Rents near law schools can be pricey

If you’re going to a law school away from home, you’re likely going to have to rent a place to live. You could buy — and hope for a sweet return on your investment in three years — but we’re guessing your money will be tied up in other things.

Such as: Tuition, books, Tums …

So which law schools are located in some of the least and most affordable places in the nation?

Well, the website RENTCafé did an analysis of the price of rents near the nation’s top 100 universities. Not all have law schools, but the ones that do, in most cases, have them located either on campus or nearby.

So it’s apples to apples for the most part.

Which means …

New York University School of Law in the New York neighborhood of Greenwich Village is the grand winner, with an average rent for an apartment within a mile of the university campus going for $4,463. 

Columbia Law School, another New York-based school, was second, with an average rent of $4,217.

We go to the West Coast for No. 3. That would be Stanford Law School, with rents within a mile of the school fetching $3,958.

USC and UCLA are the other universities with law schools with nearby rents being considerably pricey, at $3,604 and $3,541 respectively. But you won’t need money for winter clothes, so that pretty much evens things out, no?

Here's the problem, it appears. A good number of universities — and law schools — are located in desirable places, some of which have seen a housing shortage and hence higher rents. That's the story in coastal California, most certainly. So, in cases, law school students have to compete against tech workers for housing. Good luck with that.

But ... These schools offer unique opportunities. Attend a New York-based law school and you will be minutes from the heart of the city’s financial district, government center and courts. If you can make it there, you can make it ... (Sing it Frank!) Many of the nation's top law firms are based there. Plus, you don't need a car in Manhattan, given all of the public transportation options.

UCLA and USC? Everybody struggles in L.A.  Did you see "La La Land?"  But guess where many of the nation's top entertainment lawyers went to law school. One hint: It wasn't in Wisconsin. 

That being said, not all schools face the same pressures. If you have the academic chops to get into a Top 10 law school but don’t want to go broke paying rent, there's Duke Law School in Durham, N.C. The monthly rent for a place within a mile of that school is $1,240. You can afford a cat!

The University of Chicago Law School, which is ranked as the nation's fourth best law school, has nearby rents just slightly higher than Duke's, at $1,249. You can go to a Cubs game! 

So what's the most affordable place to live? Head to the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign. The average rent for an apartment within a mile of the school is a paltry $890.

The only other law school with rents under a $1,000 is William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

One thing: These were rents near the Top 100 universities, so not every university with a law school was in the analysis.

The University of North Dakota, for instance? It was not on this particular list. So hit Craigslist …