Determining your cost of attendance (COA) is the first step in truly understanding the cost of your law school education. COA includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and general living expenses as estimated by the school. COA will be different for each school you are applying to, even if their tuition figures are comparable.
Finding the cost of attendance at schools you are considering should be as easy as visiting each school's website. Most schools will post COA information along with their financial aid information. If you are not able to locate those numbers easily, you also can call the school directly to begin evaluating the total cost of your education.
As you do this, remember:
The cost of attendance is a guideline provided by your school. It is not what you NEED to spend.
COA is a good guide, but it is intentionally broad and general. You still need to estimate what it will cost YOU to attend school.
As you begin your planning, you will need to be more detailed than the COA with your categories of expenses. Include items such as:
- Tuition and fees
- Books and supplies
- Housing (rent, mortgage)
- Utilities (electricity, phone, etc.)
- Food (groceries, eating out)
- Clothing (purchases, cleaning)
- Personal care (haircuts, etc.)