Cost of Living actually on target?

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tommytahoe
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Cost of Living actually on target?

Postby tommytahoe » Sun May 02, 2010 1:48 pm

Had a hard time deciding in which message board this belonged...

Although most of us here have yet to begin law school, does anyone have an idea just how realistic are the assessments of COL at various law schools?
Several NYC schools are listed (on their websites and on TLS profiles) as being like $20,000 a year, which sounds absurdly low. A frugal liver would expect to pay $25,000, I'm guessing (to say nothing of the fact that everything —food, taxis, etc— is expensive in the apple.

W&M apparently has a COL of $14,000/year. That too seems ambitious.
Any insights, folks? Multiplied by three years, miscalculations can be a $15,000 - $20,000 difference in debt.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Cost of Living actually on target?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun May 02, 2010 2:01 pm

Well, it really depends on your lifestyle.

The CLS cost of living ($20,000) is very, very doable. It requires living frugally, but nothing crazy. Rent may run you $10,000, and if you can't limit yourself to $1,000/month in spending money, well, it not the city's problem. Some ideas: 1) cook instead eating every meal out, 2) don't take cabs unless it's really late at night, 3) you'll be studying enough that you won't really have time to spend money.

I eat out two or three nights a week, drink probably that many (excluding finals of course) and take the occassional cab and I'm well within CLS' limits.

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DerrickRose
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Re: Cost of Living actually on target?

Postby DerrickRose » Sun May 02, 2010 2:03 pm

Well you churn your own butter in Williamsburg, so that saves a bunch of money.

But seriously, I know that Illinois way overestimates their COL, the reason they give is that they want to make sure they can give people as much loan money as they need. You can always take less, its not like they force you to take the full amount.

Other schools, I don't know.

There are current law students on this board from almost every T1 school. Ask them.

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BriaTharen
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Re: Cost of Living actually on target?

Postby BriaTharen » Sun May 02, 2010 2:06 pm

It really depends on you and how you are planning on living. The schools do their best to predict the average COL, but there are always going to be people that live cheaper than that as well as those that the COL defined by the school is not enough. Best thing to do, IMO, is to look at your spending habits now as a guide.

fwaam
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Re: Cost of Living actually on target?

Postby fwaam » Sun May 02, 2010 2:08 pm

tommytahoe wrote:Had a hard time deciding in which message board this belonged...

Although most of us here have yet to begin law school, does anyone have an idea just how realistic are the assessments of COL at various law schools?
Several NYC schools are listed (on their websites and on TLS profiles) as being like $20,000 a year, which sounds absurdly low. A frugal liver would expect to pay $25,000, I'm guessing (to say nothing of the fact that everything —food, taxis, etc— is expensive in the apple.

W&M apparently has a COL of $14,000/year. That too seems ambitious.
Any insights, folks? Multiplied by three years, miscalculations can be a $15,000 - $20,000 difference in debt.


Those figures seem low to you? Um....

Look, your #1 biggest expense will be rent. Go on craigslist, look at the area where you'd expect to live, the number of roommates you expect to have, and figure out what you'd be paying per month. If you're planning to live by yourself in NYC, then yeah, $20,000/year is probably low. If you have three or four roommates, you'd really have to be throwing money around (and not studying) to spend much over that IMO.

It also wouldn't hurt to ask the admissions office to put you in touch with current students, and ask them how much they spend. Ask where they live and whatever lifestyle questions you see as relevant.

Keep in mind that the schools' figures are meant to be on the high end, because that's the maximum you can take out in debt. It's not an average.

Also keep in mind that you're a student. If you're living in a big city, you may have to take roommates, or not have a car. You may have to live a little further out of town. Don't plan to eat out a lot. Take public transportation rather than taxis, or at least share taxis. Don't go out four times a week. You're in law school. Learn to budget, and remember that studying should be your top priority.

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BriaTharen
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Re: Cost of Living actually on target?

Postby BriaTharen » Sun May 02, 2010 2:10 pm

tommytahoe wrote:Any insights, folks? Multiplied by three years, miscalculations can be a $15,000 - $20,000 difference in debt.


Forgot to mention this- you borrow money on a yearly basis. If you find after the first year that you do not need as much money, borrow less for the second year.

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tommytahoe
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Re: Cost of Living actually on target?

Postby tommytahoe » Sun May 02, 2010 2:30 pm

There appears to be a disconnect between our assessments of what I'm spending money on, or on how much it costs. I in fact don't eat out much at all (except 3 or 4 $7 sandwiches a week, plus a few lattes). There's $30 on wine, $150/week on rent (incl. all utilities), about $20 a week on Tivo/cell phone, plus $100 on groceries. No car, or insurance, just my road bike, and eating at an actual restaurant like once every couple weeks. i don't go to bars much at all.
That usually puts me at b/w $350 and $375 a week, x 52 = b/w $18,000 and $19,000 a year, and that's here in Davis.

Aaahhh, I just tracked down the disconnect. I'm doing a calclulation of a full year's worth of expenses, while I realize now that law schools go by the school year alone. In effect, I have been multiplying my COL by 1.33 or so! I see now that one expects to work ovr the summer to make COL issue over the summer a moot point for the most part.




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