Top 100 Best Affordable Legal Studies Schools

Get Matched With Legal Studies Programs

Are you considering earning a degree in legal studies? This may be a good choice if you are interested in pursuing a career in either law or business. While many professions in this field require additional education and/or training, graduating from an accredited academic program is generally a good start./p>

Degrees of this type offer significant flexibility. Students learn to hone various theoretical, technical, and problem-solving skills, attributes that are valuable in nearly any workplace. As a result, there are numerous career paths available in law, criminal justice, business, and homeland security after graduation.

It’s important for prospective students to note that many of the most prominent positions require additional education. Common continuing education pathways include earning a master’s degree in criminal justice, business law, business administration, or homeland security. There are also graduate certificates available for students interested in pursuing careers as paralegals.

While job specifics will vary depending on the career chosen, legal studies professionals often assist in the legal process. Responsibilities tend to revolve around analytical thinking, conflict resolution, active listening, communication, and research. Other helpful skills include being well organized and capable of making decisions under pressure. Professionals in this field must also be able to read and write for extended periods of time.

Most careers related to legal studies require some level of higher education, which can be expensive. Employers generally expect candidates to have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in legal studies is generally needed for masters of business administration (MBA) programs or law school.

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Top 100 Affordable Legal Studies College Rankings

Reviewing affordable legal studies school rankings can provide the insight you need to make the best choice for your academic and professional future. The results can help you identify options with the most value, as well which programs will be regarded well by prospective employers. We focus our data collection solely on colleges and universities that specialize in affordable legal studies programs.

We understand the importance of finding the best program to meet your unique needs. As such, our number one goal is to identify and organize the most relevant data points into a simple, easy-to-understand, and useful format. Our team places significant focus on the most pertinent information so that prospective students can make the best academic and professional decisions possible. While we consider a range of data types to generate our rankings, some of the most prominent ones include the institution’s graduation rate, cost of tuition, and number of students receiving financial aid.

Graduation rates show the percentage of students who graduate within an expected timeframe. At most colleges and universities, students are expected to graduate within four years. This number is significant, as it indicates how long it will take to complete the degree and because the country is slowly shifting toward a six-year model, which can cost students more in the long run.

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The cost of tuition should never be the sole deciding factor when selecting a legal studies program, but it’s an important variable you should be aware of. This number can be used to determine which colleges and universities are within your price-range, as well as which provide the best value for the amount paid.

Knowing the number of students receiving financial aid is also helpful. This statistic shows whether or not the institution has a healthy aid program, in addition to assessing overall affordability.


CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,470
    • Out-of-state: $15,420
  • Net Price: $4,221
  • Retention Rate: 80%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,880
  • Undergrad Students: 13,746
  • Graduate Students: 2,134
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 1,693
  • CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justicez

The University of West Florida

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,360
    • Out-of-state: $19,241
  • Net Price: $8,452
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Total Enrollment: 12,557
  • Undergrad Students: 9,521
  • Graduate Students: 3,036
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 90
  • The University of West Florida

Peirce College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $15,060
    • Out-of-state: $15,060
  • Net Price: $8,993
  • Retention Rate: 50%
  • Total Enrollment: 1,178
  • Undergrad Students: 1,089
  • Graduate Students: 89
  • Graduation Rate: 42%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 22
  • Peirce College

Northern Kentucky University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $10,296
    • Out-of-state: $20,256
  • Net Price: $9,664
  • Retention Rate: 72%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,664
  • Undergrad Students: 11,868
  • Graduate Students: 3,796
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 52
  • orthern Kentucky University

East Central University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,052
    • Out-of-state: $16,412
  • Net Price: $9,776
  • Retention Rate: 64%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,613
  • Undergrad Students: 2,981
  • Graduate Students: 632
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 18
  • East Central University

Northeastern State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,915
    • Out-of-state: $15,315
  • Net Price: $9,790
  • Retention Rate: 60%
  • Total Enrollment: 7,517
  • Undergrad Students: 6,289
  • Graduate Students: 1,228
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 121
  • Northeastern State University

Florida Gulf Coast University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,118
    • Out-of-state: $25,162
  • Net Price: $10,151
  • Retention Rate: 80%
  • Total Enrollment: 14,977
  • Undergrad Students: 13,722
  • Graduate Students: 1,255
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 148
  • Florida Gulf Coast University

Humphreys University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $14,580
    • Out-of-state: $14,580
  • Net Price: $10,240
  • Retention Rate: 100%
  • Total Enrollment: 486
  • Undergrad Students: 309
  • Graduate Students: 177
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 10
  • Humphreys University-Stockton and Modestoes

University of Central Florida

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,368
    • Out-of-state: $22,467
  • Net Price: $11,108
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Total Enrollment: 69,402
  • Undergrad Students: 59,371
  • Graduate Students: 10,031
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 695
  • University of Central Florida

University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,622
    • Out-of-state: $25,228
  • Net Price: $11,283
  • Retention Rate: 66%
  • Total Enrollment: 12,766
  • Undergrad Students: 12,103
  • Graduate Students: 663
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 33
  • University of Alaska Anchorage
Full Ranking Report

Why a Degree from an Affordable Legal Studies Program or Law School?

For many, finding an affordable academic program will be a top priority. Paying to attend classes at a college or university can be expensive, especially over an extended period of time. One way to decrease potential expenses is to apply for financial aid, such as scholarships and grants. Unfortunately, these types of assistance rarely account for all of the costs associated with earning a degree. As a result, many students also take out loans to fulfill education-related financial obligations. While money provided via loans must be paid back over time, this is not the case for scholarships and grants.

In addition to applying for financial aid, it may be wise or necessary to find an affordable legal studies program, such as by starting with an associate degree. This is a particularly helpful tactic for students who demonstrate greater financial need. Regardless of your academic goals, opting for a less expensive program is often optimal when compared with opting for a better-known program.

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Many students choose legal studies degrees because they allow for significant professional flexibility.

There are a variety of different career paths available to graduates, including:

  • Criminal Law
  • Cyber Security
  • Financial Regulatory Compliance
  • Healthcare Compliance
  • Higher Education Law
  • Business Administration
  • Homeland Security

Most colleges and universities allow bachelor’s and master’s degree students in this field to select a concentration or specialty. Doing this allows students to take classes that align with their interests. Some of the most common tracks include business law, pre-law, criminal justice, and paralegal studies.

While there are some associate programs in law-related subjects, most legal studies degrees are at the bachelor’s or master’s levels. The most readily available law positions for associate degree graduates are paralegal and legal assistant. Achieving higher levels of education is generally recommended, as this will make you more competitive in the job market. It’s important to determine your ultimate career goals, however, as this will make it easier to identify which degree type will be necessary.

Choosing an Affordable Legal Studies Program or Law College

When choosing an affordable legal studies program, there are several factors you should consider. Every college and university is different. Comparing and contrasting a number of factors will yield the best results. Some of the most significant differences you’re likely to find include cost, location, accreditation, instructional methods, and graduation requirements.

  • Cost
    As mentioned above, earning a degree of any kind can be expensive. The cost does, however, tend to vary quite significantly. This is especially true when considering public versus private schools. Ideally, you should spend some time assessing your personal financial situation before committing to a single institution. Factors that may impact your decision include the financial aid options available, possible living accommodations, and approximately how long it will take to reach your academic goals.
  • Location
    There are legal studies programs available all over the world. The one you choose is significant because location can impact cost of attendance, as well as the employment opportunities available after graduation. Many colleges and universities charge out-of-state students significantly more to enroll. Additionally, some states give preference to graduates from schools in their regions. In other cases, states may not acknowledge degrees or graduate certificates awarded by entities outside the area for licensure purposes.
  • Accreditation
    It is absolutely imperative to verify the accreditation status of a college and university prior to enrolling. Academic institutions can choose between regional and national accreditation. In the United States, accrediting agencies are overseen by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Individual programs can also choose to obtain field-specific or programmatic accreditation. Attending a school that lacks proper accreditation can make finding employment difficult or impossible. Additionally, they tend to offer less financial aid and make transferring credits more difficult.
  • Instruction Methods
    It’s also important to keep your learning preferences in mind. Legal studies programs consist of broad curriculums that are optimal for instruction in traditional classroom settings as well as online. Many colleges and universities now offer distance learning as an option, either for the entire degree or a portion of it. You will have to determine which option will suit your learning style, academic aspirations, and budget best. Keep in mind that success in online programs tends to require significant self-motivation.
  • Graduation Requirements
    While legal studies requirements for graduation are often similar, no two institutions are exactly the same. Make sure you review college and program expectations carefully before enrolling. In most cases, you can view complete curriculums and course listings online before applying. Becoming familiar with this information helps ensure the program aligns with your ultimate education and career goals.

Online Options

Not every field is well-suited to distance learning. Fortunately, the broad and flexible nature of legal studies is conducive to the online setting. As a result, there are numerous colleges and universities that offer remote degrees for those interested in the field. Regardless of the higher education level you aspire to, it is possible to find accredited programs throughout the nation.

Online legal studies programs offer excellent flexibility for students with personal and professional obligations that limit their abilities to attend classes in person. They are particularly ideal for returning students with previous college credit, individuals with families, as well as mid-career professionals interested in transitioning into the field. Some institutions also offer accelerated programs that allow graduates to enter the workforce early. While a traditional bachelor’s degree typically requires four years of on-campus instruction, accelerated online programs can take as little as two years to complete. Faster graduation timeframes and scheduling flexibility make this type of degree an optimal solution.

While convenient for many people, online programs sometimes lack the resources of a traditional, on-campus school. To ensure you have the best possible opportunities, verify what academic resources and career services the college or university has to offer students and recent graduates.

Ideally, the institution will have some sort of post graduate job placement assistance programs comprised of the following assistive tools:

  • Interview Preparation
  • Resume Development
  • Career Coaching Services
  • Internship Opportunities
  • Job Fairs

Career development departments are common on college and university campuses, but not all of them are equipped to provide benefits virtually. If you plan to enroll in a distance learning program, confirm which, if any, resources will be available online ahead of time.

Ultimately, enrolling in an online legal studies program is a completely viable means of earning a degree. Assuming the schools are properly accredited, graduates should have little difficulty finding employment.

Are Legal Studies Programs in High Demand?

Overall, the outlook for legal studies professionals working in the United States is promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of legal occupations is projected to grow by 5% from 2019 to 2029. This is faster than the national average for all other professions and will result in the addition of about 67,600 new jobs nationwide. The primary explanation for the anticipated job growth is an increased demand for paralegals and legal assistants by law firms.

It’s also worth noting that more and more individuals, businesses, and governments are requiring legal services. This means that demand for qualified lawyers capable of assisting with a wide variety of issues will continue to rise. As a result of this projected growth, many colleges and universities offer credible programs in legal studies. Whether you want to study on campus or online, you should have little trouble finding a program that meets your needs.

Legal studies degrees also provide a good starting-point for those interested in starting a law-related career. The broad nature of the curriculum makes it easy for students to gain a basic understanding of various facets of the field. Graduates can then use the skills and knowledge they acquired to find employment or use their degrees to pursue further education.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Legal Studies?

What you can do with a degree in legal studies will greatly depend upon the occupation you plan to pursue, as well as the level of education you achieve. Because options are varied, there are a number of potential careers to choose from within this field.

Legal studies graduates will have the ability to work in both the public and private sectors. From offering legal aid to serving as a correctional officer, there are numerous career pathways available to individuals with this degree. Law professionals can also find employment in a variety of different industries including legal services, local government, grant-making, lessors of non-financial intangible assets, and the federal executive branch. Graduates can choose to find employment that focuses on local issues or federal matters.

The most obvious career pathway after earning a bachelor’s degree in legal studies is to become a paralegal, legal assistant, claims adjuster, mediator, or arbitrator. Four-year programs are generally designed to provide students with an introduction to various advanced topics in the field. This degree is not enough, however, to qualify graduates to practice law. In fact, even master’s degrees in legal studies are insufficient to meet this goal.

While a master’s in legal studies will provide the knowledge and skills necessary to become a contract compliance officer or social service manager, those who intend to become lawyers, judges, and hearing officers must first earn a degree from a law school and pass the bar exam. Lawyers can have undergraduate degrees in many different fields. Common options include legal studies, history, business, and political science.

Other career options include conciliator, court reporter, simultaneous captioner, etc. Regardless of the job selected, professionals in this field tend to gain a number of easily transferrable skills, making them highly marketable in the job market.

Some of the most in-demand skills include:

  • Communication
  • Experience with Computers
  • Organization
  • Research
  • Problem-Solving
  • Attention to Detail

Legal Studies Graduates Earn More After College

Overall, the earning potential for professionals with legal studies degrees is above average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for legal occupations was $84,900 in 2020, which is significantly higher than the median annual wage of $41,950 as reported for all occupations. Even paralegals and legal assistants, who tend to make less that many professions in the field, earned a median annual wage of $52,900. Lawyers, who are on the higher end of the scale, made an annual wage of $126,900 in 2020.

According to PayScale, the average salary for entry-level paralegals and legal assistants with a single year of experience is around $41,000. This figure is only just below the median annual wage and will to rise in subsequent years. After 20 or more years of working in this position, the average salary becomes $59,000.

Salary is also often dependent upon location. Some states pay legal occupations more than others. Prospects for legal studies professionals are best in California, New York, and the District of Columbia. Conversely, the states of Mississippi, Arizona, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, and Wyoming have some of the lowest salaries in the industry.

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While bachelor’s and master’s degrees in legal studies can result in well-paying employment opportunities, professionals who attend law school will have the best financial prospects. Becoming a lawyer may take as long as seven years, however, so it’s important to factor in the cost of education when considering your ultimate career goals.


  • What are the admission requirements for legal studies students?

    While every college and university is different, admissions requirements for incoming freshman are relatively standardized across the board. Still, you should always review prerequisites carefully prior to submitting applications.

    In most cases, you can expect to provide some variation of the following:

    • Official High School Transcripts or College Transcripts
    • Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)
    • Application and Fees
    • Letters of Recommendation
    • Personal Statement or Supplemental Essay
    • Academic Work Samples
    • Scores from College Entrance Exams (SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT etc.)
  • How long will it take to complete a law degree?

    The length of time needed to complete a legal studies degree will depend on the type of degree you have enrolled in. Upper-level degrees may take longer to finish, but graduates often enjoy higher salaries, more job security, and increased promotion opportunities.

    Associate degrees in legal studies are available and consist of approximately 60 credit hours. In most cases, a course load like this takes full-time students about two years to complete.

    Many legal professionals start their academic careers with a bachelor’s degree, however. These programs typically consist of 120 credit hours and require approximately four years for full-time students to complete.

    Master’s degree programs are also available, consisting of approximately 60 credit hours. These typically take full-time students two years to complete, although some may require more or less time.

    Individuals interested in pursuing careers at lawyers or judges will need to enroll in law school. Most of these programs require about three years to complete. This is in addition to the four years spent earning a bachelor’s degree prior to admittance.

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