When it comes to law schools, cheap is a very relative term. Even the very cheapest in the nation are going to set you back many thousands of dollars. Furthermore, you want to make sure that when you are applying for law schools that you are getting bang for your buck. You do not want to graduate from a law school only to find out that none of the firms that you want to work at are willing to consider you. With that in mind, and if money is an issue, you need to balance how much law school will cost with the opportunities it will open up for you in the future. With that criteria in mind, let's look at ten cheap law schools that are good value for money.
1. Brigham Young University
In-state tuition at Brigham Young University's law school is around $11,000, which is substantially lower than at most major law schools across the nation. Furthermore, it has an 80.3% employment rate, a 90.8% 2-year bar-pass rate, and was named one of the Best Value Law Schools by National Jurist. It's location in beautiful Utah also makes it a great choice for those who want to enjoy the natural wonders of the west while pursuing their degree.
2. University of Louisville, Brandeis School of Law
Among the oldest law schools in the United States, the Brandeis School of Law is also recognized as being among the best-value law schools in the country. Furthermore, it is ranked among the top 100 law schools overall, proving that astronomical tuition is no guarantee of academic reputation. The good news about the Brandeis School of Law is that it also focuses on how to apply your legal education to practical situations.
3. UC Irvine
With tuition exceeding $44,000 per year, UC Irvine may not sound cheap, but it is affordable when you consider how generous the school is with scholarships. That's perhaps why those attending UC Irvine graduate with just under $50,000 worth of debt, far lower than at other law schools that claim to be "cheaper." Furthermore, as part of the University of California system, by going to UC Irvine you will have a degree from an institution that is recognized throughout the world.
4. University of Wyoming
Wyoming is probably not the first state you think of when you are considering law school, which is a shame because the University of Wyoming offers an excellent return on investment. It is ranked around the 100 spot in terms of overall law schools in the country and it places great emphasis on gaining practical experience, such as through legal clinics and externships. It is especially well known for its programs in Natural Resources, Estate Planning, Legal Services, and Domestic Violence.
5. CUNY School of Law
Tuition at CUNY School of Law is around $12,000 per year, which is decent although by no means the cheapest in the country. The real advantage of CUNY is that it is both affordable and located in New York City, allowing you to get a good value education while being front and center to some of the biggest cases and most prestigious firms in the country. As a publicly funded law school, it should come as no surprise that the CUNY School of Law specializes in public-interest law.
6. University of Alabama
The University of Alabama has been routinely praised for both its affordability and academic rigor. Tuition is just under $20,000, which, again, is affordable but by no means among the cheapest. However, those who graduate from the University of Alabama have excellent job prospects. The employment rate is over 89% and the school has a nearly 95% 2-year bar pass rate. The University of Alabama is also one of the only law schools in the country that guarantees students the chance to participate in a law clinic.
7. University of Mississippi School of Law
Another southern law school, the University of Mississippi's School of Law is one of the oldest in the nation. With in-state tuition at just over $10,000, it is also one of the cheapest. More than 85 percent of graduates eventually go on to pass the Mississippi bar exam. This school also stands out for having the only Aerospace Law program in the country that is accredited by the ABA. Its location in Oxford, Mississippi also places you at the center of one of the most storied and beautiful cities in the American South.
8. University of the District of Columbia
The Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia is located in the nation's capital and is known for giving students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including minorities and those with disabilities, a chance at studying law. Its location in the District of Columbia also gives students an opportunity to sit front and center to the nation's latest legal and political developments.
9. University of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota is another affordable law school that often goes unnoticed, yet still manages to punch well above its weight. The University of North Dakota has long appeared on lists of America's top-value law schools, with in-state tuition at just over $12,000. One of the main advantages of this school is the breadth of legal programs it offers, including certificates in Air Transportation Policy and American Indian Law.
10. North Carolina Central University
NCCU is a historically black institution that caters to traditionally underserved communities. With in-state tuition coming in at less than $10,000, this is a truly affordable school. Furthermore, the quality of the education is stellar. It ranks among the top four law schools in the country for clinical opportunities and close to 82 percent of its graduates go on to pass the state bar exam--well above the state average.
Law school can leave you saddled with debt, especially if you choose to go to one that offers high tuition or few scholarship opportunities. However, if you think beyond the traditional Ivy League schools then you will find plenty of institutions offering a legal education that is not only affordable, but which opens up plenty of doors afterwards.