2019-2020 Academic Year

The Office of Financial aid is required to develop a cost of attendance ("budget") each year for students who file for federal financial aid. The budget is an estimate of allowable expenses (tuition, fees, books & supplies, transportation and living allowance) for the approximate nine month academic year that students are enrolled (excluding summer). Figures within the budget are based on the average amount needed to meet direct charges such as tuition and indirect charges such as living expenses. In addition, the Student Budget represents the maximum amount of financial assistance that a student may be awarded for the academic year (the total of grants, scholarships, and loans). To repeat, students may not be awarded financial aid above the cost of attendance as determined by the school.

The budget is based upon projected costs for the 2019-2020 academic year. Allowances are provided to assist in meeting educational costs and are not intended to cover individual expenses which vary greatly depending upon personal lifestyle. Students receiving a scholarship or other awards must subtract such awards from the budget in determining their maximum borrowing limit, i.e. loan eligibility.

Tuition is charged at a flat rate for students enrolled for 10-17 law credits, and on a per credit rate basis for students under 10 credits, and is the same for in-state, out-of-state and international students. Residency does not affect tuition rates at the law school, but it may have an impact on tuition rates for dual-degree students.

Law students who have higher-than normal expenses (e.g., day care) may request that the Student Budget be increased to accommodate these expenses. Due to federal loan guidelines, only certain expenses can be used to have the budget increased. Refer to Appealing the Student Budget Limit section for details.

Appealing the Student Budget Limit for Additional Expenses

The budget represents the maximum amount of money that an independent student, living a modest lifestyle, should need during his/her enrollment as a full-time student. The cost of attendance is intended to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, supplies and a living allowance for the time the student is enrolled (August to May).

In some cases a student may have the budget increased to accommodate special expenses. Increases to the budget are considered on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes one student’s request is approved while another’s is denied. To request an increase, a student must file a Cost of Attendance Increase form (PDF). If an appeal is successful, the student's budget will be increased and the student then may request or apply for additional loan assistance.

To repeat, obtaining more funds is a two-step process that involves submitting an appeal to have the "ceiling" raised and then applying for additional loan assistance.

Permissible and Impermissible Reasons

The following are examples of permissible and impermissible reasons for requesting an increase.

Permissible Reasons for a Budget Increase

  • Unusual medical/dental expenses (including insurance premiums) for the student incurred during the school year;
  • Daycare/childcare expenses;
  • The purchase of a computer for use in law-school studies

Impermissible Reasons for a Budget Increase

  • Consumer debt or debt relating to financing an automobile;
  • Expenses relating to supporting a spouse/child (other than daycare);
  • Purchase of home furnishings or automobile payments;
  • Moving expenses

Appeals Process

Appeals to increase the Student Budget must be supported by documentation, such as an itemized receipt for a computer.

Appeal forms may be printed using the above link or from the Office of Financial Aid, 316 Law College Building, or by emailing ofalaw@msu.edu. Forms should be returned to the same office.

Students may mail completed forms to:

Michigan State University College of Law
Office of Financial Aid
Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane, Room 316
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

Be sure to include supporting documents (e.g., receipt[s], invoice), if instructed to do so. The Office of Financial Aid typically evaluates appeals within 7-10 business days of their submission.

NOTE: Since appeals to the Student Budget result in increased borrowing limits, it is most important that law students who file an appeal are aware of their overall indebtedness and the impact of repayment.

The MSU College of Law encourages students to minimize reliance on loans and to consider the consequences of borrowing by projecting the percentage of expected monthly income that will be devoted to loan repayments. Students should always maintain accurate records of loans received and have a full sense of their current total educational debt. Generally speaking, loan repayments should not exceed 10-15% of net income.

Law students who rely on loans are strongly encouraged to calculate the monthly repayment of loans, given the amount borrowed, the interest rate, and the period of repayment.

Cost of Attendance 2019-2020 (Fall and Spring only)

Standard Budget - JD
Tuition $45600.00
Fees $38.00
Average Stafford Fees $218.00
Books $1718.00
Room and Board $13438.00
Transp/Pers/Misc $3826.00
Medical N/A**
TOTAL $64838.00

1L students should add $200 for the RWA Lab fee (total budget would be $65038).

3L students should add $625 for an average bar exam fee (total budget would be $65464 [rounded]).

** The cost of health insurance is not included in the budget as many students can still be covered through their parents' insurance. If you will be using the MSU student health insurance plan, or have coverage of another kind, then please contact the financial aid office at ofalaw@msu.edu or 517-432-6810. We can include ONLY the MSU plan cost in the COA. For more information about the Student Health Insurance Plan from MSU please visit http://www.hr.msu.edu/benefits/studenthealth/