Paying for law school is often an issue for students long after they graduate and go into practice. The cost of earning a juris doctor degree (JD) and becoming an attorney can potentially result in the student being in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Paying off the debt potentially takes a considerable amount of time before the new lawyer can enjoy earning any money that does not go towards repaying the debts.
Choosing an affordable law school rather than attending an expensive school offers the opportunity for law school students to avoid the extensive debt and the stress that possibly results from trying to pay for attending a more expensive law school.
Why Choose to Earn a Law Degree at a Cheapest Law School Option?
One of the greatest benefits of attending the cheapest law school program compared to a school with the big name and the largest price tag is that students still receive the same high-quality level of education that is provided to students at the less expensive schools.
Other benefits of choosing one of the cheapest law school options include:
- Law schools with lower tuition rates possibly have lower costs for fees and other expenses compared to more expensive law schools
- More affordable law schools are often smaller with fewer students which provides for more personalized support from both faculty members and peers
- Affordable law schools typically have the same types of resources provided to students attending more expensive law schools
- Graduating from a less expensive law school likely means having less debt
Cheaper law schools sometimes offer program options that may not be available at larger, more expensive law schools, or that are less expensive compared to other schools. One example is that less expensive law schools sometimes offer courses in an online format.
It is important that individuals who are considering going to law school still complete only an American Bar Association (ABA) approved school. Although affordable law programs are available that are not ABA-approved, you do not want to discover that you cannot sit for the Bar Exam or practice law in the U.S. or in a particular specialty area. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) explains that most states require that a student graduates from a school that is approved by the American Bar Association in order to practice law in that particular state.
Cheapest law school options are available that help students save money and reach their career goals. The tuition listed for each school covers only the cost of instruction unless stated in the description for a particular school.
20 Most Affordable Law Schools
1. University of South Dakota
Our top-ranked school is the affordable Juris Doctor degree program at the University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law prepares students for a lifelong law career. The school offers several tracks that provides the knowledge necessary to excel in the specialization. Some career tracks include Civil Litigation, Business Law, Corporate Law, Employment Law, Criminal Law and Procedure and Estate Planning.
The first year of study consists of exposure to theoretical concepts, while the second and third years of study includes approved courses, experiential learning opportunities, and a bar preparation course.
- Tuition: $387.33 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 64.8%
2. University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Earn your affordable law degree at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln even though it is a Big 10 school. The well-known school understands that its desire to educate inclusive leaders that advance justice, solve problems and serve with integrity does not have to cost a small fortune.
Students have the opportunity to earn their juris doctor degree or to earn a first-of-its kind Space, Cyber, & Telecommunications Law degree. The specialized degree focuses on the fact that as technology advances and changes, laws and regulations that protect citizens and that serves industries must change as well.
- Tuition: $406 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 64.9%
3. University of North Dakota
Students attending the University of North Dakota School of Law engage in the school’s ‘practice-ready approach’ to education with experiential learning opportunities. Students also gain skills and knowledge through the trial teams and moot court opportunities.
The high-quality education, coupled with the affordable price and the intimate learning environment are just some reasons that students choose this school. The law school indicates that it has one of the lowest costs of attendance in the country among the ranked law schools.
- Tuition: $461.15 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 64%
4. University of Montana
The Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana has a mission to prepare students “for the people-oriented practice of law by integrating theory and practice in a competency-based curriculum.” The school features an extensive pro bono program that allows students to give back to the local community, and the opportunity to practice law through a third-year clinic.
More than 80 percent of the law students pass the bar exam on their first attempt, and 92 percent pass the exam on their second attempt.
The cost of tuition at this school does include some fees.
- Tuition: est. $470.46 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 62.4%
5. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (Florida A&M) School of Law requires that students fully commit to their study of law, and that they not work more than 20 hours each week to comply with the rules of the American Bar Association. The rigorous curriculum focuses on theoretical and intellectual coursework.
Students benefit from intensive skills training and the community service, which involves students providing pro bono services to members of the community. Students also participate in clinical and practical experiences.
- Tuition: est. $460.53 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 49.1%
6. University of Wyoming
The University of Wyoming College of Law recently celebrating its 100th anniversary of providing high-quality education to law students. The school has a reputation for its innovative skills training and affordable cost. The family-like atmosphere and access to faculty members is likely appreciate by students looking for a more intimate experience.
The small class sizes and opportunities for experiential learning, including hands-on experiences, simulation courses and externships further provides learning opportunities for students preparing for a future as a lawyer.
- Tuition: $483 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 54.9%
7. University of the District of Columbia
The University of the District of Columbia provides up to 10,000 hours of legal services to members of the community, providing students with hands-on experiences. The school stresses the importance of providing students with these and other supervised experiences as part of their training to become effective and ethical lawyers.
There are eight career pathways, although the school does not require students to choose a pathway as part of the degree program. Some pathways include Family and Juvenile Law, Housing and Community Development Law and Civil Rights and Equality.
The most affordable law school in the area, students at the University of the District of Columbia also benefit from small class sizes and faculty to student ratio.
- Tuition: $422 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 35.4%
8. University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas School of Law offers a challenging curriculum that prepares future lawyers to excel in their career through the three-year program. Students progress through required courses in their first year of study, then complete courses from a broad selection of elective courses during their second and third years in the program.
Students have the opportunity to accelerate their degree by one semester by completing courses and earning credit outside the semester courses.
- Tuition: est. $488.26 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 52.8%
9. Southern University Law Center
The Southern University Law Center, located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, offers several degree options so that students can enroll in the option that best suits their needs. The five options include the JD Curriculum – Full-Time, JD Curriculum – Part Time Day, JD Curriculum – Part Time – Evening, the JD/MPA dual degree option and the JD/MBA option.
The school has a goal of educating and producing attorneys that are well prepared to enter the legal profession. The Juris Doctor (JD) program prepares students in both civil and criminal law. The JD/MPA program provides students the opportunity to earn a dual Juris Doctor/Masters in Public Administration degree, while the JD/MBA features the dual Juris Doctor/Masters in Business Administration.
- Tuition: est. $581.13 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 65.2%
10. University of Oklahoma
Choose from a dozen concentrations when you choose to earn your degree at the University of Oklahoma School of Law. The American Indian and Indigenous People Law, and International and Comparative Law are two examples of the concentrations.
Students learn in state-of-the-art facilities, and receive an innovative education from practicing attorneys and world-class legal scholars.
- Tuition: $524 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 38.9%
11. University of Mississippi
The University of Mississippi School of Law is another school that offers a law degree related to advances in space and the need to protect citizens. It is offered as a concentration for students in the schools’ juris doctor program and a Master of Laws degree for law school graduates.
Juris Doctor students at ‘Ole Miss’ receive a high-quality education that fits their future career goals and maximizes their options. The curriculum starts with completion of “heavily tested bar exam subjects” and then advances to legal research and writing, appellate brief writing and oral arguments.
- Tuition: est. $563 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 43%
12. CUNY – Queens College
The CUNY – Queens College School of Law is one of the most affordable law schools in the U.S. The school mission is to learn, teach and practice law in the service of human needs and to transform law so that it includes others that the law would possibly otherwise exclude, oppress, or marginalize. The school is the only public law school in New York City.
Students primarily complete required courses during their first year, then progress to completing electives in their second and third year of law school. Students also complete a capstone project.
- Tuition: $515 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 31.9%
13. University of Iowa
The University of Iowa challenges prospective students to ‘be the lawyer the world needs.’ Students have that opportunity to do just that when they enroll at the College of Law and earn their Juris Doctor degree. Students benefit from the smaller class sizes and a curriculum designed to focus on the study of the legal doctrine and participation in experiential opportunities.
The school prepares future lawyers to have knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law, and the skills related to legal research, legal analysis and reasoning, problem-solving skills, along with both written and oral communications skills.
- Tuition: est. $581.80 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 46%
14. University of Kansas
The University of Kansas School of Law prepares students to practice in a variety of areas. Personalize your Juris Doctor to your preferred area of practice by choosing the Criminal Law, Environmental Law, Public Law or Tax Law options. Perhaps your preferred area of study is International and Comparative Law, Litigation, Public Law, Tribal Law or Media, Law and Technology.
Whichever specialization that you choose, the school provides a broad, varied curriculum and other learning opportunities. Students engage in experiences such as moot court, skills simulations, field placements and other experiences that prepares them to be practice ready upon graduation.
- Tuition: $751 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 51.9%
15. Georgia State University
Located in the heart of Downtown Atlanta, the Georgia State University College of Law is conveniently located so that students walk from the classroom to the courtroom. The school takes pride in emphasizing commitment, courage, and a challenging curriculum for the curious that want a career in law.
The Juris Doctor degree features the opportunity to complete the program full-time-part-time or through the evening program. Some students prefer to earn a dual degree, choosing one of the nine options. Develop the legal expertise to take a path to the future without extensive debt.
- Tuition: $525.60 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 30%
16. University of Memphis
The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis prepares graduates for success during and after law school through the education and experiences that students engage in while at the school. The mission of the school is to ‘provide an affordable, intellectually rigorous, and practice-oriented legal education.’ This is accomplished through a curriculum that challenges students and with the various experiences available that provides students with real-world, hands-on opportunities.
Students develop skills and values that are essential for the practice of law. Some examples include gaining knowledge and understanding of the law, competency in legal problem solving, legal analysis and legal reasoning, developing exceptional communications skills and understanding the value of community and public service.
- Tuition: $778 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 52.4%
17. University of New Mexico
The low student-to-faculty ratio is one reason that students likely choose the University of New Mexico School of Law to earn their juris doctor degree. The university indicates that its students graduate ‘less constrained by debt.’ Students also rank higher than the national average when considering the number of graduates that secure long-term jobs that require passing the bar exam.
Students quickly learn that the University of New Mexico School of Law emphasizes a student centric approach to the degree. The rigorous curriculum, hands-on opportunities, specialized programs and seminars help contribute to the professional development of students. The Clinical Law Program is a nationally recognized program where students represent actual clients under close supervision of tenured faculty members.
- Tuition: $759.06 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 48%
18. University of Arizona
The University of Arizona is home to the James E. Rogers College of Law, where students receive a high-quality education at the affordable law school. Students have a variety of options leading to their preferred pathway to a law degree.
The university takes pride in preparing students for professional success through a stimulating curriculum with options that includes the Health Law concentration, Criminal Law and Policy, Intellectual property option, the Innovation for Justice concentration or a choice of several other specialized areas.
- Tuition: est. $544.44 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 25.5%
19. George Mason University
The George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School has been at the forefront of innovation as a pioneer in its program curriculum. The location of the school, just minutes from Downtown Washington, D.C., features a long list of specialty concentrations, some of which are unique, compared to program options offered at many other law schools. A few examples include the concentration in Sports Law, legal and Economic Theory or Public Interest Litigation and Advocacy.
The school offers several opportunities for real-world experiences in regulatory law, patent law, domestic relations, and law and mental illness through clinical programs.
- Tuition: est. $563.42 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 25.9%
20. Florida International University
Fuel your passion for law, receive personalized attention and access to real-world experiences when you enroll at the Florida International School College of Law. The school offers the opportunity for students to be ready to practice law immediately after graduation, whether the student chooses to earn a Juris Doctor or a dual degree.
Students study the Foundation Curriculum before advancing into courses such as Legal Skills and Values, Professional Responsibility, and Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
- Tuition: $691 per credit hour
- Acceptance rate: 33.3%
Finding the cheapest law school can take a long time so we did the work so that you do not have to do it yourself. We first researched law schools from around the country. Next, we narrowed the list by considering the cheapest law schools and ranking them by tuition, and by acceptance rate. When there was a tie, the school with the lower tuition rate was awarded the higher ranking.
It is important to understand that the cost of tuition does not include the cost of fees, supplies, parking, housing or other expenses.
If you would like to have your school included in our rankings, or if you would like to update information on your school, please feel free to contact us.