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Law grads get the best and worst return on their investment at these schools

Posted Aug 14, 2013 7:31 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The average 2012 law grad with debt owed about $108,000, while the median private sector salary for 2011 grads was about $76,000, according to data collected by U.S. News & World Report. But some students fared better than others.

U.S. News & World Report compiled a list of law schools whose grads had the highest salary-to-debt ratio, meaning the students had the highest salaries relative to their debt. At the top of the list is the University of Texas at Austin, according to the U.S. News Short List.

Law students there graduated with an average debt of $86,312 in 2012 and earned a median starting private sector salary of $155,000 in 2011. The student-to-debt ratio for the school is 1.796, representing how many times the starting salary covers average debt.

Here are the top 10 schools whose law graduates have the least amount of debt relative to starting private-sector salaries:

1) University of Texas at Austin, with a salary-to-debt ratio of 1.796

2) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1.577

3) Brigham Young University, 1.506

4) Stanford University, 1.451

5) Yale University, 1.445

6) University of California at Berkeley, 1.387

7) Boston College, 1.361

8) University of Pennsylvania, 1.353

9) Rutgers at Newark, 1.346

10) University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, 1.332

At the bottom of the list is Florida Coastal School of Law, where graduates earned median starting salaries of $45,000 in 2011 and graduated with an average debt load of $143,111 in 2012.

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