Law School Costs

A conditional scholarship is any financial aid award that depends on the student maintaining a minimum grade point average or class standing, other than that ordinarily required to remain in good academic standing.

Fewer schools offer conditional scholarships compared to previous years, likely for a few reasons. First, the ABA forced schools beginning in 2013 to disclose the number of first-year students who received and who lost some or all of the scholarship's value after the first year. Second, prospective law students were increasingly advised that scholarship stipulations are negotiable. Third, conditional scholarships received negative publicity in the press, at academic conferences, and in legal scholarship. The chart below shows the change between 2011 and 2018. It also shows a decline in the percentage of students with conditional scholarships who lost scholarship value after their 1L year.

The number of students who lost scholarship value also declined substantially between 2011 and 2018, from 4,017 to 2,492. As a percentage of 1L enrollment, the decline was from 8.4% to 6.5%. Although a decline of only 1.9 points, the change amounts to a 22.6% decline in the total number. However, the number of students losing scholarship value did not decline as much as the percentage of law schools offering conditional scholarships.

Several notable patterns emerge when grouping law schools based on whether they offer conditional scholarships. On the front end, students who attend schools with conditional scholarships have significantly lower LSAT scores. The average median LSAT at schools with conditional scholarships is lower than the 25th percentile LSAT at schools without conditional scholarships. On the back end, graduates from schools with conditional scholarships find full-time, long-term legal jobs at a substantially lower rate than their peers at schools that do not offer them. Potentially, both patterns reflect school reputation. Regardless, students at schools with conditional scholarships are more likely to fail the bar and less likely to obtain gainful employment.

Schools 2019 Legal Job Rate Fall 2019 LSAT
25th 50th
Conditional Scholarships 65.5% 15044.3 percentile 15355.6 percentile
No Conditional Scholarships 76.4% 15559.7 percentile 15974.6 percentile

The table below provides school-specific data for the number of new students, the number (and percentage) of those students who received a conditional scholarship, and the percentage of conditional scholarship recipients that had their award either reduced or eliminated. This may understate the actual percentage. Students with conditional scholarships who (a) withdrew from law school voluntarily or (b) took a leave of absence prior to a determination of whether they would have met the renewal condition for their scholarships or (c) had their conditional scholarship reduced or eliminated after the first year are not deemed to have lost their scholarships and are treated as having retained their scholarships.

Note Some law schools with conditional scholarship programs also offer some scholarships on a non-conditional basis and/or offer some need-based assistance.

School State 2018-2019 2017-2018 2016-2017
1Ls Had CS Lost CS 1Ls Had CS Lost CS 1Ls Had CS Lost CS
University of Akron OH 143 - - 159 - - 158 - -
University of Alabama AL 117 - - 124 - - 133 - -
Albany Law School NY 182 90 (49.5%) 30% 150 72 (48%) 18.1% 146 97 (66.4%) 26.8%
American University DC 463 5 (1.1%) 0% 416 5 (1.2%) 0% 463 7 (1.5%) 0%
Appalachian School of Law VA 50 35 (70%) 42.9% 73 30 (41.1%) 46.7% 38 19 (50%) 31.6%
University of Arizona AZ 117 - - 80 - - 102 - -
Arizona Summit Law School AZ 17 - - 49 37 (75.5%) 48.6% 143 86 (60.1%) 34.9%
University of Arkansas - Fayetteville AR 126 54 (42.9%) 53.7% 119 53 (44.5%) 50.9% 116 65 (56%) 55.4%
University of Arkansas - Little Rock AR 138 99 (71.7%) 34.3% 140 90 (64.3%) 30% 139 97 (69.8%) 35.1%
Arizona State University AZ 273 - - 216 - - 228 - -
Ave Maria School of Law FL 96 91 (94.8%) 41.8% 97 79 (81.4%) 38% 88 75 (85.2%) 41.3%
University of Baltimore MD 226 147 (65%) 27.2% 199 107 (53.8%) 19.6% 208 114 (54.8%) 17.5%
Barry University FL 255 189 (74.1%) 41.3% 243 196 (80.7%) 42.9% 195 170 (87.2%) 37.6%
Baylor University TX 172 132 (76.7%) 0% 167 143 (85.6%) 0% 140 126 (90%) 0%
Boston College MA 231 - - 254 - - 247 - -
Belmont University TN 109 62 (56.9%) 24.2% 112 52 (46.4%) 30.8% 104 38 (36.5%) 36.8%
University of California - Berkeley CA 313 - - 304 - - 301 - -
Brooklyn Law School NY 356 336 (94.4%) 18.8% 369 338 (91.6%) 19.2% 348 328 (94.3%) 19.2%
Boston University MA 284 - - 236 - - 257 - -
SUNY Buffalo NY 151 - - 144 - - 140 - -
Brigham Young University UT 106 2 (1.9%) 50% 101 2 (2%) 0% 138 - -
California Western School of Law CA 262 10 (3.8%) 10% 263 191 (72.6%) 35.1% 273 259 (94.9%) 22.8%
Campbell University NC 183 - - 167 - - 122 - -
Capital University OH 158 118 (74.7%) 18.6% 159 373 (234.6%) 10.7% 126 111 (88.1%) 31.5%
Cardozo-Yeshiva University NY 334 - - 368 - - 307 - -
Case Western Reserve University OH 157 - - 134 - - 144 - -
Catholic University of America DC 138 22 (15.9%) 13.6% 120 17 (14.2%) 5.9% 123 15 (12.2%) 0%
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico PR 96 84 (87.5%) 16.7% 125 124 (99.2%) 34.7% 133 112 (84.2%) 20.5%
Chapman University CA 155 118 (76.1%) 48.3% 167 116 (69.5%) 43.1% 190 109 (57.4%) 43.1%
Charleston School of Law SC 206 - - 251 - - 215 - -
University of Chicago IL 193 - - 188 - - 185 - -
University of Cincinnati OH 136 - - 96 - - 126 - -
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law OH 140 - - 108 - - 98 45 (45.9%) 20%
University of Colorado CO 172 - - 190 - - 170 - -
Columbia University NY 412 - - 415 - - 391 - -
Concordia University School of Law ID 59 - - 48 - - 44 - -
Western Michigan University - Cooley Law School MI 541 - - 458 - - 415 - -
Cornell University NY 195 - - 196 - - 194 - -
Creighton University NE 112 - - 107 - - 108 - -
CUNY NY 208 - - 186 - - 193 26 (13.5%) 0%
University of California - Davis CA 206 - - 151 - - 156 - -
University of Dayton OH 100 - - 93 80 (86%) 28.8% 113 90 (79.6%) 28.9%
University of Denver CO 248 144 (58.1%) 9% 248 129 (52%) 4.7% 247 132 (53.4%) 11.4%
DePaul University IL 236 - - 249 - - 248 - -
University of Detroit Mercy MI 189 62 (32.8%) 30.6% 214 74 (34.6%) 12.2% 200 59 (29.5%) 30.5%
Pennsylvania State University - Dickinson Law PA 76 - - 73 - - 58 - -
Drake University IA 106 39 (36.8%) 69.2% 103 35 (34%) 68.6% 107 41 (38.3%) 61%
Drexel University PA 154 45 (29.2%) 28.9% 151 58 (38.4%) 29.3% 130 59 (45.4%) 27.1%
Duke University NC 235 - - 214 - - 221 - -
Duquesne University PA 188 - - 148 - - 123 - -
Elon Law School NC 146 32 (21.9%) 0% 138 22 (15.9%) 0% 128 23 (18%) 0%
Emory University GA 269 - - 238 - - 261 - -
Florida A&M University FL 190 - - 222 - - 151 1 (0.7%) 0%
Faulkner University AL 59 56 (94.9%) 7.1% 71 57 (80.3%) 36.8% 92 66 (71.7%) 21.2%
Florida International University FL 161 73 (45.3%) 32.9% 149 69 (46.3%) 31.9% 146 76 (52.1%) 42.1%
University of Florida FL 248 - - 301 - - 314 - -
Florida Coastal School of Law FL 60 60 (100%) 21.7% 106 95 (89.6%) 56.8% 235 147 (62.6%) 36.7%
Fordham University NY 415 - - 410 - - 399 - -
Florida State University FL 213 - - 179 1 (0.6%) 0% 153 1 (0.7%) 0%
University of Georgia GA 208 - - 189 - - 178 - -
George Mason University VA 160 - - 176 - - 179 33 (18.4%) 15.2%
Golden Gate University CA 237 196 (82.7%) 36.7% 186 124 (66.7%) 49.2% 148 87 (58.8%) 57.5%
Gonzaga University WA 145 146 (100.7%) 22.6% 119 115 (96.6%) 24.3% 103 102 (99%) 22.5%
Georgia State University GA 201 - - 190 - - 201 - -
Georgetown University DC 581 - - 582 - - 576 - -
George Washington University DC 564 - - 407 - - 458 - -
Harvard University MA 566 - - 560 - - 563 - -
University of California - Hastings CA 310 214 (69%) 18.2% 326 9 (2.8%) 0% 348 8 (2.3%) 12.5%
University of Hawaii HI 116 - - 94 - - 83 - -
Hofstra University NY 257 220 (85.6%) 46.8% 250 193 (77.2%) 40.4% 223 177 (79.4%) 52.5%
University of Houston TX 202 - - 227 - - 211 - -
Howard University DC 155 56 (36.1%) 30.4% 145 - - 145 61 (42.1%) 14.8%
University of Idaho ID 114 83 (72.8%) 25.3% 111 83 (74.8%) 37.3% 98 75 (76.5%) 28%
University of Illinois IL 124 - - 153 - - 137 - -
Indiana University - Bloomington IN 174 - - 162 - - 178 - -
Indiana University - Indianapolis IN 255 185 (72.5%) 15.7% 240 157 (65.4%) 16.6% 253 149 (58.9%) 20.1%
Inter American University PR 187 6 (3.2%) 0% 194 - - 193 - -
University of Iowa IA 143 - - 131 - - 135 - -
University of California - Irvine CA 229 - - 159 - - 140 - -
John Marshall Law School - Atlanta GA 108 93 (86.1%) 51.6% 216 144 (66.7%) 41.7% 195 150 (76.9%) 62.7%
University of Illinois at Chicago - John Marshall Law School IL 336 156 (46.4%) 49.4% 301 123 (40.9%) 41.5% 282 147 (52.1%) 44.9%
University of Kansas KS 108 82 (75.9%) 36.6% 107 83 (77.6%) 36.1% 107 68 (63.6%) 30.9%
Chicago-Kent College of Law IL 246 - - 229 - - 241 - -
University of Kentucky KY 151 - - 113 - - 179 - -
University of La Verne CA 95 - - 99 - - 116 - -
Lewis and Clark College OR 167 - - 170 2 (1.2%) 0% 174 - -
Liberty University VA 72 75 (104.2%) 0% 73 73 (100%) 2.7% 64 63 (98.4%) 1.6%
Lincoln Memorial University TN 91 - - 100 - - 61 - -
University of Louisville KY 126 - - 141 - - 111 - -
Loyola University Chicago IL 273 - - 258 - - 248 - -
Loyola Marymount University CA 318 209 (65.7%) 13.4% 326 236 (72.4%) 20.8% 306 206 (67.3%) 20.4%
Loyola University New Orleans LA 162 104 (64.2%) 9.6% 177 92 (52%) 17.4% 172 89 (51.7%) 13.5%
Louisiana State University LA 206 203 (98.5%) 25.6% 179 175 (97.8%) 30.3% 198 195 (98.5%) 32.3%
University of Maine ME 81 - - 85 - - 76 - -
Marquette University WI 190 - - 186 - - 190 - -
University of Maryland MD 220 - - 207 - - 198 - -
University of Memphis TN 130 37 (28.5%) 24.3% 107 26 (24.3%) 34.6% 110 24 (21.8%) 29.2%
Mercer University GA 142 - - 122 - - 144 - -
University of Miami FL 339 215 (63.4%) 4.7% 322 205 (63.7%) 3.9% 291 175 (60.1%) 5.7%
University of Michigan MI 361 - - 320 - - 305 - -
University of Minnesota MN 223 - - 196 - - 176 - -
University of Mississippi MS 145 - - 113 - - 108 - -
Mississippi College MS 123 - - 131 83 (63.4%) 26.5% 135 - -
University of Missouri - Columbia MO 90 - - 92 42 (45.7%) 23.8% 104 59 (56.7%) 20.3%
University of Missouri - Kansas City MO 127 2 (1.6%) 0% 122 2 (1.6%) 50% 122 6 (4.9%) 16.7%
Mitchell Hamline School of Law MN 381 - - 392 - - 338 - -
University of Montana MT 79 45 (57%) 0% 72 43 (59.7%) 11.6% 76 41 (53.9%) 19.5%
Michigan State University MI 208 - - 266 - - 259 230 (88.8%) 16.1%
North Carolina Central University NC 103 - - 166 - - 183 - -
University of Nebraska NE 136 - - 132 - - 132 - -
New England School of Law MA 185 135 (73%) 27.4% 185 122 (65.9%) 16.4% 172 127 (73.8%) 20.5%
University of New Mexico NM 106 66 (62.3%) 13.6% 123 60 (48.8%) 18.3% 112 22 (19.6%) 54.5%
New York Law School NY 381 288 (75.6%) 36.8% 377 320 (84.9%) 41.3% 314 267 (85%) 37.5%
University of New Hampshire NH 91 - - 74 - - 71 - -
Northern Illinois University IL 90 - - 98 - - 105 - -
Northern Kentucky University KY 143 56 (39.2%) 10.7% 148 55 (37.2%) 14.5% 125 47 (37.6%) 8.5%
University of North Dakota ND 62 - - 71 - - 89 - -
Northeastern University MA 202 - - 208 - - 206 - -
Northwestern University IL 245 - - 228 - - 215 - -
University of Notre Dame IN 190 - - 198 - - 187 - -
Nova Southeastern University FL 198 137 (69.2%) 19.7% 226 - - 224 99 (44.2%) 35.4%
New York University NY 425 - - 427 - - 431 - -
Oklahoma City University OK 162 5 (3.1%) 0% 163 5 (3.1%) 20% 152 5 (3.3%) 20%
University of Oklahoma OK 174 9 (5.2%) 0% 159 - - 176 8 (4.5%) 0%
Ohio Northern University OH 51 19 (37.3%) 63.2% 52 26 (50%) 23.1% 58 21 (36.2%) 33.3%
University of Oregon OR 126 126 (100%) 12.7% 144 144 (100%) 11.8% 104 - -
Ohio State University OH 187 - - 215 - - 166 - -
Pace University NY 224 203 (90.6%) 51.7% 230 179 (77.8%) 42.5% 206 174 (84.5%) 37.4%
University of the Pacific CA 193 133 (68.9%) 36.8% 152 103 (67.8%) 44.7% 166 111 (66.9%) 44.1%
University of Pennsylvania PA 251 - - 244 - - 242 - -
Pepperdine University CA 159 110 (69.2%) 21.8% 157 102 (65%) 20.6% 206 125 (60.7%) 20.8%
University of Pittsburgh PA 130 85 (65.4%) 12.9% 141 76 (53.9%) 13.2% 140 73 (52.1%) 6.8%
Pennsylvania State University - Penn State Law PA 127 - - 119 - - 153 - -
University of Puerto Rico PR 172 - - 181 - - 186 - -
Quinnipiac University CT 113 73 (64.6%) 41.1% 125 89 (71.2%) 39.3% 92 66 (71.7%) 40.9%
Regent University VA 97 - - 93 - - 70 - -
University of Richmond VA 143 - - 115 - - 111 - -
Roger Williams University RI 168 112 (66.7%) 23.2% 161 99 (61.5%) 29.3% 158 110 (69.6%) 30%
Rutgers University NJ 409 286 (69.9%) 13.6% 347 304 (87.6%) 11.2% 319 280 (87.8%) 7.9%
Samford University AL 145 137 (94.5%) 13.9% 148 - - 149 138 (92.6%) 8%
University of San Diego CA 240 195 (81.3%) 16.9% 240 187 (77.9%) 31.6% 187 130 (69.5%) 23.1%
University of San Francisco CA 141 77 (54.6%) 40.3% 143 83 (58%) 30.1% 165 45 (27.3%) 35.6%
Santa Clara University CA 239 150 (62.8%) 39.3% 220 95 (43.2%) 33.7% 261 134 (51.3%) 35.8%
Seattle University WA 215 168 (78.1%) 29.2% 197 160 (81.2%) 32.5% 201 140 (69.7%) 36.4%
Seton Hall University NJ 246 172 (69.9%) 16.3% 197 125 (63.5%) 16.8% 149 108 (72.5%) 20.4%
Southern Illinois University IL 76 - - 114 - - 104 - -
St. Louis University MO 176 - - 168 - - 183 - -
Southern Methodist University TX 205 6 (2.9%) 0% 208 10 (4.8%) 10% 220 8 (3.6%) 0%
University of South Carolina SC 214 - - 215 - - 209 - -
University of South Dakota SD 71 - - 57 - - 52 - -
Southern University Law Center LA 242 64 (26.4%) 15.6% 200 59 (29.5%) 22% 171 32 (18.7%) 18.8%
South Texas College of Law Houston TX 341 181 (53.1%) 46.4% 361 93 (25.8%) 40.9% 338 105 (31.1%) 27.6%
Southwestern Law School CA 277 122 (44%) 46.7% 278 106 (38.1%) 43.4% 278 107 (38.5%) 44.9%
Stanford University CA 180 - - 180 - - 180 - -
Stetson University FL 284 5 (1.8%) 0% 267 4 (1.5%) 0% 271 7 (2.6%) 0%
St. John's University NY 232 209 (90.1%) 31.1% 251 231 (92%) 31.2% 233 196 (84.1%) 58.7%
St. Mary's University TX 238 188 (79%) 62.2% 291 268 (92.1%) 63.4% 242 204 (84.3%) 54.9%
University of St. Thomas - Minneapolis MN 149 - - 146 - - 131 - -
St. Thomas University - Florida FL 184 105 (57.1%) 43.8% 185 120 (64.9%) 50.8% 202 89 (44.1%) 36%
Suffolk University MA 379 - - 340 - - 355 - -
Syracuse University NY 189 - - 197 - - 215 - -
Temple University PA 226 184 (81.4%) 4.3% 223 146 (65.5%) 4.8% 218 153 (70.2%) 6.5%
University of Tennessee TN 124 - - 123 - - 113 - -
University of Texas TX 377 - - 308 - - 295 - -
Texas A&M TX 182 - - 138 - - 133 - -
Texas Southern University TX 217 19 (8.8%) 5.3% 256 32 (12.5%) 81.3% 227 78 (34.4%) 78.2%
Texas Tech University TX 150 96 (64%) 15.6% 139 114 (82%) 23.7% 160 85 (53.1%) 3.5%
Thomas Jefferson School of Law CA 59 - - 241 - - 232 - -
University of Toledo OH 96 - - 92 - - 79 - -
Touro College NY 209 195 (93.3%) 53.3% 177 134 (75.7%) 59% 125 114 (91.2%) 54.4%
Tulane University LA 211 183 (86.7%) 26.2% 208 173 (83.2%) 20.2% 197 166 (84.3%) 22.9%
University of Tulsa OK 100 - - 94 - - 90 - -
University of California - Los Angeles CA 311 - - 294 - - 290 - -
University of Connecticut CT 138 - - 145 - - 110 - -
University of The District of Columbia DC 64 41 (64.1%) 17.1% 93 61 (65.6%) 26.2% 86 - -
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth MA 95 - - 80 - - 66 - -
University of North Carolina NC 209 - - 213 - - 214 - -
University of Nevada - Las Vegas NV 157 - - 105 - - 116 80 (69%) 0%
University of North Texas Dallas College of Law TX 136 - - 104 - - - -
University of Southern California CA 199 - - 187 - - 229 - -
University of Utah UT 99 36 (36.4%) 19.4% 91 23 (25.3%) 4.3% 93 30 (32.3%) 13.3%
University of Virginia VA 320 - - 319 - - 296 - -
Valparaiso University IN - - 28 - - 103 - -
Vanderbilt University TN 180 - - 168 - - 204 - -
Vermont Law School VT 194 - - 161 - - 139 - -
Villanova University PA 183 - - 175 - - 222 - -
Wake Forest University NC 179 - - 157 - - 161 - -
Washburn University KS 113 53 (46.9%) 34% 114 68 (59.6%) 26.5% 112 47 (42%) 25.5%
University of Washington WA 174 - - 166 - - 156 - -
Washington University in St Louis MO 243 - - 225 - - 228 - -
Wayne State University MI 128 100 (78.1%) 0% 147 109 (74.1%) 0% 139 130 (93.5%) 0%
Western New England University School of Law MA 88 - - 93 - - 70 - -
Western State University CA 162 - - 164 - - 150 - -
Whittier Law School CA - - - - 132 - -
Widener University - Delaware DE 212 - - 206 - - 163 - -
Widener University - Pennsylvania PA 117 - - 128 - - 107 - -
Willamette University OR 129 115 (89.1%) 43.5% 110 93 (84.5%) 52.7% 105 82 (78.1%) 42.7%
University of Wisconsin WI 275 - - 151 - - 149 - -
Washington and Lee University VA 130 - - 164 - - 117 - -
William and Mary VA 193 - - 186 - - 236 - -
West Virginia University WV 111 - - 109 - - 106 - -
University of Wyoming WY 85 147 (172.9%) 7.5% 72 186 (258.3%) 7% 70 - -
Yale University CT 204 - - 205 - - 210 - -

About the Data

School-specific conditional scholarship and enrollment data come from the American Bar Association.