Budget & Lifestyle Planning

Managing Your Cost During Law School

Borrow with a vision for your future.  Take a proactive approach and exercise prudent borrowing strategies, especially if you are relying on loans as a primary source of financial assistance. You will have more disposable income in the future and will be better able to enjoy the freedom to achieve your professional goals.

The benefits of a legal education are more than just financial, and you will reap those benefits for your remaining working years. When you reduce your cost of education through financial self-discipline, planning, and applying for all available aid, your investment becomes all the more valuable. Keep these factors in mind and weigh the benefits - both tangible and intangible - against the cost you will incur. This way, when you begin your legal education, you can be confident that you have made the best investment decision for your future.

Annual Cost of Attendance (COA) Budget

Federal regulations govern the creation of the student cost of attendance budget and dictate that it cover only expenses incurred during periods of enrollment and may include only education-related expenses.

This table shows the 2024-2025 direct costs for Law students living on and off campus. 
Direct CostsOn-Campus HousingOff-Campus Housing
Student Fees$1660$1660
Total Direct Costs$64,288$48,064
This table shows the 2024-2025 indirect costs for Law students living on and off campus. 
Indirect CostsOn-Campus HousingOff-Campus Housing
Books & Supplies$2,000$2,000
Average Loan Fees$216$216
Miscellaneous $1,650$4,400
Total Indirect Costs$10,866$25,616
This table shows the 2024-2025 total cost of attendance for Law students living on and off campus. 
Total Cost of AttendanceOn-Campus HousingOff-Campus Housing
Direct + Indirect Costs$75,154$73,680

3L students' cost of attendance budget in their spring semester will include an increase of $1,005 to cover the cost of one bar exam.

What exactly is the "cost of attendance?"

The cost of attendance (COA)—sometimes referred to as the "student budget"—is an estimate of what it costs a typical full-time student to attend a college or university for one academic year. Don't be startled by the COA you see on your financial aid offer from the Roger Williams University School of Law. A student’s cost of attendance doesn't only include tuition; it also takes your basic living expenses into account.

This COA serves two purposes:

  1. To give you an estimate of the cost to attend RWU School of Law for one year, and
  2. To set a limit on the amount of financial aid you can receive during the academic year (which federal regulations require us to do).

What's included in my COA?

A student's cost of attendance is made up of two different types of costs: direct and indirect.

Direct or Billed Costs

Tuition and Fees

These figures reflect the cost of tuition and fees for a student taking 12 credits during the fall and spring semesters of the respective academic year. Students in the Master of Architecture are charged the per credit rate if enrolled in less than 12 credits or more than 19 credits. All other Graduate students are charged the per credit rate.

Housing and Food (On Campus)

The number reflected here is the cost of a shared 2-bedroom apartment at Almeida Residential Community.

Please note: The account may incur additional fees including but not limited to parking fees, health services, and health insurance etc.

Indirect Estimated Costs

Indirect estimated costs do not appear on student accounts (bills) and vary based on the individual student. These costs include books, personal expenses, and transportation. Students may experience different levels of indirect expenses; however, the values listed represent allowances provided for the academic year for financial aid purposes.

Books and Supplies

This is an estimate of the cost of books and supplies for a typical student for the entire academic year. Students will not be billed directly by RWU School of Law for books or supplies.

Average Loan Fees

There is an origination fee of 1.057% for Federal Direct Unsubsidized student loans, which is taken out of the loan before funds are sent to RWU. The $216 listed above is the average fee for students who borrow these loans. Actual fees will depend on the amount you borrow (if any).


This is an estimate of the cost for transportation needed to commute to and from campus, a job or internship, the cost of operating and maintaining a vehicle, and/or distance travelled to your home on scheduled breaks. Unless you buy an RWU parking permit, you will not be billed directly for transportation costs.


The standard allowance is based on estimated costs incurred for personal expenses during the academic year including clothing, laundry, toiletries, cell phone expenses, entertainment, local transportation, additional educationally-related supplies, and other incidentals. The allowance can serve as a planning tool to help students determine how much money to have available for these expenses. These items will not appear on a student’s RWU School of Law bill.

Housing and Food (Off-Campus)

Includes an allowance for housing expenses (household operations, supplies, furnishings and equipment) and utilities (electric, water, cable, internet, and phone). Food estimates are based on the Cost of Food at Home Data published by the United States Department of Agriculture, adjusted for regional Cost of Living Index and inflation.

Lifestyle….Ways to Reduce Expenses While in Law School

  • Pay off prior consumer debt
  • Share Housing
  • Limit eating out
  • Use the University’s athletic facility instead of costly private facilities
  • Buy used books
  • Seek summer employment and other sources of funding
  • Purchase school sponsored medical insurance
  • Utilize the free university shuttle service and reduce transportation costs
  • Take advantage of the law school’s computer lab

By making adjustments to your lifestyle now, you reduce the impact student loan payments will have on your lifestyle after you graduate. This should be part of your financial plan for law school.


  • MAX by AccessLex. RWU Law has partnered with AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to legal education, to bring you MAX by AccessLex, the personal finance program designed exclusively for law students - and available at no cost to you.
  • AccessConnex by AccessLex is the first service of its kind to provide on-demand, one-on-one loan repayment and financial education information to undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Delivering clear, unbiased and accurate financial counseling, AccessConnex will help set you on a sound financial path.
  • Additional financial education resources from AccessLex.

Should you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office at (401) 254-4510 and/or gradfinaid@rwu.edu.

Close Course Type Descriptions

Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.


After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.


Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.


Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.