High-Ranking Law Schools in America's Cheapest Cities

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on July 27, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Do you pride yourself in finding the best deals or stretching your dollar out to its limits? Then you might want to take a look at this list showing some of America's "cheapest" cities by living expenses that featured law schools as highly ranked as the University of Texas. It's a list that will surely give you "bang for the buck" types something to think about.

We'll cover some other interesting aspects of the lists here.

Cheap Cities Primary Concern, Rank Secondary

It's pretty much self-explanatory list, as the ABA Journal reports: the cheapest cities are paired with the best-ranking law schools in those cities. Here's what topped the list if your first concern is living in a cheap city:

  1. Knoxville: The city ranked second in affordability and the Tennessee College of Law ranked no. 65 by the eponymous U.S.N.W.R.
  2. Oklahoma City: Fourth in city affordability. But Oklahoma City University School of Law ranked 144th on this list. With a tuition cost of $34,903, this is a little bit of a tough sell all else being equal, as this is the only sub-100 ranking school on the full list. Maybe the state's recent dumbing-down of the bar exam and the school's rank are related.
  3. St. Louis: The city ranked seventh in terms of affordability, and Washington University ranks at an impressive no. 18 in law school rankings. By our standards, this is a very good bang for buck balance between affordability and esteem.

Rank Primary, City Cheapness Secondary

Here's a different view, where law school rank is your primary concern, next to city cheapness:

  1. Austin: Austin isn't exactly cheap (coming in at 19th overall in city affordability), but the city does feature UT School of Law, one of the most respected law schools in this nation. That school recently fell out of the coveted T14, but that could just as easily be a rounding error.
  2. St. Louis: What do you know, this city again? It turns out that Washington U's Law School is a good deal for those shopping for value. Annual tuition is $51,626, placing it at no. 7 in school affordability.
  3. Knoxville: Again, another repeat. University of Tennessee College of Law ranks at a respectable no. 65 with a tuition of $37,903.

Grand Takeaways

It really looks like St. Louis and Knoxville are the clear winners with regards to the overall balance between city affordability and rank, owing to the fact that those names appeared twice for the top three. This means that you could attend the 18th "best" law school in America while also saving some dough along the way. But if you want to spend a little more (and work a little harder LSAT-wise), you can shoot for UT Law.

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