Cost of Living: Your Choices Matter

In comparing cost-of-living estimates across schools and geographic regions, be aware that schools differ in the ways they make these calculations. Emory bases financial aid loan eligibility on moderate (versus low) cost-of-living numbers from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (ces) and the Indexes of Comparative Costs, both produced by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While cost-of-living estimates vary by region, personal living choices significantly impact the cost of attending law school. To arrive at an accurate comparison of law school expenses, it is important to understand how each school develops its estimates, particularly those for living expenses, which can make a qualitative difference in students’ daily lives.

Tuition and Fees

Estimated Costs of Attending Emory Law

2014-2015 School Year

Fixed Costs

  • Tuition: $49,200 ($24,600 per term)
  • Fees: $534 ($267 per term)

Estimated Variable Expenses

  • Living expenses: $17,778
  • Books: $4,300
  • Emory student health insurance: $2,936*°
  • Parking: $666°
  • Loan fees: $302

* You may opt out of the Emory student health insurance plan if you are covered under another policy that meets Emory’s required coverage minimums. Under the Affordable Care Act, many of our students are eligible to continue coverage under their parents’ plan or may find an independent plan that meets Emory’s requirements. For more information, go to

° Estimate, subject to change.

Information effective March 24, 2014.  Fees subject to change.

Tips from Current Students

Three current Emory Law students discuss how they manage some of the major living expenses during law school, such as housing, transportation, food, entertainment, and textbooks.


“My expenses while at Emory have been significantly less than the school’s cost-of-living estimates. If you’re proactive and do your research on housing, textbooks, and other expenditures, you can save a lot.”

Ryan Brust, 16L


“Emory Law has been more than generous regarding our cost-of-living estimate. I am able to live within my means very comfortably.There are so many rental choices around the Atlanta area, and they are not hard to find.”

Tabitha Elligan, 14L

“I definitely spend way less than Emory Law’s estimate. If you’re smart and look around, you can find very affordable rentals.”

Jenn Greene, 16L



Choosing Housing

For most students, housing represents their most significant living expense. Luckily, Atlanta offers a broad range of options.

Emory Law is located in a tree-lined neighborhood with numerous house and apartment rentals within walking distance, along Emory’s extensive free shuttle routes, or an easy bike ride away. Options include sharing an apartment in a gated complex with a pool and onsite gym, renting a studio or a carriage house, leasing an urban loft, or splitting a rental house with other young professionals while enjoying Emory’s state-of-the-art workout facilities open to all students. Connect with other students who may wish to share housing on the Class of 2017 Facebook page >>

Monthly Rent

  • Ryan: $380-400
  • Tabitha: $900
  • Jenn: $805

Jenn:  “I wanted to share the expense of an apartment while having my own bedroom and bathroom. I also preferred gated, covered parking and was willing to pay a monthly fee ($75) for it, even though most complexes offer free open parking. I quickly found an apartment that met all these needs on Emory’s graduate housing page.“

Ryan:  “Consider renting a house with other students. I live in a really nice three-bedroom, two-bath home with a full kitchen, dining room, and living room. We each have our own room, and I save money on the rent by sharing a bathroom.”

Tabitha: “I live in a one-bedroom apartment in Midtown. Now that I’m a 3L, I spend two days a week at Emory and three days at my internship and law firm job, just five minutes from my apartment.”

Managing Transportation

Emory University—named the top green school in the US in 2013— promotes an environmentally responsible approach to transportation.

Emory offers an extensive free shuttle service around and beyond campus, even to Atlanta’s midtown business district. Living within walking distance to campus or a shuttle route is easy, and parking is also free after 4 p.m. in the law school parking deck.

Monthly Transportation

  • Ryan:  $120
  • Tabitha: $215
  • Jenn: $60

Tabitha"I live five minutes from my externship and right next to another college area, with banks, businesses, and restaurants I can walk to, so that keeps my gas bills low.  While I do pay for an Emory parking pass, the cost is worth it to me so I can park nearby."

Jenn: "A free Emory shuttle picks me up every day in front of my complex and drops me off right at the law school.  But I'm only about a mile and a half from the school, so I can also walk."

Ryan: "I walk two minutes downhill to the shuttle stop.  Emory's service runs from early in the morning until late ate night, so there's always a bus when you need one."

Enjoying Atlanta

Atlanta offers food and entertainment options for every budget.

An international destination, our dynamic city has it all: farmers markets, distinctive ethnic restaurants and grocery stores, haute cuisine, and hidden dives. The city’s rich cultural offerings include museums, theaters, and music venues, not to mention dozens of free local and international festivals each year. Atlanta’s many parks and public trails are perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, water sports, and camping. On campus, Emory hosts a full schedule of music, speakers, and theatrical events, and many area attractions offer discounts or special nights for students.

Monthly food and entertainment

  • Ryan: $400
  • Tabitha: $250
  • Jenn: $110

Jenn: “I don’t eat out often because it can add up quickly, but I have a Costco membership and am able to stock up at the beginning of the semester on all my nonperishables. During the week I spend about $20 for fresh groceries. I enjoy shopping at local farmers markets, which have really cheap, high quality produce.”

Ryan: "I'm willing to spend money on good food. There are so many great culinary options around the Emory area.  Nightlife in Atlanta is affordable, too. It's hard to find a cover charge at a bar that's more than five dollars. Your drinks will be four dollars at the low end, ten dollars at the high end."

Tabitha: "Because Atlanta is a great city to explore, I have chosen to save eating out for the weekends. Budgeting for weekend fund will help you tremendously."

Strategizing on Textbooks

With planning, managing book expenses is an easy way to reduce your costs.

Emory provides a number of simple options to help you spend much less than the official Emory textbook estimate, which is based on purchasing new books and study aids. Many students save money by renting their law books from the bookstore, purchasing used texts online, and attending the student- run Emory Law Public Interest Committee (epic) used textbook and study aid sale on campus at the beginning of each semester.

Annual Book Expenses

  • Ryan: $1,400
  • Tabitha: $800
  • Jenn: $550

Ryan: "It's helpful to contact other students who have already taken the courses you've enrolled in to see which supplements are good or essential. The library has on file every supplement a professor recommends, so you can access those for free. Lastly, you can save a lot by ordering earlier editions of textbooks—professors will let you know if that's okay—and you'll often see a $200 price difference."

Tabitha: "I love the book rental option at Emory, which is really easy. Renting is best, especially after you get through the first year and decide on your practice area. There's no need to own books from the other practice areas. By renting most of my books this year, I came in way below my book budget."

Jenn: "I use a site called, which provides a list of every place online that's selling or renting the textbooks you want. If you use it soon after the booklist comes out, you can get all your books this way. Rentals sometimes end before finals, but in my experience all it takes is a request to keep the books free of charge for those extra two weeks."

Resource Guide

Visit the Emory Residential Life page,, and click on Graduate Housing for additional suggestions about housing options.

Student budget and loan calculators

Scholarship search

Credit report

College cost reduction and access act

Helpful cost-of-living calculators

Financial Aid

Emory Law offers fellowships and scholarships to students who qualify. 

Woodruff Fellows Program

In 1980, Emory University established the Robert W. Woodruff Scholars and Fellows Program. Emory Law awards up to five Robert W. Woodruff Fellowships in Law each year to men and women of exceptional character, scholastic abilities and leadership qualities. Each fellowship covers full tuition and fees plus a $3,000 stipend per year.

Please note: LLM students are not eligible for the Woodruff Fellowship.

Learn more about the Woodruff Fellowship>>

Merit-Based Scholarships

All admitted students will be automatically considered for merit-based scholarships. There is not a separate scholarship application to complete for consideration. 

Please contact the Office of Admission at jdadmission(at) or 404.727.6802 with any questions.

Resident Director Positions

Limited resident director positions are available to graduate-level students who have the desire and qualifications to work closely with undergraduate students. An application, resume and on-campus interview is required. Resident director selection takes place in March. For information, contact Jeff Tate in Residence Life & Housing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, 404.727.0429.