For working adults and other nontraditional students who are paying their own way through college, finding an affordable bachelor degree in legal studies can make the difference between getting the schooling they need, and being held back in their career. Without the burden of student loans and debt, you can move forward in your career faster and get ahead. That’s why affordable legal studies bachelor’s programs are so crucial to professionals in paralegal, law enforcement, government, and more.
Whether you’re starting with a low-cost community college degree, choosing a smaller, regional public college, or jumping into an affordable online degree, there are options for getting a bachelor’s in legal studies that won’t break the bank. Bachelor’s Degree Center has rounded up 10 of the best.
Methodology: Ranking the Most Affordable Bachelor Legal Studies Programs
To rank the most affordable legal studies bachelor’s degrees, the editors at BDC focus on value. Programs are presented in order of tuition rate, using current IPEDS numbers. Only accredited, reputable institutions are featured.
1. East Central University
East Central University offers an affordable bachelor’s degree in legal studies to students who want to explore career options in the legal or judicial fields. Students learn how to perform research and gather information (or evidence) that can be effectively used in legal proceedings. A legal studies degree can provide students with the foundation they need to move forward with their careers. A BS in legal studies can give a student the boost they need to apply for and get the job they want the most.
East Central University strives to both educate and empower each student with the highest quality degree programs available. The university gives students the skills and resources they need to transform the world around them. The goal for faculty and staff is to make sure every student they encounter leaves the school fully prepared to take on the duties of their chosen career.
What We Like: By providing students the ability to find positive solutions to many legal situations, the ultimate goal is to make the world a better place for everyone involved.
Degree: BS in Legal Studies
2. St Petersburg College
St. Petersburg College provides students with an affordable bachelor’s degree in legal studies. A degree in legal studies provides valuable skills that a budding law professional can rely on to help them succeed. Students will learn how to create files, uncover information, and draft legal briefs. They are given the ability to handle many of the tasks a paralegal or other legal assistant may be required to perform. With a BS in Paralegal Studies, students who complete the program will be able to receive their paralegal certification and move forward with their careers.
St. Petersburg College offers Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies degree programs that have been approved of by the American Bar Association. This means that students who attend the college are guaranteed to receive an education that they can be proud of when they begin to look for a job as a paralegal.
What We Like: In addition to offering the highest level of academic excellence, the college only hires faculty members who are consummate professionals in their field. All this comes together to provide students with a top-of-the-line education.
Degree: BAS in Paralegal Studies
3. New York City College of Technology (City Tech)
New York City College of Technology (City Tech) provides students with an affordable bachelor’s degree in legal studies. Students are able to earn a variety of skills they can use in many different career paths. This includes organization, drafting legal documents, and investigating various scenarios to collect valuable information that can be used while the attorney continues to build their cases. With a BS in Legal Assistant Studies, a student can take what they learn and be able to successfully find employment as a paralegal or legal assistant.
New York City College of Technology (City Tech) has been providing students with the highest quality education possible for the last 75 years. Back when the college was founded, the goal was to provide an education to young GIs who were returning from World War II.
What We Like: The quality curriculum and professional staff are committed to carrying on that legacy only now the mission is to provide an education to anyone who needs or wants it.
Degree: BS Legal Assistant Studies
4. John F Kennedy University
John F. Kennedy University provides an affordable bachelor’s degree in legal studies. All of the legal degree programs are approved by the American Bar Association and offer students the academic excellence they deserve. They are taught a variety of skills they will need as a paralegal or legal assistant. Earning a BA in legal studies is the best way to advance their career and gain the knowledge and experience they will need to be successful in whatever role they assume.
John F. Kennedy University is relocating its programs and faculty to Northcentral University. Both universities are committed to providing each student with degree programs that meet or exceed the standards of the American Bar Association. Even though the university is relocating, its core values, mission, and experienced faculty members will all remain in place to carry on the school’s long-standing traditions.
What We Like: The goal of providing the best law degree programs available will always be at the heart of the school.
Degree: BA in Legal Studies
5. Missouri Western State University
Missouri Western State University offers an affordable bachelor’s degree in legal studies for students who are interested in establishing a career in the field of law. Students are able to gain the skills they will require to be competitive in a legal office or court system that requires them to perform a range of legal tasks. This includes drafting legal briefs, investigating specific events, and organizing information so that it can be effectively used in a case. With a BS in Criminal Justice – Legal Studies, a student can be confident in their ability to succeed.
Missouri Western State University has a diverse student base with people coming from all over the world to learn from some of the best faculty and staff in the country. The degree programs are of the highest quality and provide students with the most up-to-date information possible.
What We Like: Every student who graduates from the university knows they will have the competitive edge they need to succeed in whatever job they choose to accept.
Degree: BS in Criminal Justice – Legal Studies
6. Mississippi University For Women
Mississippi University for Women offers an affordable bachelor’s degree in legal studies for students who are interested in pursuing a career as a paralegal or legal assistant. Every degree offers the necessary skills the student will need to succeed in whatever career path they decide to follow. From investigative research to drafting legal documents and building case files, the student will have the support they need to thrive in any type of legal environment. With a BA or BS in Legal Studies, the student is on the fast track to success.
Mississippi University for Women offers legal degree programs that are approved by the American Bar Association. Every degree program is evaluated on a regular basis to ensure the level of academic excellence that is expected by the ABA.
What We Like: Faculty members provide more than just information and skills. They offer support, encouragement, and guidance to students who may face challenges and obstacles as they move forward toward graduation.
Degree: BA or BS in Legal Studies
7. Clayton State University
Clayton State University provides students an affordable bachelor’s degree in legal studies. This degree provides all of the necessary skills that will be required of a paralegal or legal assistant. Earning this degree also opens the door to many different job opportunities within the legal or judicial fields. Students can choose to work in different environments, including law firms, judicial courts, and in any other type of legal environment where a BS in legal studies will be beneficial.
The legal programs offered by Clayton State University are approved by the American Bar Association and offer all of the requirements for graduates to become certified as a paralegal or legal assistant. Every degree program and instructor are chosen because they offer the highest quality education to each student.
What We Like: After graduation, students are able to explore new opportunities and challenges at every turn, all with the guidance and support of each faculty member.
Degree: BS in Legal Studies
8. Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis gives students a chance to earn an affordable Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies so they can advance quickly in their legal careers. With the skills a student learns with this type of degree program, they will be able to handle any task that is presented to them as part of their regular duties. Earning a BA in Paralegal Studies is the best way to gain the knowledge and experience a student will need to be successful no matter what career path they choose to take.
IUPUI is one of the country’s most well-respected schools of higher learning. By bringing together two of the most well-known schools in the country, IUPUI offers legal programs that are second to none. Faculty and staff members are chosen based on experience and their ability to effectively teach each lesson.
What We Like: At IUPUI, students not only gain a full understanding of the law and its processes, the insights and perspective they receive from their instructors take them over and above the bar many lawyers expect their paralegals to meet.
Degree: BA in Paralegal Studies
9. Morehead State University
Morehead State University provides an affordable bachelor’s degree in legal studies to students who have a passion for the law. A bachelor’s degree program lays the foundation for future experience and the possibility of returning to school to complete their education. The more skills the student receives, the more likely they are to move forward with their career at a much faster pace. With a BA in Legal Studies, students are able to take advantage of almost any employment opportunity they are presented with.
Morehead State University offers a comprehensive list of degree programs for students who are interested in criminal justice or legal studies. No matter what path they choose, faculty and staff will always have the answers the students will need to continue to follow their career path.
What We Like: Students can look to their mentors and academic advisors to provide the guidance they need when it comes to choosing a degree program that will help them reach their goals.
Degree: BA in Legal Studies
10. Texas A&M University-Commerce
Texas A&M University-Commerce gives each student a chance to enroll in an affordable bachelor’s degree in legal studies. With the skills they learn from these degree programs, graduates are able to pick and choose the career path they are most passionate about. Every student has a chance to excel using the training they receive at the university. By earning a BA or BS in Paralegal Studies, students are guaranteed to have what they will need to be a valuable asset to whatever firm or office they choose to work in.
Texas A&M University-Commerce offers degree programs in legal studies that are approved by the American Bar Association. Every degree program goes under review on a regular basis to ensure that students are getting the best possible education. Faculty members are also held to the highest standards when it comes to experience and teaching abilities.
What We Like: Once a student graduates from the university, they are able to take on any challenge and surpass the expectations of their employer.
Degree: BA or BS in Paralegal Studies
How Can I Save Money on a Legal Studies Degree?
If you are looking for a cheap legal studies degree, the first place to look is at a community college or other small college that is well-known for offering quality degree programs for an affordable price. A cheap legal studies degree from the right school is a good way to get started with your education. An affordable legal studies degree can still be valuable, especially if you are enrolled in an online program that allows you to continue to work while you attend class. Smaller schools may be able to offer online, affordable legal studies degrees at a lower price.
You can also save money on a cheap legal studies degree by applying for scholarships and grants. Many schools offer scholarships to students who have met the grade qualifications or are enrolled in a specific degree program. In addition to scholarships that are offered by the school, you may also qualify for scholarships that are offered by local non-profit organizations. Athletic and academic scholarships are oftentimes the easiest way to get the cost of your degree program lowered.
Another option for students to consider is applying for a grant. Grants are offered by organizations or companies who are looking to help a student achieve a higher purpose. Grants often remain in place for multiple semesters or years. Grants are also normally for much larger amounts as well. Both grants and scholarships can be used for all of your educational expenses, ranging from school supplies to tuition. In some cases, it may also cover room and board as well.
What’s the Difference Between Legal Studies and Criminal Justice?
Criminal justice degrees and legal studies are quite similar. Many criminal justice degree programs will include specializations for legal studies and other types of law courses. In most cases, however, those who pursue a criminal justice degree program often do so to further their career in law enforcement. Specializing in legal studies may help them interpret the law much better and assist them in performing their duties. Criminal justice specializations can also include forensics, investigations, and organizational skills.
Students who choose to enroll in an online legal studies degree program are often on their way to a career in the legal field. Some may go on to be attorneys or paralegals. Others may choose to go into politics or to assist in the judicial field as a researcher or assistant to the prosecuting attorney or public defenders. Working in the legal field may also mean working as a legal consultant or contract specialist in a financial institution.
Earning a legal studies specialization along with a criminal justice degree will allow you to find work in either field. It will allow you to explore opportunities in both law enforcement and the legal or judicial fields. By having the best of both degree programs at your disposal, you will be able to take on more responsibilities and become more valuable to your employers. You will also be able to accept new opportunities in either field as they become available.
How Much Can I Make with a Legal Studies Bachelor’s Degree?
A graduate with little experience (less than a year) may be able to make $35,000 to $45,000 per year simply by providing their transcripts and diploma. Individuals with 10 to 20 years may be able to earn between $45,000 and $62,000. These are not the only factors that need to be taken into consideration, however. While experience is extremely important, it is not the only thing that employers look at. Wages are also based on an applicant’s education, the areas of expertise, and also where they live.
If you have been employed in your current position for less than two or three years, you may want to consider returning to school to complete your education. Many legal studies degree programs also offer access to internships or mentorships where the student can go to work in a legal office and receive on-the-job training. They may be able to remain at the job throughout the remainder of the year, giving them an opportunity to build lasting relationships with those they work with. You will gain valuable experience and build a strong network.
Whether you choose to work in law enforcement or as a legal assistant or paralegal, your earning potential will vary greatly due to different factors. Understanding those factors will allow you to maximize your earning potential and make the most of every career opportunity that comes your way.