Law schools underestimate living expenses

October 12, 2013 Above the Law points out in this article that Law schools seem to be very good at upwardly revising fees, but that they seem to be doing a poor job of estimating living expenses for law students.

George Washington University Law School increased its Room and Board estimate by just $400 in the last three years. The figures used to calculate the sum include a decreased allocation for transportation, while the health insurance budget has gone up by just $200. According to the report, the current health allowance of $2,000 is less than how much GW charges for its own health care plan ($2,500, according to them). In 2011-2012, GW factors in the cost of a computer, but it disappears from the 2013-2014 account.

The 2011-2012 living expenses estimate for GW Law was $30,650. By hiding certain costs and omitting others, the school made the cost of attending law school look almost $3,000 cheaper in 2013 than it was in 2011, about a 9 percent cost savings.

The problem is that these estimates often form a key basis for the grant of federal loans, o underestimating how much it will cost a person to live while studying can have a real impact on their wellbeing.

And in the meantime, points out Above the Law, tuition at GW Law was $45,750 in 2011-2012, and rose to $49,840 in 2013-2014. That’s nearly a 9% increase over 2011 prices.

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