The following information was originally compiled by Ava Preacher, Assistant Dean and Principal Pre-Law Advisor, University of Notre Dame. The information has been edited and information added.
The cost of a three-year law school education could run well over $80,000 (even at a public law school!). Tuition alone can range from $10,000 to more than $35,000 a year. When calculating the total cost of attending law school, you also have to include the cost of housing, food, books, travel, and personal expenses. During the first year of law school, full-time students are discouraged from obtaining any but the most limited part-time employment. Therefore, approximately 75 percent of law school students rely on educational loans as their primary source of financial aid.
Money for law school is available in the form of scholarships, grants, work-study and loans, but most students finance their education through loans, either from the government or private sources. Some law schools offer their own scholarship programs, but the amount available varies greatly from school to school. Some offer their best candidates full scholarships based on merit. Others give financial aid based primarily on need.
Loans from governmental and private sources at low and moderate interest rates are available to qualified students. Some of these loans consider the applicant’s financial need in determining eligibility; others have limitations based on the law school budget. Many states offer guaranteed student loans. To determine your eligibility for these you should consult lending institutions in your area. Private loans are also increasingly available. Typically, the lowest interest rates are associated with federal loans that require demonstrated need; private bank loans are typically available at higher rates.
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