Law School Discussion

Family to support but considering law school

Family to support but considering law school
« on: June 20, 2009, 02:27:45 PM »
I am just looking for some advice. I will be finishing my undergrad degree this Spring and have been considering applying to law school. It has always been my "long-term" plan but rather than waiting I would like to apply right away.

My concerns are paying for law school, supporting my kids while in law school and then re-paying my loans when I graduate. I will have about $50,000 in undergrad loans when I graduate. My husband in just starting college right now (age 32) and we don't have substantial savings. To be completely honest, we are really struggling to get by on our modest income right now. We have a toddler and an infant.

I know that each school has their own way of calculating your estimated cost of living as a student and that is the maximum amount of financial aid you can receive. The school I am considering attending only allows for about $12,000/year for living, transportation, etc. Well I have a (small) house and two kids to support so $1,000/month isn't going to cut it. I plan to meet with an advisor at the school to see if this amount cna be adjusted based on individual situations, but is that very likely?

And if they did adjust and and allow me to take out more in student loans - well then that is that much more I'd have to pay back, which also concerns me. Tuition at this school is about $11,000/year.

I guess I am feeling torn. I really want to further my career and do well for my family, but I also need to be able to support them while I am a student and I need to be sure that I am not racking up so much debt that we will struggle for many years after I graduate.

I am hoping to get some good info from an advisor but I'd also love some other honest opinions on whether I am just setting my family up for financial failure by considering attending law school.


Re: Family to support but considering law school
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2009, 11:48:26 AM »
The short answer is that YES - the school will reconsider you for an adjusted cost of living based on your family size. If your spouse is employed full-time and/or a full-time student, then you can also receive additional certification for childcare, etc... but consider all of the loans that you're taking on.

What level of school is this? $11K/year for tuition isn't bad, but if you tack on another $30K/year in living expenses, you're at a T14 debt level without necessarily the same job prospects.

Re: Family to support but considering law school
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2009, 12:42:34 PM »
Thank you for your reply. I believe it is a T3 school.

I guess I would need to crunch some numbers. I prefer the idea of going full time but if it would be better for us financially in the long run for me to go part time I could always do that. I know you are allowed to work 20 hours a week as a part time student so I guess I'd have to add up the cost of tuition FT/PT, financial aid I could receive FT/PT and how much money I could make working.

Thanks again. It is good to know that they will adjust the cost of living based on family size. Hopefully once I speak with an advisor I will have a better idea of exactly what my options are.

Re: Family to support but considering law school
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2009, 06:37:10 PM »
Oops - my mistake - the tuition is actually $19,000 for L1, $18,000 for L2 and $17,000 for L3.

Re: Family to support but considering law school
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2009, 07:09:35 PM »
Those updated tuition numbers should make you think a little more about this. The legal industry is in a lot of flux right now and there is a vast oversupply with the demand of lawyers out there. There are enough threads out there debating this so I won't start another, but really consider your debt load and what you expect to be doing when law school is over. If going PT is an option, then consider that. If you can work on your application and get in to a better school, then possibly do that. If I were you and had a family, I wouldn't be in a rush to go to school this fall. I'd wait a year and see what happens. Are salaries going to contract, etc... think about it a lot.

Re: Family to support but considering law school
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2009, 08:37:49 PM »
Well..... I guess that's what I am trying to do. I want to weigh out the options and figure out exactly what kind of debt I will be looking at and whether it will be worth it.

My reason for applying to this particular school would not be because I don't think I could get into a better one. I have put a lot of thought into this and relocating is not an option. Like I said, we have two small children and I am just not willing to uproot them. All of our family is here and having them available to my children is #1. There is 1 other school I could attend without having to relocate. It is in the top 100, but the tuition is double. I guess that's where I don't know how to crunch the numbers. Would paying double tuition really be worth it in the end?

As for being in a rush to apply his fall - I have hardly done any rushing as long as I have been a student. I am going to be getting my bachelor's degree after 10 years of undergrad. I have worked for 3 years in the field that my degree will be in. I have attended school FT, PT and taken a semester or two off when I had my kids. This past month I was laid off from my job and being unemployed is an entirely new experience for me. I need to decide which direction I want to go and I feel like this is my "big chance" to throw myself into my education 100%. That's a big deal for me. Even while attending college FT I always worked FT and sometimes worked a PT job as well.

Sorry to go off on a tangent here but this is the stuff I have been thinking about 24/7. I'm a good student and a hard worker and I have no doubt in my mind that I can be a successful law student and have a successful law career. I am not out for a 6-figure salary or anything like that, but I can't ignore the fact that if I am racking up over $100,000 in debt for my education that it needs to be an education that is going to pay off.

One thing I haven't even considered is scholarships. I have a pretty high GPA (3.78). I am confident that I will have a respectable LSAT score. (although who isn't?) I guess the best I can do is apply and pray for scholarships with a back-up plan ready to go.

Thanks again for your input. I will definitely continue to take all of these points into consideration.

Re: Family to support but considering law school
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2009, 09:12:37 PM »
You're alreay in debt, if the loans will take you then do it, if not then dont. Let the bank do the decision for you.