Three students speak at the top of the stairs outside Jerome Greene

Financing Your J.S.D. Degree

When you pursue a J.S.D. degree at Columbia Law School, you are making a sound investment in your legal scholarship.

Tuition and mandatory fees are waived for J.S.D. candidates in residence. However, the J.S.D degree is still a substantial investment, and one for which you should begin planning early. J.S.D. candidates are required to remain in residence for one year and may request to remain in residence an additional year (immediately following the first year of residence).

In many cases, based on financial need, we are able to offer J.S.D. candidates a small grant to help defray living costs during the first year in residence. If you wish to be considered for a living expenses grant, you must complete the financial aid section on your application for admission. This way, the admissions committee can determine the best financial aid package to award you. Because our financial aid funds are limited and our grants, when offered, will not cover the full extent of living costs in New York City, you should also seek assistance from other sources if you will require financial assistance to attend Columbia Law School. 

If you do not submit an application for financial assistance with your application for admission, you will not be considered for financial aid, even if you request it after the admission deadline. If you later decide you do not need financial assistance, you may withdraw your financial aid application by sending an email to [email protected].

If other funds become available to you, you must notify the Office of Graduate Degree Programs within seven days of learning of such an award. Since Columbia Law School offers financial assistance mostly on the basis of need, the Law School reserves the right to reduce the amount of any financial aid it has awarded in such a case.

Tuition: $72,352

Student activity fee: $256

University facilities fee: $1,062

Health services fee: $1,220

Total tuition and mandatory fees (waived for J.S.D. candidates in residence): $74,890

Student health insurance: $3,676

Document fee (one-time fee for new Columbia University students): $105

Total university charges: $78,671

Estimated living costs for the nine-month academic year

Room**: $12,608

Food: $6,841

Personal: $4,800

Total living costs: $24,249

Books and supplies: $1,500

Total academic year budget: $104,420

**The estimated room expenses anticipate a budget for rent/utilities of $1,576/month for a single student. See budgeting (below) for more information.

International services fee: $100 per term; $200 per academic year. This fee supports the university’s services to international students (anyone who holds a nonresident student visa).

Administrative processing fee: $100. This one-time fee is for newly admitted international students to cover Columbia University’s visa supervision.

The living expenses quoted above allow a moderate standard of living for the New York area. Individual budgets may vary based on your own personal preferences and spending habits.

Students who need to finance their entire cost of education must keep in mind that they will be living on a fixed income and establish their spending priorities accordingly. You should plan carefully to make sure your funds will be sufficient for the full academic year.

While most grant and loan funds are divided equally and disbursed at the beginning of each term, they must cover educational expenses for several months. We suggest you prepay your major non-discretionary expenses for the term—such as tuition, fees, and rent—or set aside adequate funds in a separate account to cover these costs for the entire term.

Remember: You may encounter some expenses that are not covered by the standard cost of attendance, such as the purchase of a computer or unreimbursed costs for medical services that occur within the school’s academic year.

Note: For students borrowing federal student loans, the average educational loan fees for borrowers at Columbia Law School will automatically be added to the cost of attendance at the time of loan certification. Based on an assessment of Law School borrowing during the 2018–2019 academic year, the average educational loan fees amount to $2,386 ($216 for Stafford loans and $2,170 for Graduate PLUS loans). 

Updated June 14, 2019

The following Columbia Law School awards are available to J.S.D. candidates:

The Appel Fellowship on the Regulation of the Multinational Enterprise
The Appel Fellowship was established in 2001 by Mark Appel. It awards an annual prize—up to full tuition for one academic year—to an LL.M. or J.S.D. degree candidate who intends to focus their research on regulatory or policy issues emerging from the trans-boundary operations of multinational or transnational enterprises, with priority given to students from emerging economies. 

The fellow is expected to participate in a relevant research seminar culminating in a workshop on the subject that brings prominent scholars and practitioners to the Law School. Topics may include issues relating to corporate governance, labor issues, environmental concerns, or human rights. 

To apply:

  • Submit a complete application for admission to the J.S.D. Program.
  • Submit a separate two-page essay describing your background, interest in this area of law, and the research you would undertake at the Law School if you were awarded the fellowship. 
  • Label the first page of your essay “Application for Appel Fellowship” and upload it to the appropriate section of the LSAC online application. 

Only successful applicants will be notified.

Herman N. Finkelstein Memorial Fellowship Fund
This fund was established in 1978 by family and friends in memory of Herman N. Finkelstein ’24, one of the first recipients of a J.S.D. degree. The fund is primarily designed to provide support for a J.S.D. candidate.

Morris Fellowship
Established in 1924 by Newbold Morris 1891 in memory of his father Augustus Newbold Morris, Columbia College 1860, Law 1864, the fellowship is awarded to a student of public or private law who may be a candidate for the J.S.D. degree.