U.S. coins used to represent law firm growth
Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

The Cost of Harvard Law Versus Yale? Easy With This Calculator

Want to know how much it’ll cost you to attend law school in New York City and whether you’ll need a roommate? There’s an online calculator for that.

The legal education focused non-profit Access Group has retooled its free student loan calculator, with new information on the cost of attendance, estimated living expenses and a way to compare costs at different institutions without visiting schools’ websites.

“It’s a one-stop shop for figuring out what schools will work best for you and what the repayment plan will be,” said Cynthia Cassity, senior vice president for marketing at Access Group.

The nonprofit is comprised of almost 200 nonprofit and state-affiliated ABA-approved law schools. It promotes access affordability and the value of legal education. Lyssa Thaden, Access Group’s director of financial education, confirmed that the group will not make any money from the calculator. Updates will occur at least once a year to keep the calculator current.

Here’s how it works: Enter a school and any existing student loans, your estimated living expenses and how much money you can contribute to your education.

The calculator comes back with your estimated federal direct student loan obligation and what you’ll need in student loans.

For example, assuming no student loans to pay down, this reporter would have to borrow $275,706 to complete a a three-year program at Harvard Law School. Conversely, $251,451 would be necessary to earn a degree at Yale Law School. Meanwhile, lower-ranked Washington College of Law at American University adds up to $252,366.

Originally created in 2014, the new version of the calculator was unveiled last week. The changes and updates took about six months and cost more than $100,000, Cassity said.

About 25,000 people have used the calculator since the group started tracking usage in June 2014, said Paul Drehoff, an Access Group spokesman.

Top