UB Law grads’ debt load is light

Published November 19, 2015

The latest data on a much-talked-about issue in legal education — the amount of education debt carried by new graduates — shows that UB Law School graduates carry less debt than nearly 90 percent of their peers.

In a study rank-ordering total student debt from lowest to highest, the UB Law School ranks 21st among 184 U.S. law schools in its graduates’ total debt load. This puts the school among the best 12 percent nationwide in terms of lowest debt carried by its graduates.

The UB Law School is the only New York State law school in the top 30 and second among law schools in the Northeast.  

The data represented average education debt for 2014 graduates, the latest information available. It was gathered by U.S. News & World Report magazine, which publishes a much-discussed annual ranking of law schools.

Analysis shows that 81 percent of UB Law students graduate with some debt, and that among those who owed money for their education, the average amount was just over $76,000.

By comparison, at the other end of the indebtedness list, graduates of Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego averaged more than $172,000 in debt. Similarly, graduates of the private New York Law School in Manhattan had average indebtedness of more than $166,000.

Full-time tuition for New York State residents studying at UB Law School is $26,097 a year.

Graduating with lower education debt means that new alumni feel less financial pressure to seek out higher-paying jobs in traditional law firms. UB Law School has a long tradition of sending its graduates into public-service legal positions, from district attorney’s offices to non-profits providing legal services to indigent clients.