School of Law nationally ranked in affordability

According to a report compiled by U.S. News, the UND School of Law ranks 6th in the nation in the amount of debt graduates hold. The graduates of the UND Law class of 2014 held an average debt $64,818.

The relatively low debt burden and high job placement rate leads prospective students to choose UND, and many current students are satisfied with their choice. Law student James Grossman, who is in his third and final year at the UND School of Law, said “The UND School of Law has provided me with a quality legal education at a cost that is manageable and fair. Instead of stressing over immense student loans, the affordability of the UND School of Law has allowed me to focus on my education rather than finances.”

The law graduates with the least amount of debt in the nation were the graduates of Brigham Young University, which is affiliated with the Church of Latter-day Saints and is located in Provo, Utah. Their graduating class of 2014 had an average of $54,203 in debt. Tuition and other expenses at BYU’s law school is $11,620 for Mormons and $23,240 non-Mormons for the 2014-2015 school year.

Tuition at the UND School of Law is currently $322.63 a credit for North Dakota residents and $762.89 credit for other out of state students. This means the tuition for full-time students is $10,925 and $24,249 for the 2015-2016 school year for North Dakotans and out of state residents respectively.

UND estimates that the law students will spend an additional $14,400 a year on room and board, books, and personal expenses. This brings the total yearly costs to approximately $25,325 a year for North Dakotan students and $38,649 for out of state residents.

Costs of attending the UND School of Law are further lowered by grants, scholarships, and other financial types of financial aid that are available through a variety of sources. In 2014, 38.6 percent of UND law students received grants to cover a portion of their tuition. Additionally, reduced tuition rates are available for residents from Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana and Manitoba.

The low costs of the UND School of Law is especially important at a time when the average debt burden of law school graduates in 2014 is $111,899 and 9.8 percent are unemployed and seeking employment. According to the American Bar Association, the 2014 class from UND had an unemployment rate of only 5.5 percent. Most UND law school graduates find employment at small law firms, business and industry positions, and state and local clerkships.

With the recent addition to

the UND School of Law building, provide an affordable education to a growing student body. The previous facilities could accommodate approximately 250 total students, and as enrollment numbers grew in recent years, the school had to turn away qualified applicants due to lack of space. 

UND School of Law enrollment has dipped over the past several years, but the new addition should allow the university to begin expanding class sizes.

The incoming class of 2018 has a total of 85 students. The renovation project received $11.9 million from the North Dakota State legislature; the remainder of the total $14.4 million cost was financed through private financing.

Sean Cleary is the News Editor for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]