How Much Does Law School Cost?
If you are planning to go to law school, one of the most important things that you need to prepare for is the financial burden of funding your studies. This is going to be substantial since you will need to spend for a bachelor’s degree before you can enter a formal law program. This means at the least a total of seven years before you can attain your juris doctor degree. In terms of college costs, an aspiring lawyer will have to shell out more for tuition and related expenses than say, a computer programmer, who only needs a bachelor’s degree to be able to get an entry-level job.
Law programs in the United States don’t particularly require a specific bachelor’s degree program for entry into law school although political science, history and pre-law studies are popular among future lawyers. If you decide to take a bachelor’s degree in political science and government and study as an out-of-state student, for example, you can expect to spend around $36,000 a year for tuition and fees, books and supplies and room and board costs. The range, however, can vary from as low as $9,000 to a little over $60,000 a year.
Formal law school, on the other hand, is another cost that you need to spend for. The average yearly tuition for top law schools can range anywhere from $37,000 to about $45,000 a year. You’ll have to factor in your living, transportation and personal expenses to this equation which can range from about $15,000 to around $20,000 a year as well as books and supplies which costs $1,000 to $2,000 in many schools. If you don’t have a laptop yet, you need invest in one because this piece of equipment is going to be a necessity in law school.
If you want to lower your tuition costs, you can attend a public school for both your undergraduate degree and for your formal legal education. This is because public educational institutions typically offer substantial tuition discounts for in-state students. You don’t get this benefit if you attend a public school as an out-of-state student. Private schools, meanwhile, charge the same fees for all students regardless of residency status.
Another reason why you’ll stand to save more on your college costs if you attend a public school in your state of residence is because you don’t have to pay for rent or food if you can arrange to stay with your parents for the duration of your college years. You should also look into working part-time to pay for your college expenses.
You shouldn’t limit yourself to attending as an in-state student in a public school, however. Since being on your own is also a learning experience in itself, attending school in another state is also something worth considering. You can get assistance in funding your overall college costs no matter which school you go to by seeking financial aid. Talk with the financial aid officer of your school to see if you are eligible for scholarships or grants. You may always avail of student loans but be sure that you only borrow what you need since loans will need to be repaid later on.
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