Big Law School Tuition Hikes Are Coming To California

Looks like law students — especially out of state students — at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law; the University of California, Davis School of Law; the University of California, Irvine School of Law; and the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law should brace themselves for a tuition raise. As reported by, the University of California Board of Regents will vote tomorrow on proposed tuition hikes — to the tune of 17 percent between 2020 and 2023. Oof.

The proposed increases are not standard across all of the impacted law schools. Here’s how the increases would break down per school. At Berkeley Law, currently at $52,500 for residents and $55,000 for nonresidents jumps to $63,000 and $75,500, respectively, by 2023. At UC Irvine, California residents would go from $47,485 to $60,604 while nonresidents would see a 36 percent increase to $72,849 by 2023. UC Davis would see a 13 percent tuition hike to $55,735 for residents and $66,095 for nonresidents by 2023. UCLA Law’s would jump to $53,207 for residents and $61,477 for nonresidents by 2021 (the proposal does not include tuition information for UCLA past 2021).

The hike would raise the schools’ professional degree supplemental tuition, which was established to offset reductions in state funding. Berkeley Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky doesn’t seem phased by the change, saying it’ll put the law school more in line with their (incredibly expensive) peer schools:

But none of the four University of California law schools have raised that professional degree supplemental tuition since 2012, said UC Berkeley law dean Erwin Chemerinsky. At the same time, state funding has declined. Public funding now accounts for just 7% of Berkeley Law’s budget, he said. Without an increase in public support, the schools must raise tuition or risk reducing the quality of their programs, Chemerinsky said. The proposed tuition increase will bring UC Berkeley more in line with competitor schools, he added.

“If you look at the other top 10 law schools, we’re priced, basically $10,000 less,” Chemerinsky said. “We can’t be priced substantially lower than our peer schools.

The good news, is that the Regents’ mandate — that there’s a larger difference between what California residents and nonresidents pay — isn’t a three year penalty. Most law students are able to qualify as California residents after only one year. So that’s nice, at least.

headshotKathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).

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