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Highest Ranked Law Schools in the Cheapest Cities
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Summary: What great law schools are located in cheap cities?

It’s been said time and time again. Law school is expensive, and there are no guaranteed jobs once you earn that J.D. With law schools leaving students in debt from $170,000 (Thomas Jefferson School of Law) to $55,000 (University of Hawaii-Manoa), it makes sense that potential students would want to live in an affordable city while paying expensive tuition.


This year, analyzed the highest ranking law schools in the cheapest cities. They identified affordable cities based on Forbes list of the Top 25 Most Affordable Cities, and that list took into account cost of food, housing, utilities, transportation, and more. To determine the best law schools, they used U.S. News & World Report’s ever so popular Best Law School list. According to the website, they first used these two lists along with factors such as tuition to determine the best law schools in the cheapest cities. As you will probably guess, this list is full of Midwestern and Southern gems.

Highest-Ranked Law Schools in the Cheapest Cities
1. University of Texas School of Law — Austin, TX
2. Washington University in St. Louis School of Law — St. Louis, MO
3. University of Tennessee College of Law — Knoxville, TN
4. University of Tulsa College of Law — Tulsa, OK
5. University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law — Louisville, KY
6. Wayne State University Law School — Detroit, MI
7. Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law — Indianapolis, IN
8. University of Akron School of Law — Akron, OH
9. Oklahoma City University School of Law — Oklahoma City, OK

University of Texas School of Law in Austin ranked number 15 on U.S. News’ Best Law School lists, and Forbes ranked it number 19 as one of the Most Affordable Cities in the United States. According to a recent law school student debt ranking, students leave UT-Austin with about $100,000 in debt, but the average median private sector starting salary of graduates in 2014 was $160,000. Overall, it’s not a bad investment to become a longhorn. Plus, everyone knows liberal Austin, with its robust music scene and natural resources, is a fun place to live.

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Washington University in St. Louis will set students back by $109,000 after three years, but Forbes named it the 7th Most Affordable City in the country. also said Washington University was the place to be if you were a student seeking a social life. While the website didn’t say what type of social life, meaning it could be a Playboy-party school or a hub for nerds to hang out peacefully, either way students reported a high rate of personal satisfaction.

The University of Tennessee was third on the list. Forbes said Knoxville was the second Most Affordable City, and U.S. News ranked the school number 86. According to U.S. News’ Short List, Tennessee alums have the lowest amount of debt amongst 183 law schools polled with an average of $$66,939. The city has less than 200,000 residents, which is big enough where you’ll always find something to do, but it’s not so crowded where you’re stuck in traffic or too overwhelmed.

The state of Oklahoma saw two of their schools on the list: University of Tulsa College of Law and Oklahoma City University School of Law. Tulsa and Oklahoma City are both known for their Midwestern friendliness, and even though Oklahoma City University was named one of the law schools with the most competitive students, the city itself will not stress you out.

Other Midwestern cities that made the list include Detroit, MI; Indianapolis, IN; and Akron, OH. Wayne State University in Detroit is ranked 97 on U.S. News’ Best Law Schools list, Indiana University is ranked 100, and University of Akron is ranked 136.

University of Louisville in Kentucky will leave students with an average of $86,880 in debt, but Forbes said it was the 13th Most Affordable City to live in. Louisville is the largest city in the state, and its famous for its sports scene, which includes baseball and horse racing.

What do you think of the cities on this list? Let us know in the comments below. 




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