Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Affordable Legal Education

U.S. News and World Report released its list of law schools with lowest average student debt, with the University of Arkansas Fayetteville coming in 6th. Read a snapshot below and check out the original article here

A law education can easily cost students more than the price of a home in some states.

Law graduates from the class of 2013 who borrowed to fund their law school education carried an average debt of $108,815 – a slight increase from the $108,293 average law school debt among 2012 graduates who borrowed, according to U.S. News data.

Some graduates, though, get their J.D. with minimal debt. Among graduates who borrowed for law school only in the class of 2013 at the Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia, the average debt was $34,645. The school had the lowest average law school debt for graduates who borrowed out of the 181 ranked institutions that reported data to U.S. News in an annual survey.

[Decide if you should work in law school.]

UDC alumni also have something else to brag about: They have one of the lowest salary-to-debt ratios, possibly making their loan payments easier to manage.

Brigham Young University's Clark Law School was one of the highest-ranked schools included on the list of 10 schools with low average debt for grads. The Utah school is ranked No. 36, and 2013 alumni who borrowed had an average debt of $56,053. Three schools with the label Rank Not Published also made the list. A school marked RNP is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of its ranking category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.

[Recognize how to make smart decisions for financing a J.D.]

Among the 10 schools where graduates had the lowest average debt, the average debt was $57,314. Graduates from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in California had the largest average debt among all schools that reported the data for graduates – 2013 alumni had an average debt of $180,665.

Below is a list of the 10 schools where 2013 graduates who borrowed for law school had, on average, the least amount of debt. Unranked law schools, which do not submit enough data for U.S. News to calculate a rank, were not considered for this report.
School name (state)Average debt load, class of 2013U.S. News law school rank
University of the District of Columbia (Clarke) $34,645 RNP
Barry University (FL) $47,799 RNP
University of Arkansas—Little Rock (Bowen) $52,205 121
University of South Dakota $54,352 145
Brigham Young University (Clark) (UT) $56,053 36
University of Arkansas—Fayetteville $62,185 61
University of Nebraska—Lincoln $63,435 54
University of North Dakota $66,763 129
University of Wyoming $67,733 129
Southern Illinois University—Carbondale $67,966 RNP

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