Law School Costs (Infographic)

Intro by Marcela De Vivo.

Graduation, whether you’ve just earned your bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, is definitely a major accomplishment. While pursuing higher education can bring some great benefits, it can be a huge financial investment and at times a burden. For this reason, students should really think about how they plan on paying for college or graduate school. Trying to find financial aid for school can often turn into a full time job; as more and more grants and scholarships see their funding reduced, students are forced to look into more accessible forms of financial aid like student loans. More advanced degrees such as a J.D. tend to cost even more. In 2013, the average law school student graduated about $124,000 in debt. Although the costs of education can be high, it’s still a worthy investment, as statistically college graduates earn significantly more than those without degrees — and the higher your degree, the more you earn.

Paying for school can seem intimidating and challenging, but with smart saving and budgeting skills, finding funds for a degree can become the least of your worries. Student loans can be a time-saving way to find financial aid, but students should always compare and research different loans to find the ones that have the best interest rate and payment plans. To get a sense of just how much grads can end up paying for law school, and to learn some money saving tips that can help you get rid of student debt quickly, check out this infographic on law school costs.

Source: CedarEdLending


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Objection Sustained: Deciding if Law School is Right for You (Guest Post)

Guest Post by Sonia Martinez.
Sonia is a freelance writer and paralegal who lives in New Jersey.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the owner of this website.

Northwestern University Library

Northwestern University Library

Northwestern University Law School in Evanston, Ill., announced that it will cut its incoming 2013 class by upwards of 25 students. Daniel Rodriguez, the dean of the school, said reductions are necessary to address growing student debt and unemployment. Northwestern, via its website, said it will increase total financial aid by 25 percent over the next two years to help offset the 3 percent tuition increase that will take effect in the fall of 2013.

Northwestern is by no means a trend setter, nor a lone wolf with its recent actions. A 2012 Kaplan Test Prep survey found that 51 percent of U.S. law schools cut their class sizes due to excessive unemployment among graduates. About 75,000 new jobs in the legal profession will be created through 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while 40,000 new graduates will enter the job market every year.

Students wishing to become the next Vincent Gambini or Nancy Grace may want to consider some of the hard facts about this once prestigious profession. Nearly 33 percent of 2012 graduates are not working as lawyers, according to Smart Money magazine, and U.S. News & World Report said the average amount of debt for said graduates is more than $100,000. Sure, if you graduate in the top 10 percent of your class at Harvard, Stanford, Yale or some other big-name school, you are all but certain to make six figures right out of college. The other 90 percent of graduates need to consider the realities they face before making that three-year, very expensive commitment.

The Money Question

A New York Times Op-Ed published last November basically made the argument that law school is worth its weight in US Money Reserve gold. Not surprisingly, the column was written by Lawrence E. Mitchell, the dean of Case Western Reserve University law school. He points to the median starting salary for attorneys in 2011 being $61,500, and the average of all practicing lawyers a whopping $130,490. But several subsequent “letters to the editor” pointed out the aforementioned poor job market, rising tuition costs not adjusted for inflation, and the massive debt graduates must deal with.

Of course, this entire back-and-forth argument is put to rest for students who earn scholarships and grants to cover most or all of their costs. An easy way to determine whether or not law school is right for you is by earning a 170 or higher LSAT score, combined with a 3.75 or higher GPA. Those numbers will almost guarantee you receive a vast majority of funds for law school that do not have to be paid back.

Your Goals vs. Reality

Most young people get into law because of the high-potential returns on their educational investments. But believe it or not, there are still a few people out there who simply want to stand up for and represent the little person. If you are in the latter group, a career as a lawyer can be quite rewarding, especially if success is measured more by justice than money. Those in the previous group must get into a top 20 school and graduate no lower than the top 10 percent of their class to guarantee monetary riches.

The decision to go or not to go will change your life one way or another. If you’re in it for the right reasons, however, there is no right or wrong decision.


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