UCLA Law’s Tuition Guarantee

We are pleased that we are able to offer J.D. students who matriculate in fall 2017 the following tuition guarantees:

If you qualify for California resident tuition, your total tuition and mandatory fees for your three years of law school will not exceed $141,000.

If you do not qualify for California resident tuition now but are able to qualify by your second year of law school, your total tuition and mandatory fees will not exceed $148,000. (Most of our non-resident students are able to qualify for resident tuition in their second and third years of law school.  More information on the university's residency rules.)

These guarantees do not include the cost of UCLA health insurance, which is mandatory but can be waived with evidence of equivalent coverage.  And these guarantees require you to attend the law school continuously for three consecutive years.  There is no other "fine print."

The bottom line is that UCLA Law School’s total cost of tuition is $40,000 - $55,000 less than most other top law schools. For details, see the chart at the bottom of this page.

That's all you really need to know, but if you want to better understand why and how we decided to make this promise, keep reading.

When our students pay their tuition bill, some of the money goes to the law school, and some of the money goes to the University of California.  Over the last two years, the law school portion of the total tuition and fees charges has not increased.  We will not be increasing the law school's portion of the tuition charge this fall either.  And we plan not to increase it next fall.  Of course, the costs of operating a law school do not stay constant, so we are envisioning that we will have to increase the price of tuition in 2019-20, which will be the class of 2020's final year, and a modest increase that year is therefore built into the guarantee.

We don't have any direct control over the University portion of the tuition bill, and we do expect small increases there.  Based on all the best information we have, we predict that the total cost of tuition and fees for California residents from both sources -- the law school and the university -- will be $45,700 in 2017-18, $46,000 in 2018-19, and $48,000 in 2019-20.  That's a total of just under $140,000 for three years of what we believe is one of the best legal educations you can obtain anywhere in the country at any price.

We are enormously proud of the value of a UCLA legal education, but what if circumstances change and we have to raise our cost of tuition more than we predict?  Or what if the university makes bigger than expected increases to its portion? Who bears that risk?  Because of this tuition guarantee, the simple answer is:  We do.  We are building in $1000 of wiggle room to our guarantee, but that is all.  If your bill for the 2019-20 school year would put you over the total amount $141,000 for the three years, we will award you a scholarship for the total amount of the difference.

Ask any other law school, most of whom predictably raise their prices 3-5% each year, if they will make you a guarantee like this – or any guarantee at all. For detailed comparisons of the cost of attendance of UCLA compared to other schools, see the chart below.

The chart below compares our UCLA Law tuition and fees, backed by the guarantee, to the costs of other "top" law schools, most of which are likely to increase their charges substantially this fall (remember that the tuition most schools currently advertise is for the current academic year, not the 2017-18 year) and again at the beginning of your second and third years of law school. We project the tuition of schools other than UC Berkeley (which, as our sister school, we predict will increase only slightly in line with our increases) over the next three years based on each school’s tuition for the 2016-17 academic year and its average annual rate of tuition increase over the last six years. For most schools, the average rate of increase has been between 3% and 5% per year. Current tuition and fees data was collected from individual law schools' websites. Historical data was obtained from the Law School Transparency website. We encourage you to conduct your own calculations.

When you examine the data closely, we believe that you will be surprised at just how large the tuition differential can be between similarly elite law schools, especially when you consider the effect of annual increases over the three-year period of your legal education. As the table below illustrates, choosing to attend UCLA Law is the equivalent of receiving a scholarship of between $40,000 and $55,000 from most of our peer schools.

While the cost of living in Los Angeles is greater than in rural areas, it is not appreciably different than other urban areas, and, in any event, the cost of living during law school can be managed through various lifestyle choices in a way that the cost of tuition and fees cannot be.

Projected Costs of Law School Tuition and Fees, 2017-18 - 2019-203

Law School
2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 Total

UCLA Savings Over 3 Years
(CA res.)

UCLA Savings Over 3 Years
UCLA (CA res.)5 $45,674    $46,015    $47,957 $139,646
UCLA (Guaranteed max.)5

Columbia $68,059    $70,978    $74,021 $213,058    $73,412 $66,918
$63,288    $65,144    $67,054 $195,486    $55,840 $49,346
Duke $62,214    $64,605    $67,088 $193,907    $54,261 $47,767
George Washington
   $61,088    $63,664 $183,368    $43,722 $37,228
$59,996    $62,517    $65,145 $187,658    $48,012 $41,518
$63,355    $66,194    $69,161 $198,710    $59,064 $52,570
$64,175    $66,833    $69,602 $200,610    $60,964 $54,470
$61,206    $62,908    $64,657 $188,771    $49,125 $42,631
Stanford $57,577    $59,116    $60,695 $177,388    $37,742 $31,248
UC Berkeley (CA) $49,063    $49,429    $51,515 $150,007    $10,361 $7,799
Univ. of Chicago $63,637    $66,750    $70,016 $200,403    $60,757 $54,263
Univ. of Michigan6 $59,939    $61,831    $63,784 $185,554    $45,908 $39,414
Univ. of Penn. $63,280    $65,658    $68,125 $197,063    $57,417 $50,923
Univ. of Texas6 $51,724    $52,746    $53,789 $158,259    $18,613 $12,119
Univ. of Virginia6 $61,457    $63,693    $66,010 $191,160    $51,514 $45,020
USC $62,498    $64,743    $67,070 $194,311    $54,665 $48,171
Vanderbilt $54,097    $55,551    $57,043 $166,691    $27,045 $20,551
Washington Univ.
$54,910    $56,531    $58,200 $169,641    $29,995 $23,501
Yale $61,382    $62,937    $64,531 $188,850    $49,204 $42,710

3. Projections for all schools other than UCLA and UC Berkeley are based on 2016-17 tuition and fees data and annual average increase over the period from 2010-2016, as published by Law School Transparency.

4. Assumes student pays non-resident tuition in 2017-18 and obtains California residency for tuition purposes for 2018-19 and 2019-20. Non-resident tuition is projected to be $52,168 for the 2017-18 academic year. Resident tuition is projected to be $46,015 for the 2018-19 academic year and $47,957 for the 2019-20 academic year.

5. Amounts do not include UCLA health insurance, which can be waived by students with comparable coverage.

6. Assumes student will pay out-of-state tuition.