FOR LAW SCHOOL:
A PRELIMINARY GUIDE
Legal education is an investment in your future and is a serious financial investment as well. As with any investment, it is important to consider the pros and cons of entering into such a large expenditure of effort, time, and money. Particularly in uncertain financial times, a realistic assessment of why you are seeking a legal education and how you will pay for it is critical.
The single best source of information about financing a legal education is the financial aid office (or the website) of any LSAC-member law school. LSAC.org provides links to many law schools as well as several good sources of financial aid information.
The cost of a law school education could exceed
$150,000. Tuition alone can range from a few thousand dollars to more than $50,000 a year. When calculating the total cost of attending law school, you also have to include the cost of housing, food, books, transportation, and personal expenses. Law schools will set up a “Cost of
Attendance” that includes the maximum financial aid you may receive for tuition and living expenses. Today, approximately 80 percent of law school students rely on education loans as their primary, but not exclusive, source of financial aid for law school. These loans must be paid back, and the more a student borrows, the longer the debt will have an impact on a student’s life after graduation. Loans from government and private sources at low and moderate interest rates may be available to qualified students. Both federal and private loans are based on the law school’s estimate of your need and the overall cost of attendance. Credit history is a factor for
private loans and the federal GradPLUS loan. Students must have excellent credit to be approved for most private loans. Typically, the lowest interest rates are associated with federal loans; private education loans may be available at higher