Going to law school is an expensive endeavor. That’s why students who are contemplating a legal education need to carefully consider its costs and how they’re going to pay them. Every law school in the United States that is accredited by the American Bar Association (AA) must publish the cost of its tuition. That information will most likely be found on the law school website’s financial aid section. The most expensive ABA accredited law school in the United States in 2019 was Columbia University in New York City, with annual tuition of $69,916. The least expensive was the University of the District of Columbia at $12,838.
Law School Transparency (LST) is a not-for-profit consumer advocacy and public education entity that concerns itself with law schools and the legal profession. One of its purposes is to make possible law students more informed about whether they should attend law school and what school they might attend. It also wants to make law school more affordable. As per LST, the average 2019 law school tuition for private schools was $49,312 while for public schools, it was $28.186. Then, there the costs that must be paid on top of the sticker price. Those include housing, food, transportation, personal expenses, books and miscellaneous charges. Those are going to push the cost of law school at an average priced public law school to more than $40,000 per year for three years. It makes you wonder how people pay for all of that.
If you’re thinking about attending an ABA accredited law school, the cost of it all needs to be considered in relation to how it might benefit you. Without geographically restricting yourself, take a close look at some nationally known law schools over the internet, and then, compare those with the law schools in your geographical area. An ABA accredited private law school 1,000 miles away might charge three times more than a state funded law school in your area. That might be true for a law school across town too. Much depends on what you expect to get from your degree, whether you intend on taking the bar exam and your goals for your first job. Be sure to put everything into perspective before you make your decision.