University (No. 3 on our Top 10 list), for example, is technically a private university, but out-of-state students must pay twice as much as residents.
The legal world is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to school choice. The largest law firms with the highest salaries recruit from the most prestigious schools. Like it or not, this is the reality of the profession.
Therefore, it can be financially rewarding to be admitted to one of the 20 best law schools in the country, despite the tuition. Yes, it sounds crazy – and it’s not the kind of advice we usually give. But it underscores how unique the legal profession is.
That said, here are some schools that are not in the top 20, but are very expensive:
- Baylor University: With an annual tuition of $62,432, the university ranks 13th on the list of most expensive schools in the country, while not even being in the top 50 law schools, according to ILRG.
- Yeshiva University: The annual tuition for this school is $60,610.
Fordham University, St. Thomas University, and the University of California, Berkeley, have all been involved in the project. St. John’s and Hofstra round out the top five in the category of Worst for the Wallet with tuition rates of $60,406, $59,480 and $59,214, respectively.
Whether you choose one of the prestigious schools that cost a fortune or one of the more affordable law schools on this list, you may end up with student loans after graduation.
When it comes to paying off a law school loan, Student Loan Planner® has found that two basic strategies are generally the most effective.
The first strategy is to participate in an income-based repayment plan and save for the tax payments you will owe on the cancelled balance. The second is to refinance student loans at a lower interest rate and aggressively repay those loans as soon as possible.
To help you determine the best strategy for your situation, schedule an appointment with an advisor to discuss your repayment strategy.
You’re not in law school yet? Even better. You can seek advice before getting into debt to make sure you know all the rules about student loans before taking on debt.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cheapest law school to go to?
The cheapest law school to attend is the University of the District of Columbia.
Is it worth going to a low ranked law school?
It is worth going to a low ranked law school if you are interested in practicing law in a specific area. For example, if you want to practice criminal law, then it is worth going to a low ranked school because the competition for jobs will be lower.
What are the best value law schools?
The best value law schools are those that offer a high quality education at a low cost. The following schools are ranked by the percentage of students who graduate with less than $100,000 in debt. 1. University of San Diego School of Law 2. University of New Hampshire School of Law 3. University of Connecticut School of Law 4. University of Iowa College of Law 5. University of Washington School of Law 6. University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law 7. George Mason University School of Law 8. New York University School of Law 9. University of Minnesota Law School 10. University of Florida Levin College of Law 1. University of San Diego School of Law 2. George Mason University School of Law 5. New York University School of Law