By Andy Franco • November 26, 2014•Law School, Other Law School Issues
Law school can represent a substantial financial investment. Cutting costs while you're in school can help reduce your future debt and provide valuable peace of mind. From financial aid packages to living expenses to online books, these seven tips are good ways to keep law school costs at a minimum:
1. Financial Aid
Take a look at schools that provide financial aid for a large number of students. Some are more able and willing to help with financial aid than others. This will also let you explore law schools that you may not have initially thought of, but may make a good fit for you. Online data can give you valuable information about the percentage of students that receive financial aid, the average amount of those grants, and the percentage of students who receive grants that cover the full cost of tuition.
2. Online Books
The cost of law school textbooks can be a budget-buster. Buying new books at the student bookstore is often the most expensive option. Online textbooks are less costly and can also be more convenient. Instead of lugging heavy textbooks everywhere, you’ll be able to have instant access on a computer, smartphone or other device. They’ll usually have study-friendly features such as the ability to highlight and bookmark.
3. Get Good Grades
The first year of law school can be a definite challenge. Doing very well during your first year will pay off down the road, but it can yield large, more immediate financial benefits. If you’re near the top of your class, your law school may be concerned that you’ll transfer to another school, according to U.S. News & World Report. As a result, you may be offered additional merit-based grants for the next two years of law school.
4. Ask for Help
Prospective students are sometimes able to approach one school with proof of another’s offer of financial aid and have that offer matched or even bettered. Even after you’re already enrolled in law school, it doesn't hurt to ask. One former law school student recommends establishing a rapport with the person who controls financial aid. Don’t threaten to transfer, but instead ask if there are any opportunities that you may be missing. Ask if there’s anything that can be done to lighten your financial load.
Reach out to other law school students and alumni for advice. After all, who better understands the financial challenges that law school can bring? By sharing ideas, you may discover new information and also be able to share ways that you've been able to budget and save.
Look online to find advice from previous students. Several websites, including frugallawstudent.com, are geared specifically toward law school students who want to save money
6. Attend Events
Law schools - and schools in general - are filled with opportunities for free (or very inexpensive) entertainment events and even free food. Law schools have a plethora of student organizations attached to them, and they’ll have functions that often have free food. These groups will also help you network, share study tips, and money-saving ideas with your fellow law students.
7. Reduce Housing Costs
Living on campus can save money, as can having a roommate. You’ll not only cut on the cost of rent when you have a roommate, but also utilities, transportation, and other expenses. You can even share meals, making the cost of food potentially lower in addition to saving time. Many law schools recommend this as a way to substantially reduce your living expenses and minimize student loan debt.
Opportunities to keep law school costs as low as possible start before you enroll and continue throughout your student life. With a little planning and flexibility, you can reap substantial rewards.