Paying for Law School:
How to Finance Your Law Degree
Law school is fairly expensive these days. Earning a law degree can potentially cost upwards of $150,000. This can make paying for law school seem like a daunting task.
For those who have not begun applying for law school, start saving up money now. One of the major benefits of working for a few years before applying to law school is not only that you will have more to add to your law school application, but you hopefully have set a budget and saved money up to finance your law school degree.
For those who haven’t saved up money for law school, have no fear. There are a variety of ways to pay for law school, such as law school grants, law school scholarships, and loans for law school. It may take some time to pay them off, but if you work hard in law school and develop a great career, the cost of law school will only be an afterthought.
As we’re not financial experts, we don’t want to give any financial advice that may not be best suited for all law school students. That being said, here is a general breakdown on how to prepare for paying for law school.
Get an Estimate for the Cost of Law School
Find out the average cost of law school tuition, housing, food expenses, and any other expenses you will have in law school. Keep in mind it’s better to over-estimate your budget and end up spending less than expected, than under estimating your budget.
Also take a look at any of our law school rankings by state, which includes each states law schools full time tuition for both in-state and out-of-state law students. Once you have an idea of the cost of law school, it’s time to start looking into grants and loans.
Learn About Grants Offered for Law School
1. Merit Based Financial Aid (Scholarships)
If you have outstanding academics or any unique talents, you may be eligible for a merit based financial aid for law school. Scholarships are the most common form of merit based financial aid. A quick online search for your law school’s scholarships should do the trick.
2. Need Based Financial Aid
Don’t feel because you only have mediocre academics (at least compared to those offered scholarships) you will not be eligible for financial aid for law school. Based on your assets and income of yourself and your family, you could very well be eligible for need based financial aid.
Find Out About Different Loan Rates for Law School
A very common way to pay for law school is by receiving a loan. When taking a loan for law school, learn about the different interest rates offered. Some loans even offer you several years after graduating from law school before you are charged interest on the loan. Take your time with the process. Speak with your law school’s financial aid office and learn about your different loan options.
Things to Keep in Mind About Law School Debt
The important thing to remember about paying for law school is that it’s an investment. While it may be fairly expensive, the payoff of earning your JD, whether through income potential or the impact you can have with use of your JD.
While the idea of having debt of $75,000, $125,00, or even $250,000 may seem like a tough pill to swallow, keep in mind, attending a top ranked law school (or a law school with a great reputation in a specific area) will give you a much greater chance of earning a top paying job. Generally speaking, the better the reputation of the law school, the more the graduates earn in the work force.
As we briefly spoke about in how to choose the right law school for you, just make sure you understand fully why you are attending law school. As long as you have a plan, study hard, and build connections throughout your time at law school, law school debt will be an investment, not a burden.
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