09 Aug Tuition Comparisons
Making the decision to attend law school can be a long and confusing road. One thing that we all look at and which is always a make or break is the cost of tuition.
Of course we all take into account other issues like semester times, application requirements, professors, but in the end if we find two schools that we like comparably, the decisive tipping point is often tuition.
The California Bar
According to the California Bar there are 8 registered unaccredited correspondence law schools, 5 registered unaccredited distance learning law schools in California, 9 registered unaccredited fixed facility law schools in California, 17 law schools accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners, and 21 ABA approved schools. This means there are 43 possible online schools to choose from; this is quite a number! We will focus on the online distance learning law schools.
But, before we delve into the tuition costs lets look at the difference in accreditation and what that means. We all know that the ABA Accredited schools means that once you graduate you can sit for the bar; self explanatory.
- A “California accredited law school” is a law school that has complied with the Rules on Accreditation of Law Schools and has been accredited by the Committee.
- An “unaccredited law school” is a correspondence, distance-learning, or fixed facility law school operating in California that is not accredited by the Committee.
- A “correspondence law school” is a law school that conducts instruction principally by correspondence. A correspondence law school must require at least 864 hours of preparation and study per year for four years.
- A “distance-learning law school” is a law school that conducts instruction and provides interactive classes principally by technological means. A distance-learning law school must require at least 864 hours of
preparation and study per year for four years.
- A “fixed-facility law school” is a law school that conducts its instruction principally in physical classroom facilities. A fixed-facility law school must require classroom attendance of its students for a minimum of 270 hours a year for four years.
- “Students enrolled in the J.D. degree program at this law school who successfully complete the first year of law study must pass the First-Year Law Students’ Examination required by Business and Professions Code § 6060(h) and Rule VIII of the Rules Regulating Admission to Practice Law in California as part of the requirements to qualify to take the California Bar Examination. A student who passes the First-Year Law Students’ Examination within three (3) administrations of the examination after first becoming eligible to take it will receive credit for all legal studies completed to the time the examination is passed. A student who does not pass the examination within three (3) administrations of the examination after first becoming eligible to take it must be promptly disqualified from the law school’s J.D. degree program. If the dismissed student subsequently passes the examination, the student is eligible for re-enrollment in this law school’s J.D. degree program, but will receive credit for only one year of legal study.”
Basically, the long and the short of it boils down to this; If your not attending an ABA accredited school be prepared to take the First Year Law Students Exam (FYLSE), know that your State may not accept your bar passage in California (look up your own states rules), and that proposed changes could change all of this.
Registered Unaccredited Correspondence Law Schools
- American International School of Law – $2,900 for the first year then $2,000 for the rest
- Northwestern California University School of Law – $2,850 per year
- American Institute of Law – $4,250 per year
- Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy – $5,281 per year
- California Southern University School of Law – $33,000 for entire program
- Taft Law School – $7,920 for the first year
- Central California University School of Law – $4,410 for the first year
- San Francisco International University College of Law – $6,000 per semester (they aren’t very clear on the costs but they clearly state they do not take Federal student loans.)
Registered Unaccredited Distance Learning Law Schools
- Abraham Lincoln University School of Law – $9,100 per year
- Concord Law School at Kaplan University – $12,456 per year
- American Heritage University – $4,250 per year
- St. Francis School of Law – $10,000 for the first year
- California School of Law – $9,000 for the first year
These price comparisons place Northwestern California University School of Law and American International School of Law in our top two positions for tuition prices in the Registered Unaccredited Correspondence Law School category. In the Registered Unaccredited Distance Learning Law Schools American Heritage University is almost $5,000 dollars cheaper per year than California School of Law coming in at number two.
Keep in mind, these are just tuition comparisons. Not all online law schools are made the same and there are stark differences between all of these schools. If you are currently looking into an online law school this is just one factor to consider. Check out our article on personal stories for a more detailed comparison of online law schools.