Paul L. Caron

Friday, August 23, 2019

Cost to Attend Three Law Schools Exceeds $100,000 Per Year

Inside Higher Ed, 3 Law Schools Pass the $100,000-a-Year Mark:

The price to attend the law schools at Columbia and Stanford Universities and the University of Chicago will pass $100,000 this academic year, making them the first of the nation’s law schools to blow past that mark. Several of their law school peers are poised just below it and will surpass six figures soon. ...

A six-figure cost of attendance can be shocking to prospective law students at first glance, said Kyle McEntee, director of Law School Transparency, a nonprofit that aims to increase the accountability and affordability of the nation’s law schools.

But many elite schools like Harvard Law, the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Law and Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law have been creeping toward $100,000 over the past three years, with 2019-20 costs at $99,200, $94,338 and $94,410, respectively.

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A real dollar historical comparison:

- In 1999 the law firm Gunderson Dettmer raised first-year salaries to $125,000. In real dollars that's $192,000 - or 1% MORE than the best first-year salaries today.

- In 1999 tuition at Columbia was $26,570. That's $41k in today's dollars. But today Columbia's tuition is actually... $69,896. That's a 68% real dollar increase.

So over twenty years we have a 68% real dollar tuition increase at a representative elite law school for... a 1% real dollar salary DECREASE at the highest-paying law firms. *golf clap*

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Aug 24, 2019 7:35:04 AM

A combination of the GI Bill & what I made driving a cab got me through Columbia debt free. I was simultaneously in grad school elsewhere & paid for that out of pocket too.

Posted by: Joseph Mooney | Aug 24, 2019 5:34:47 AM

@ Mike Livingston,

Columbia's 509 Report discloses that only 50% of the class receives any type of merit scholarship. That means 50% of the class is paying sticker.

Posted by: JM | Aug 23, 2019 10:00:21 AM

@Mike Livingston,

Such data is publicly available in schools' required ABA Form 509 disclosures. You'll find that a plurality to a small majority of students at these schools (and their peers in the $98k to $99k price range) are indeed paying sticker.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Aug 23, 2019 8:11:13 AM

Looks like the most expensive - Columbia - charges "only" $70K in tuition-and-fees. The rest must be about high costs of living, which actually makes the schools' prices understandable (if not a wise student decision except to actually learn those cities' high value specialties.)

Posted by: Anand Desai | Aug 23, 2019 5:50:09 AM

It's called influhashion

Posted by: Anon | Aug 23, 2019 4:58:51 AM

I doubt many people actually pay this

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Aug 23, 2019 3:54:43 AM