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How Much Does Law School Cost in 2019?

Do you have your sights on adding JD to the end of your name? Becoming a lawyer is a dream for many, but there are a number of barriers to entry, cost being one.

While a law degree is usually an expensive investment, it generally pays off in the long run—if you gain full-time employment directly after obtaining the degree. The average first-year attorney salary in the US is $174,140 a year according to Glassdoor.

However, the cost of law school—factoring in tuition, fees, room and board, and more—is exceptionally high at some of the top-ranked institutions.

How to Pay for Law School

If the price tag of attending law school has you reeling, know that you don’t have to pay for your education out of pocket.

Federal Student Loans for Law School

Much like applying for federal loans in undergrad, the first important step is filling out your FAFSA on the Federal Student Aid website. For the first time, students applying for the 2019-2020 school year will have the option of filing their FAFSA on the myStudentAid Mobile App

Federal loans offer certain repayment benefits, such as the ability to qualify for income-based repayment or loan forgiveness. However, this benefit can be limited in scope and prospective law students should weigh the pros and cons carefully.

Private Student Loans for Law School

If you are looking outside of the federal options, or need help closing the cost of law school further, private loans are another opinion to look into. Do your research to pick a lender who offers the rate and repayment plan that works best for your financial situation. 

Other Sources of Financial Help for Law School

Financial aid is requested by filling your FAFSA, but some law schools may also request the CSS Profile as well. The CSS Profile is an online application that about 400 schools are currently using to award non-federal aid.

Scholarships and grants are also great forms of financial funding for your education, as you don’t have to pay these funds back. There are a number of scholarships and grants available exclusively to law students that you might not have looked into as an undergrad. Be sure to check your school’s financial aid website to see if there are specific programs you could apply for as well.

How Much Does Law School Cost? The Top 25 Law Schools Ranked

Below you can find the cost of attendance for the U.S. News & World Report’s top-ranked law schools in the United States for 2019-2020, as well as links to top sources of non-loan aid.

Average law school tuition

Rank School Name 2019-2020 Tuition 2019-2020 Total COA Top Sources of Non-Loan Aid
1 Yale University $62,170 $79,172 1. Yale Law School Grants (Need-based)
2 Stanford University $60,270 $84,864 1. Stanford Financial Aid
2. Yellow Ribbon Program
3 Harvard University $62,792 $85,950 1. Harvard Law School Grant and Loan Assistance (Need-based)
4 University of Chicago $62,865 $79,695 1. Scholarships (No additional application needed)
2. Need-based scholarships
3. Yellow Ribbon Program
5 Columbia University $67,564 $85,169 1. Need-based grants
2. Fellowships (No separate application – considered at the time of admittance)
3. Yellow Ribbon Program
6 New York University $63,986 $88,286 1. Dean’s Award Scholarship
2. Furman Academic Scholars Program
3. Mitchell Jacobson Leadership Program in Law & Business
4. Cybersecurity Service Scholarship
5. AnBryce Scholarship Program
6. Latino Rights Scholarship
7. Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholarship Program
8. Sinsheimer Service Scholarship
9. Furman Public Policy Scholarship Program
7 University of Pennsylvania $63,364 $78,779 1. Merit Scholarships
2. Need-based grants
3. Toll Public Interest Scholars Program
4. Teach for America Scholarship
8 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor $57,262 (Resident); $60,508 (Non-Resident) $71,912 (Resident); $75,158 (Non-Resident) 1. Need-based law school grants
2. Merit-based law school scholarships
3. Competing aid scholarships
9 (tie) University of California-Berkeley $49,364 (Resident); $53,315 (Non-Resident) $71,074 (Resident); $75,025 (Non-Resident) 1. Entering Student Scholarships
2. Continuing Student Scholarships
3. UC Scholarships
4. Need-based grants
9 (tie) University of Virginia $58,300 (Resident); $61,300 (Non-Resident) $71,430 (Resident); $74,430 (Non-Resident) 1. Merit scholarships
2. Need-based scholarships
11 (tie) Duke University $62,247 $75,642 1. Mordecai Scholars
2. Global Leaders Scholarship Program
11 (tie) Northwestern University $62,084 $76,124 1. Irell & Manella Diversity Scholarship
2. Kirkland & Ellis LLP Diversity Fellowship Program
3. Winston & Strawn LLP Diversity Scholarship
4. Butler Rubin Saltarelli & Boyd LLP Diversity Scholarship
5. Yellow Ribbon Program
13 Cornell University $63,327 $80,093 1. Institutional Scholarships
14 Georgetown University $59,850 $80,775 1. Need-based grants
2. Yellow ribbon program
15 University of Texas-Austin $35,015 (Resident); $51,995 (Non-Resident) $47,635 (Resident); $64,615 (Non-Resident) 1. Merit-only scholarships
2. Need, Disadvantage or Adversity Scholarships
3. Merit and Need scholarships
16 University of California-Los Angeles $45,657 (Resident); $52,151 (Non-Resident) $64,062 (Resident); $70,556 (Non-Resident) 1. Need Access Grant
2. UCLA Law Departmental Scholarships
3. Yellow Ribbon Program
17 Vanderbilt University $55,083 $70,491 1. Law Scholar Merit Award
2. Law School Merit Scholarships
3. Need-Based Scholarships
4. Yellow Ribbon Program
5. Teach for America Corps Merit Scholarships
18 Washington University in St. Louis $55,423 $69,823 1. Washington University Scholarships
19 University of Southern California (Gould) $62,711 $79,415 1. USC Gould Scholarships
20 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities $44,066 (Resident); $52,586 (Non-Resident) $57,370 (Resident); $65,890 (Non-Resident) 1. Scholarships
21 University of California–Irvine $45,155 (Resident); $51,649 (Non-Resident) $67,880 (Resident); $74,374 (Non-Resident) 1. UCI Law Scholarships
2. Public Service Scholarships
3. Need-based grants
4. Yellow Ribbon Program
22 (tie) Boston University $52,236 $65,611 1. Merit scholarships
2. Need-based scholarships
3. Public interest scholarships
22 (tie) Emory University $55,116 $73,124 1. Woodruff Fellows Program
2. Merit-based scholarships
3. Yellow Ribbon Program
4. Resident Director Positions
5. Emory Employee Founder Scholarship
6. Scholarships for Women
7. International student scholarships
24 (tie) George Washington University $58,520 $78,720 1. Need-based grants
24 (tie) University of Notre Dame $56,292 $66,292 1. Merit-based scholarships
2. Polking Family Fellowship
3. Yellow Ribbon Program
4. On-campus Employment

This article was written by Carolyn Pairitz Morris, Senior Editor at Earnest.

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Disclaimer: This blog post provides personal finance educational information, and it is not intended to provide legal, financial, or tax advice.