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 2019. 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 2019, from 4,017 to 847. As a percentage of 1L enrollment, the decline was from 8.4% to 2.2%. Although a decline of only 6.2 points, the change amounts to a 73.8% 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 2020 Legal Job Rate Fall 2019 LSAT
25th 50th
Conditional Scholarships 63.7% 15044.3 percentile 15455.6 percentile
No Conditional Scholarships 73.9% 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 2019-2020 2018-2019 2017-2018
1Ls Had CS Lost CS 1Ls Had CS Lost CS 1Ls Had CS Lost CS
University of Akron OH 111 - - 143 - - 159 - -
University of Alabama AL 135 - - 117 - - 124 - -
Albany Law School NY 176 65 (36.9%) 0% 182 90 (49.5%) 30% 150 72 (48%) 18.1%
American University DC 381 9 (2.4%) 0% 463 5 (1.1%) 0% 416 5 (1.2%) 0%
Appalachian School of Law VA 61 32 (52.5%) 15.6% 50 35 (70%) 42.9% 73 30 (41.1%) 46.7%
University of Arizona AZ 133 - - 117 - - 80 - -
Arizona Summit Law School AZ - - 17 - - 49 37 (75.5%) 48.6%
University of Arkansas - Fayetteville AR 113 - - 126 54 (42.9%) 53.7% 119 53 (44.5%) 50.9%
University of Arkansas - Little Rock AR 155 89 (57.4%) 0% 138 99 (71.7%) 34.3% 140 90 (64.3%) 30%
Arizona State University AZ 273 - - 273 - - 216 - -
Ave Maria School of Law FL 109 109 (100%) 29.4% 96 91 (94.8%) 41.8% 97 79 (81.4%) 38%
University of Baltimore MD 221 112 (50.7%) 0% 226 147 (65%) 27.2% 199 107 (53.8%) 19.6%
Barry University FL 245 238 (97.1%) 32.4% 255 189 (74.1%) 41.3% 243 196 (80.7%) 42.9%
Baylor University TX 169 118 (69.8%) 0% 172 132 (76.7%) 0% 167 143 (85.6%) 0%
Boston College MA 254 - - 231 - - 254 - -
Belmont University TN 142 - - 109 62 (56.9%) 24.2% 112 52 (46.4%) 30.8%
University of California - Berkeley CA 327 - - 313 - - 304 - -
Brooklyn Law School NY 401 365 (91%) 18.4% 356 336 (94.4%) 18.8% 369 338 (91.6%) 19.2%
Boston University MA 231 - - 284 - - 236 - -
SUNY Buffalo NY 141 - - 151 - - 144 - -
Brigham Young University UT 123 3 (2.4%) 0% 106 2 (1.9%) 50% 101 2 (2%) 0%
California Western School of Law CA 275 5 (1.8%) 0% 262 10 (3.8%) 10% 263 191 (72.6%) 35.1%
Campbell University NC 174 - - 183 - - 167 - -
Capital University OH 164 158 (96.3%) 0% 158 118 (74.7%) 18.6% 159 373 (234.6%) 10.7%
Cardozo-Yeshiva University NY 311 - - 334 - - 368 - -
Case Western Reserve University OH 119 - - 157 - - 134 - -
Catholic University of America DC 155 39 (25.2%) 0% 138 22 (15.9%) 13.6% 120 17 (14.2%) 5.9%
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico PR 91 79 (86.8%) 22.8% 96 84 (87.5%) 16.7% 125 124 (99.2%) 34.7%
Chapman University CA 148 - - 155 118 (76.1%) 48.3% 167 116 (69.5%) 43.1%
Charleston School of Law SC 219 - - 206 - - 251 - -
University of Chicago IL 197 - - 193 - - 188 - -
University of Cincinnati OH 135 - - 136 - - 96 - -
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law OH 144 - - 140 - - 108 - -
University of Colorado CO 176 - - 172 - - 190 - -
Columbia University NY 364 - - 412 - - 415 - -
Concordia University School of Law ID - - 59 - - 48 - -
Western Michigan University - Cooley Law School MI 292 124 (42.5%) 0% 541 - - 458 - -
Cornell University NY 198 - - 195 - - 196 - -
Creighton University NE 113 - - 112 - - 107 - -
CUNY NY 221 - - 208 - - 186 - -
University of California - Davis CA 234 - - 206 - - 151 - -
University of Dayton OH 120 96 (80%) 3.1% 100 - - 93 80 (86%) 28.8%
University of Denver CO 271 158 (58.3%) 3.8% 248 144 (58.1%) 9% 248 129 (52%) 4.7%
DePaul University IL 192 - - 236 - - 249 - -
University of Detroit Mercy MI 209 - - 189 62 (32.8%) 30.6% 214 74 (34.6%) 12.2%
Pennsylvania State University - Dickinson Law PA 78 - - 76 - - 73 - -
Drake University IA 116 42 (36.2%) 0% 106 39 (36.8%) 69.2% 103 35 (34%) 68.6%
Drexel University PA 160 75 (46.9%) 4% 154 45 (29.2%) 28.9% 151 58 (38.4%) 29.3%
Duke University NC 219 - - 235 - - 214 - -
Duquesne University PA 152 - - 188 - - 148 - -
Elon Law School NC 144 28 (19.4%) 0% 146 32 (21.9%) 0% 138 22 (15.9%) 0%
Emory University GA 245 - - 269 - - 238 - -
Florida A&M University FL 212 - - 190 - - 222 - -
Faulkner University AL 60 - - 59 56 (94.9%) 7.1% 71 57 (80.3%) 36.8%
Florida International University FL 152 102 (67.1%) 22.5% 161 73 (45.3%) 32.9% 149 69 (46.3%) 31.9%
University of Florida FL 172 - - 248 - - 301 - -
Florida Coastal School of Law FL 87 71 (81.6%) 18.3% 60 60 (100%) 21.7% 106 95 (89.6%) 56.8%
Fordham University NY 416 - - 415 - - 410 - -
Florida State University FL 192 - - 213 - - 179 1 (0.6%) 0%
University of Georgia GA 192 - - 208 - - 189 - -
George Mason University VA 139 18 (12.9%) 5.6% 160 - - 176 - -
Golden Gate University CA 127 49 (38.6%) 42.9% 237 196 (82.7%) 36.7% 186 124 (66.7%) 49.2%
Gonzaga University WA 139 135 (97.1%) 0% 145 146 (100.7%) 22.6% 119 115 (96.6%) 24.3%
Georgia State University GA 217 - - 201 - - 190 - -
Georgetown University DC 573 - - 581 - - 582 - -
George Washington University DC 506 - - 564 - - 407 - -
Harvard University MA 564 - - 566 - - 560 - -
University of California - Hastings CA 346 203 (58.7%) 0% 310 214 (69%) 18.2% 326 9 (2.8%) 0%
University of Hawaii HI 103 - - 116 - - 94 - -
Hofstra University NY 262 239 (91.2%) 46.4% 257 220 (85.6%) 46.8% 250 193 (77.2%) 40.4%
University of Houston TX 209 - - 202 - - 227 - -
Howard University DC 160 84 (52.5%) 42.9% 155 56 (36.1%) 30.4% 145 - -
University of Idaho ID 126 46 (36.5%) 0% 114 83 (72.8%) 25.3% 111 83 (74.8%) 37.3%
University of Illinois IL 130 - - 124 - - 153 - -
Indiana University - Bloomington IN 169 - - 174 - - 162 - -
Indiana University - Indianapolis IN 256 147 (57.4%) 0% 255 185 (72.5%) 15.7% 240 157 (65.4%) 16.6%
Inter American University PR 184 - - 187 6 (3.2%) 0% 194 - -
University of Iowa IA 151 - - 143 - - 131 - -
University of California - Irvine CA 157 - - 229 - - 159 - -
John Marshall Law School - Atlanta GA 70 66 (94.3%) 18.2% 108 93 (86.1%) 51.6% 216 144 (66.7%) 41.7%
University of Illinois Chicago School of Law IL 341 148 (43.4%) 2% 336 156 (46.4%) 49.4% 301 123 (40.9%) 41.5%
University of Kansas KS 108 79 (73.1%) 0% 108 82 (75.9%) 36.6% 107 83 (77.6%) 36.1%
Chicago-Kent College of Law IL 240 - - 246 - - 229 - -
University of Kentucky KY 102 - - 151 - - 113 - -
University of La Verne CA - - 95 - - 99 - -
Lewis and Clark College OR 180 - - 167 - - 170 2 (1.2%) 0%
Liberty University VA 84 84 (100%) 0% 72 75 (104.2%) 0% 73 73 (100%) 2.7%
Lincoln Memorial University TN 101 - - 91 - - 100 - -
University of Louisville KY 96 - - 126 - - 141 - -
Loyola University Chicago IL 259 - - 273 - - 258 - -
Loyola Marymount University CA 327 235 (71.9%) 0% 318 209 (65.7%) 13.4% 326 236 (72.4%) 20.8%
Loyola University New Orleans LA 172 - - 162 104 (64.2%) 9.6% 177 92 (52%) 17.4%
Louisiana State University LA 206 198 (96.1%) 0% 206 203 (98.5%) 25.6% 179 175 (97.8%) 30.3%
University of Maine ME 91 - - 81 - - 85 - -
Marquette University WI 197 - - 190 - - 186 - -
University of Maryland MD 216 - - 220 - - 207 - -
University of Memphis TN 132 51 (38.6%) 5.9% 130 37 (28.5%) 24.3% 107 26 (24.3%) 34.6%
Mercer University GA 134 - - 142 - - 122 - -
University of Miami FL 353 227 (64.3%) 0% 339 215 (63.4%) 4.7% 322 205 (63.7%) 3.9%
University of Michigan MI 318 - - 361 - - 320 - -
University of Minnesota MN 240 - - 223 - - 196 - -
University of Mississippi MS 157 - - 145 - - 113 - -
Mississippi College MS 126 71 (56.3%) 0% 123 - - 131 83 (63.4%) 26.5%
University of Missouri - Columbia MO 96 43 (44.8%) 0% 90 - - 92 42 (45.7%) 23.8%
University of Missouri - Kansas City MO 125 3 (2.4%) 0% 127 2 (1.6%) 0% 122 2 (1.6%) 50%
Mitchell Hamline School of Law MN 361 - - 381 - - 392 - -
University of Montana MT 88 60 (68.2%) 3.3% 79 45 (57%) 0% 72 43 (59.7%) 11.6%
Michigan State University MI 238 - - 208 - - 266 - -
North Carolina Central University NC 142 - - 103 - - 166 - -
University of Nebraska NE 146 - - 136 - - 132 - -
New England School of Law MA 351 161 (45.9%) 0% 185 135 (73%) 27.4% 185 122 (65.9%) 16.4%
University of New Mexico NM 82 34 (41.5%) 0% 106 66 (62.3%) 13.6% 123 60 (48.8%) 18.3%
New York Law School NY 385 344 (89.4%) 28.2% 381 288 (75.6%) 36.8% 377 320 (84.9%) 41.3%
University of New Hampshire NH 139 - - 91 - - 74 - -
Northern Illinois University IL 121 - - 90 - - 98 - -
Northern Kentucky University KY 129 57 (44.2%) 7% 143 56 (39.2%) 10.7% 148 55 (37.2%) 14.5%
University of North Dakota ND 84 - - 62 - - 71 - -
Northeastern University MA 208 - - 202 - - 208 - -
Northwestern University IL 243 - - 245 - - 228 - -
University of Notre Dame IN 214 - - 190 - - 198 - -
Nova Southeastern University FL 206 143 (69.4%) 23.1% 198 137 (69.2%) 19.7% 226 - -
New York University NY 427 - - 425 - - 427 - -
Oklahoma City University OK 170 5 (2.9%) 0% 162 5 (3.1%) 0% 163 5 (3.1%) 20%
University of Oklahoma OK 168 8 (4.8%) 0% 174 9 (5.2%) 0% 159 - -
Ohio Northern University OH 50 24 (48%) 0% 51 19 (37.3%) 63.2% 52 26 (50%) 23.1%
University of Oregon OR 153 123 (80.4%) 0% 126 126 (100%) 12.7% 144 144 (100%) 11.8%
Ohio State University OH 193 - - 187 - - 215 - -
Pace University NY 263 241 (91.6%) 0% 224 203 (90.6%) 51.7% 230 179 (77.8%) 42.5%
University of the Pacific CA 176 111 (63.1%) 42.3% 193 133 (68.9%) 36.8% 152 103 (67.8%) 44.7%
University of Pennsylvania PA 249 - - 251 - - 244 - -
Pepperdine University CA 191 131 (68.6%) 0% 159 110 (69.2%) 21.8% 157 102 (65%) 20.6%
University of Pittsburgh PA 120 69 (57.5%) 0% 130 85 (65.4%) 12.9% 141 76 (53.9%) 13.2%
Pennsylvania State University - Penn State Law PA 134 - - 127 - - 119 - -
University of Puerto Rico PR 138 - - 172 - - 181 - -
Quinnipiac University CT 144 95 (66%) 0% 113 73 (64.6%) 41.1% 125 89 (71.2%) 39.3%
Regent University VA 107 - - 97 - - 93 - -
University of Richmond VA 135 - - 143 - - 115 - -
Roger Williams University RI 169 98 (58%) 0% 168 112 (66.7%) 23.2% 161 99 (61.5%) 29.3%
Rutgers University NJ 404 344 (85.1%) 0% 409 286 (69.9%) 13.6% 347 304 (87.6%) 11.2%
Samford University AL 159 156 (98.1%) 0% 145 137 (94.5%) 13.9% 148 - -
University of San Diego CA 248 214 (86.3%) 17.3% 240 195 (81.3%) 16.9% 240 187 (77.9%) 31.6%
University of San Francisco CA 149 90 (60.4%) 32.2% 141 77 (54.6%) 40.3% 143 83 (58%) 30.1%
Santa Clara University CA 241 129 (53.5%) 0% 239 150 (62.8%) 39.3% 220 95 (43.2%) 33.7%
Seattle University WA 226 171 (75.7%) 0% 215 168 (78.1%) 29.2% 197 160 (81.2%) 32.5%
Seton Hall University NJ 213 153 (71.8%) 0% 246 172 (69.9%) 16.3% 197 125 (63.5%) 16.8%
Southern Illinois University IL 85 - - 76 - - 114 - -
St. Louis University MO 199 - - 176 - - 168 - -
Southern Methodist University TX 273 6 (2.2%) 0% 205 6 (2.9%) 0% 208 10 (4.8%) 10%
University of South Carolina SC 212 - - 214 - - 215 - -
University of South Dakota SD 84 1 (1.2%) 0% 71 - - 57 - -
Southern University Law Center LA 241 85 (35.3%) 20% 242 64 (26.4%) 15.6% 200 59 (29.5%) 22%
South Texas College of Law Houston TX 356 226 (63.5%) 0% 341 181 (53.1%) 46.4% 361 93 (25.8%) 40.9%
Southwestern Law School CA 341 176 (51.6%) 4% 277 122 (44%) 46.7% 278 106 (38.1%) 43.4%
Stanford University CA 180 - - 180 - - 180 - -
Stetson University FL 298 10 (3.4%) 0% 284 5 (1.8%) 0% 267 4 (1.5%) 0%
St. John's University NY 254 204 (80.3%) 13.7% 232 209 (90.1%) 31.1% 251 231 (92%) 31.2%
St. Mary's University TX 257 - - 238 188 (79%) 62.2% 291 268 (92.1%) 63.4%
University of St. Thomas - Minneapolis MN 157 - - 149 - - 146 - -
St. Thomas University - Florida FL 233 114 (48.9%) 35.1% 184 105 (57.1%) 43.8% 185 120 (64.9%) 50.8%
Suffolk University MA 368 - - 379 - - 340 - -
Syracuse University NY 266 - - 189 - - 197 - -
Temple University PA 238 192 (80.7%) 0% 226 184 (81.4%) 4.3% 223 146 (65.5%) 4.8%
University of Tennessee TN 126 - - 124 - - 123 - -
University of Texas TX 288 - - 377 - - 308 - -
Texas A&M TX 173 - - 182 - - 138 - -
Texas Southern University TX 180 8 (4.4%) 0% 217 19 (8.8%) 5.3% 256 32 (12.5%) 81.3%
Texas Tech University TX 147 36 (24.5%) 0% 150 96 (64%) 15.6% 139 114 (82%) 23.7%
Thomas Jefferson School of Law CA - - 59 - - 241 - -
University of Toledo OH 104 - - 96 - - 92 - -
Touro College NY 197 158 (80.2%) 10.1% 209 195 (93.3%) 53.3% 177 134 (75.7%) 59%
Tulane University LA 212 172 (81.1%) 0% 211 183 (86.7%) 26.2% 208 173 (83.2%) 20.2%
University of Tulsa OK 118 - - 100 - - 94 - -
University of California - Los Angeles CA 307 - - 311 - - 294 - -
University of Connecticut CT 164 - - 138 - - 145 - -
University of The District of Columbia DC 79 35 (44.3%) 8.6% 64 41 (64.1%) 17.1% 93 61 (65.6%) 26.2%
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth MA 112 - - 95 - - 80 - -
University of North Carolina NC 186 - - 209 - - 213 - -
University of Nevada - Las Vegas NV 130 - - 157 - - 105 - -
University of North Texas Dallas College of Law TX 132 - - 136 - - 104 - -
University of Southern California CA 203 - - 199 - - 187 - -
University of Utah UT 104 1 (1%) 0% 99 36 (36.4%) 19.4% 91 23 (25.3%) 4.3%
University of Virginia VA 335 - - 320 - - 319 - -
Valparaiso University IN - - - - 28 - -
Vanderbilt University TN 174 - - 180 - - 168 - -
Vermont Law School VT 151 - - 194 - - 161 - -
Villanova University PA 184 - - 183 - - 175 - -
Wake Forest University NC 217 - - 179 - - 157 - -
Washburn University KS 97 41 (42.3%) 0% 113 53 (46.9%) 34% 114 68 (59.6%) 26.5%
University of Washington WA 164 - - 174 - - 166 - -
Washington University in St Louis MO 229 - - 243 - - 225 - -
Wayne State University MI 125 - - 128 100 (78.1%) 0% 147 109 (74.1%) 0%
Western New England University School of Law MA 110 - - 88 - - 93 - -
Western State University CA 23 - - 162 - - 164 - -
Widener University - Delaware DE 237 - - 212 - - 206 - -
Widener University - Pennsylvania PA 111 - - 117 - - 128 - -
Willamette University OR 126 111 (88.1%) 46.8% 129 115 (89.1%) 43.5% 110 93 (84.5%) 52.7%
University of Wisconsin WI 223 2 (0.9%) 0% 275 - - 151 - -
Washington and Lee University VA 124 - - 130 - - 164 - -
William and Mary VA 240 - - 193 - - 186 - -
West Virginia University WV 115 3 (2.6%) 0% 111 - - 109 - -
University of Wyoming WY 73 68 (93.2%) 1.5% 85 147 (172.9%) 7.5% 72 186 (258.3%) 7%
Yale University CT 212 - - 204 - - 205 - -

About the Data

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