The 10 Most Affordable Law Schools in the United States
Our list of affordable law schools includes schools with a solid reputation which also provide affordable tuition costs.
If you’re considering going to law school, it goes without saying you’ll want to assess a law school’s reputation, success rate of graduates passing the bar exam and other factors of overall quality. Moreover, these days, with a challenging economy and rising tuition expenses, you’ll also want to look at the tuition costs and the affordability of a particular school.
In-State and Out-of-State Law Schools
One way to manage the expenses of a law degree is to consider in-state law schools. However, some law schools offer reasonable out-of-state tuitions. While it may not be your first choice among all law schools, ideally, you should aim to select a school which offers both a stalwart reputation and affordability.
With a predilection to costs, this list highlights ten affordable law schools with sensibly priced in-state and out-of-state tuition rates and solid national standings.
Accreditation, school rankings, financial aid and scholarships, special programs and other resources are noted.
#1 California School of Law, Santa Barbara, California
Full-time tuition & fees, in state: $9,000
Full-time tuition & fees, out-of-state: $9,000
The California School of Law in Santa Barbara, California is proud of its history. This affordable online law school offers a specialized program for those currently employed full time. The School of Law has received wide and consistent recognition in the top of “best value” law schools lists. The in state and out-of-state tuitions put them in 1st place on this list.
* Student-faculty ratio of students is 8:1
*The California School of Law online law school runs on trimesters. The 15 week trimester is equivalent in length to a traditional 4 month law school semester.The *California School of Law online law school runs on trimesters. The 15 week trimester is equivalent in length to a traditional 4 month law school semester.
* Financial Aid and scholarships available
* Apply by June 29; NO LSAT required
#2 University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Full-time tuition & fees, in state: $6,835
Full-time tuition & fees, out-of-state: $14,060
The School of Law at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas is proud of its progressive history. This affordable law school offers a wide variety of legal education programs including foreign study, dual-degree and 3/3 programs, accelerated program for foreign law students, etc.
The American Bar Association (ABA) has provided accreditation to the School of Law at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville since 1927
The School of Law has received wide and consistent recognition in the top of “best value” law schools lists. The in state and out-of-state tuitions put them in 1st place on this list.
* Student-faculty ratio of students is 14:1
* Offers the only advanced legal degree program, Master of Laws (LL.M.), in Agricultural & Food Law in the U.S.
* Accelerated J.D. program for graduates of foreign law schools; 10 qualified applicants accepted annually to receive up to 30 hours credit for completion of a degree from an accredited law school which qualify the applicant to practice law in the applicant’s country
* Clinical programs include Civil, Federal, Immigration, Juvenile Defense, Transactional Foreclosure
* Dual-degree programs offered: J.D./M.A. in International Law and Politics, J.D/M.B.A. and J.D./M.P.A. Program
* The 3/3 Programs allow students to start law school in their 4th year of college: Arts & Science, Agriculture
* Two Study Abroad programs: Russia Summer 2014; Cambridge Study Abroad Program
* Ranked #2 in Top 20 Values in U.S. legal education, National Jurist magazine
* Ranked #68, U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools 2013
* Apply by April 1st; LSAT required
#3 University of North Dakota (UND)
Full-time tuition & fees, in state: $10,417
Full-time tuition & fees, out-of-state: $22,394
This campus of the University of North Dakota is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The National Bar Association has accredited the UND law school since 1923. According to UND, its School of Law has “the lowest cost of attendance for any ranked law school in the country and is consistently recognized as a ‘Best Value’ law school.”
To maintain a hands-on style, the typical 1st-year class is 80-90 students, with a total law school population of ~250.
This affordable law school offers certificate and joint-degree programs and a summer foreign experience as well as partial tuition waivers to encourage greater school diversity.
* Student-faculty ratio is 18.1:1
* Two joint-degree programs: Master of Public Administration (MPA) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) along with J.D.
* Two certificate programs: U.S. Air Transportation Policy and Indian Law
* Summer Foreign Program in Norway
* Financial Aid and scholarships available; partial tuition waivers to members of racial/ethnic minority groups and others who bring diversity to the student body, with special consideration to members of American Indian/Native American tribes
* Ranked #140, U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools 2013
* Graduates passing bar exam: 77% 2010-2012
* Apply via mail or online by April 1st or up until July 15th for Fall admission; LSAT required
#4 University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law
Full-time tuition & fees, in state: $10,620
Full-time tuition & fees, out-of-state: $21,240
Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., the Clarke School of Law focuses on recruiting and training students from groups currently underrepresented in the field of law. In creating a welcoming environment for students from various minority groups, the school has attained a well-deserved status as the most diverse law school in the nation. In a “pay it forward” credit, all 1st-year students are required to give 40 hours of community service.
Students may study part-time or full-time.
* Recognized as the most diverse law school in the U.S., The National Jurist 2012: 48.6% of students and 60% of faculty members are from minority groups
* Annually awards up to 20 full three-year Advocate for Justice scholarships
* All students provide 40 hours of community service in the 1st year of law school
* Graduates passing D.C. bar exam: 85+%, 2013
* Among top 10 law-school clinical programs, U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools 2014
* Ranked 10th best environment for minority students, Princeton Review 2013
* Apply with application by May 31st; supporting documents, including LSAT score, submitted by June 1st.
#5 Southern University Law Center
Full-time tuition & fees, in state: $10,990
Full-time tuition & fees, out-of-state: $18,590
Originally established in 1947 as a state law school preparing African Americans in the legal profession, the Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana has contributed to the education of 90%+ of the African-American attorneys in the state of Louisiana.
SULC graduates comprise ~7% percent of the Louisiana Legislature and 40+ hold judicial offices at the local, state, and national level. Today, SULC is one of the most diverse law schools in the country.
The Princeton Review, “The Best 168 Law Schools 2013” ranked SULC #1 for the most diverse faculty, #2 as the most chosen by older students and #3 as the best environment for minority students.
* Clinical programs offered in Administrative/Civil Law, Criminal Law, Domestic Violence, Elder Law, Juvenile Law, Low-income Taxpayer, and Mediation
* Externship and Simulated Trial Competition opportunities
* Offers a 6-week 2014 Summer Abroad program at University College London
* Offers the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program providing for the payment of eligible educational loans for state and federal public defenders and state prosecutors employed in Louisiana who agree to remain employed as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years
* Apply by February 28 for full- & part-time day programs or by May 1st for the part-time evening classes; LSAT required
#6 North Carolina Central University, Durham
Full-time tuition & fees, in state: $11,387
Full-time tuition & fees, out-of-state: $18,350
Located in Durham, North Carolina, the School of Law at North Carolina Central University was founded as a separate-but-equal option for Blacks who wanted to become lawyers, without integrating the law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Today, North Carolina Central University and its School of Law welcomes people of all races.
The affordable law school boasts ~250 full-time and part-time students annually. The school has a diversity in ethnicity, gender, age and legal interests.
* Two Institutes: Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Law & Dispute Resolution
* The school has 14 Clinical programs e.g. Veterans Law, Street Law, Small Business, Low Income Taxpayer, Juvenile Law, Family Law, Domestic Violence, Criminal defense, Civil Litigation, Alternative Dispute Resolution
* Four-year joint-degree programs: Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (J.D./M.B.A.) program & Juris Doctor/Master of Library Science (J.D./M.L.S.) program.
* 18+ scholarships offered, with varying qualifications
* Apply online by March 31st for Fall admission; LSAT required
#7 University of Montana
Full-time tuition & fees, in state: $11,283
Full-time tuition & fees, out-of-state: $28,602
The law school at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011. The National Bar Association accredited the school in 1923.
The law school describes itself as an intimate hands-on public college of law with fewer than 250 students. This affordable law school generally has an enrollment of 50% male/female. Students may undertake advanced work in environmental and natural resources law, Indian law, trial advocacy, dispute resolution, and business law.
* The school offers a recognized Environmental and Natural Resources Law program; joint law and graduate degrees in Environmental Studies, Public Administration, and Business Administration.
* Student-faculty ratio of students is 16:1
* Ranked #113, U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools 2013
* Bar exam pass rate is 90+%; graduate employment rate: 43.5%
* Apply online by February 15 for a March 15 decision; final application deadline is March 15 for an April 15th decision; must take LSAT
#8 CUNY – Queens College
Full-time tuition & fees, in state: $13,802
Full-time tuition & fees, out-of-state: $21,802
In 2011 PreLaw magazine named the law school at City University of New York (CUNY) located in Flushing, New York as the premier public interest law school in the country. CUNY’s law school’s mission is “to train lawyers to serve the underprivileged and disempowered.”
Under attorney supervision, all 3rd-year students work at Main Street Legal Services, Inc., one of the largest law firms in Queens, located on the law school’s campus. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg praised CUNY as “an institution of incomparable value.”
* More CUNY School of Law grads go into public interest and public service law practice than any other law school in the nation: 70%, Class of 2008
* Student-faculty ratio is 10:1
* Ranked #132, U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools 2013
* Recipient, Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, 2013
* Ranked 4th Most Diverse Law Faculty & Ranked Most Welcoming Law School to Older Students, The Princeton Review
* Apply by May 15, 2014 for Fall 2014 admission; LSAT required
#9 University of South Dakota
Full-time tuition & fees, in state: $13,904
Full-time tuition & fees, out-of-state: $28,430
The University of South Dakota’s law school in Vermillion, South Dakota, the only law school in the state, received accreditation in 1923. All members of the South Dakota Supreme Court graduated from the USD School of Law.
To encourage diversity, the law school offers the PLSI, a free two-month program to prepare Native American students for the first year of law school. The law school also provides the Law Screening Program a six-week performance-based program for all ethnicities which serves as an alternative admissions option.
* Offers an accelerated admissions program which allows students to begin law school before completing their undergraduate work and a flex-time program which allows students to complete the J.D. curriculum in 5 years
* Offers an American Indian Law Program; other core tracks in Tax, Environmental, Real Estate, Estate Planning, Criminal, Employment, Constitutional, Commercial, Civil Litigation and Business Law.
* Various joint law degree programs: M.B.A., a Master of Professional Accountancy, an M.S. in Administrative Studies, an M.A. in Education Administration, English, Political Science, History, Public Administration, or Psychology, and a dual-degree J.D./Master of Studies in Environmental Law program with Vermont Law School
* Those Receiving Financial Aid: 88%; Feb/July 2013 Graduates Passing Bar Exam: 95%
* Rated #5 of 20, Best Value Law Schools, National Jurist 2013
* Apply by March 13th for Fall admission; LSAT required
#10 University of Wyoming
Full-time tuition & fees, in state: $13,428
Full-time tuition & fees, out-of-state: $26,628
Founded in 1920, the College of Law at the University of Wyoming at Laramie, Wyoming, is located in the Rocky Mountains.
The College of Law, a small law school with a small class size, a student-faculty ratio of 11:1.1, has fewer than 230 students.
The College of Law prides itself on providing “real world” and experiential legal education including a range of clinical programs, practicum, externships, trial advocacy institute, etc.
* Four Clinical Programs: Defender Aid, Legal Services, Domestic Violence and Prosecution Assistance; three practicum: International Human Rights, Estate Planning, Natural Resources
* Externships in Legal, Judicial, Government Agency, and Non-profit/Public Interest
* Three Joint-degree programs: J.D./M.A. in Environment and Natural Resources, J.D./Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) , J.D./ Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)
* Ranked #113, U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools 2013
* Various scholarships for International 1st Year, Wyoming Resident 1st Year, Non-Resident 1st Year, Wyoming Resident Transfer and competitive scholarships
* Apply by March 1st; LSAT required
#10University of Mississippi
Full-time tuition & fees, in state: $13,488
Full-time tuition & fees, out-of-state: $29,288
The School of Law at the University of Mississippi,-affectionately known as Ole Miss, includes author John Grisham among its renowned alums. The law school is the only ABA-accredited law school in the U.S. offering an Air & Space Law certificate program.
This affordable law school has certificate programs also in Criminal Law and Business Law and two concurrent degree programs: Juris Doctor/Master of Taxation (J.D./M.Tax.) and Juris Doctor/Master of Accountancy (J.D./M.Accy)
* Student to faculty ratio is 15:1
* Ranked #107, U.S. News and World Report Best Law Schools 2011
* Selected as one of 45 law schools which promote diversity in legal education, Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), 2013
* Listed among the top 20 best-value law schools, National Jurist, 2010
* Graduates passing Mississippi bar exam: 84% in 2012
* Dean’s & other merit-based scholarships
* Apply online for summer or fall of each admissions year
With vigorous research and judicious exploration, you can find very good, affordable law schools which provide a solid educational experience.