UCLA Law’s Tuition Guarantee

We are pleased that we are able to offer J.D. students who matriculate in fall 2018 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 $145,000.

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 $152,000. (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 $30,000 - $65,000 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, part of UCLA Law School's tuition and fees is set by the University of California across the board for all degree programs, and part of the tuition is specific to the School of Law. Over the last several years, the law school-specific portion of the total tuition and fees charges has not increased at all, and the University of California's portion has increased only a slight amount. Accordingly, the price differential between UCLA and our peer schools, which was always large, has grown even more significant as most of them have increased their tuition each year. We will not be increasing the law school's portion of the tuition charge this fall either, and we expect the University of California's portion will again increase very modestly. We anticipate our peer schools will again be increasing their tuitions, so the gap between UCLA and other Top 20 schools will continue to grow. Unfortunately, the costs of operating a law school do not stay constant, so we are envisioning that we will finally have to increase the price of tuition in 2019-20.  Thus, a potential increase in 2019-20 and 2020-21 is built into the three-year, total tuition guarantee.

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 no more than $46,000 in 2017-18, $47,940 in 2018-19, and $49,980 in 2019-20.  That's a total of just under $144,000 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 2020-21 school year would put you over the total amount of $145,000 (or $152,000 if you are a non-resident but obtain resident status by your second year of law school) for the three years, we will award you a scholarship for the total amount of the difference.

Ask any other law school if they will make you a tuition guarantee at all, much less one this good!

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 again this fall (remember that the tuition most schools currently advertise is for the current academic year, not the 2018-19 year) and then 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 tuition similarly to us) over the next three years based on each school's tuition for the 2017-18 academic year and its average annual rate of tuition increase over the last five years. For most schools, the average rate of increase each year has been between 2.5% and 5% per year. Current tuition and fees data and the five-year average rate of tuition increases was obtained from the Law School Transparency website.

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 $30,000 and $65,000 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. We hope you find this information useful, and we encourage you to conduct your own further analysis.

Projected Costs of Law School Tuition and Fees, 2018-19 - 2020-211

Law School
2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 Total

UCLA Savings Over 3 Years
(CA res.)

UCLA Savings Over 3 Years
UCLA (CA res.)3 $46,000    $47,940    $49,980 $143,940
UCLA (Guaranteed max.)3

Columbia $70,240    $73,021    $75,913 $219,173    $75,253 $68,759
$64,917    $66,546    $68,216 $199,679    $55,759 $49,265
Duke $64,619    $67,081    $69,636 $201,336    $57,416 $50,922
Geo. Washington
   $63,417    $66,017 $190,353    $46,433 $39,939
$62,328    $64,908    $67,595 $194,831    $50,911 $44,417
$65,417    $68,151    $71,000 $204,568    $60,648 $54,154
$66,552    $69,221    $71,996 $207,769    $63,849 $57,355
$64,064    $66,108    $68,217 $198,390    $54,470 $47,976
Stanford $62,379    $64,563    $66,822 $193,765    $49,845 $43,351
UC Berkeley (resident) $49,706    $51,814    $54,024 $155,544    $11,624
UC Berkeley (non-resident) $53,657    $55,350    $57,125 $159,495     $9,081
Univ. of Chicago $65,493    $68,230    $71,082 $204,805    $60,885 $54,391
Univ. of Michigan4 $62,608    $64,780    $67,028 $194,416    $50,496 $44,002
Univ. of Penn. $65,651    $68,021    $70,477 $204,150    $60,230 $53,736
Univ. of Texas4 $53,025    $54,074    $55,145 $162,244    $18,324 $11,830
Univ. of Virginia4 $63,599    $65,984    $68,458 $198,041    $54,121 $47,627
USC $64,793    $66,944    $69,167 $200,904    $56,984 $50,490
Vanderbilt $56,956    $58,892    $60,895 $176,743    $32,823 $26,329
Washington Univ.
$56,886    $58,388    $59,929 $175,204    $31,284 $24,790
Yale $64,209    $66,315    $68,490 $199,015    $55,095 $48,601

1. Projections for all schools other than UCLA and UC Berkeley are based on 2017-18 actual tuition and fees and 5-year average tuition cost increases as published by Law School Transparency.

2. Savings for non-CA residents assumes that students will obtain California residency for tuition purposes for their second and third years of law school. Non-resident tuition for 2018-19 is projected to be $52,494.

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

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