The fact of the matter is that LLM programs can be prohibitively expensive, especially when you look at the offerings of the top US law schools. Of course, this is a well-documented feature, and by now, most LLM applicants have a rough idea of how much the master’s in law is going to cost them, and what they should  budget for.

Having said that, there are still a few “hidden” costs that can often lead to a ballooning of the final cost of the degree. The three mentioned below are some of the more commonly overlooked ones.

  1. Application feesMost, if not all, law schools will charge you an application fee; the quantum of this is usually around the hundred dollar mark. Now if you are only going to apply to one or two law schools, than this may not be a significant expenditure.

    However, if you are looking at multiple options spread over different continents, than the application fees can often touch the thousand dollar level. Which, if you think about it, is a cost that you can largely avoid by simply spending some more time deciding just where to apply.

  2. Living costs
    Very often, the only figure that will catch your eye is that related to tuition fees. Which can be misleading. Because, even if you have shortlisted courses on the basis of fees charged, you may end up paying a lot more for living costs.The general rule is that big cities are far more expensive than rural or university towns.But then, cities very often come with cheaper public transport, something that smaller towns may not offer. Hence, while drawing up the initial budget, do keep such factors in mind.

    Lastly, include the costs of social events (formal dinners, travel excursions etc) under this heading.

  3. Healthcare and insurance
    At times, health insurance will have to be sourced through the law school and the costs for the same will be spelt out in the “Tuition and costs” page. If not, then you should do some research on the insurance options available to you, and their costs.Once again, this may by itself seem like a minor cost, but put together with the above two, it can add up to a significant amount.

    (Lead image by Marcel Strauß on Unsplash)