2010 PROJECTIONS

[Readers and researchers have used the tuition projections in the past, and rather than overwrite them with new ones, this page archives them.

Due to changes in the methodology discussed in this post, I have added an appendix containing revisions to the projections.]

When it comes to law school tuition increases the first question is: does inflation-adjusted tuition increase at a linear or exponential rate? Looking at the ABA’s tuition data going back to the 1985-1986 school year, it appears linear.

You get the same effect from using the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools.

Hopefully people won’t refer to legal education tuition increases as exponential, for they are not. The increases at public law schools are heavily influenced by state governments withdrawing subsidies. Thus, the best way to measure tuition increases on account of competition is to look private law school tuition growth. Indeed, a few public law schools (Michigan, Virginia, Arizona State, the California schools, and Minnesota as of this date) are off or going off the dole, yet even if we exclude them and the three law schools in Puerto Rico, “real” mean private law school tuition increases at about the same rate.

Why law school costs more than before shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out: legal education isn’t a free market service. It’s heavily subsidized by the federal government, allowing law schools to charge whatever their competitors are charging. Hopefully I’m right in the long run, or things will get far worse: taxpayers will be left with the tab of subsidizing income-based repayment plans for law students whose degrees were overpriced relative to their labor market value. Those ineligible for IBR will require debt relief at some kind.

As a result, we can calculate law school tuition going into the future. These charts project private law school tuition five and ten years from the last years in which data are available. They are based on linear regression of the law schools’ individual tuitions from the school year ending in 2005, courtesy of the Official Guide. My methodology assumes that a law school’s tuition will increase largely as it has in the past. Note, the Official Guide and the ABA generally define school years as the year of the fall semester, so “2004” refers to the 2004-2005 school year, in their calendar. In the past I included both years or referred to a school year as the year including the spring semester, so “2005” in the previous example. I am adapting to the ABA’s convention.

The methodology I use has its drawbacks, particularly for law schools that increased their tuition rapidly between the 2004-2005 and 2010-2011 school years. Faulkner University is by far the greatest culprit because it received ABA accreditation in 2006. Since then its tuition doubled. Another anomaly is Vermont Law School, whose tuition rose an unusually high 22% in the 2008-2009 school year. Conversely, the law schools at the bottom of the list, Pontifical Catholic, Brigham Young (LDS), and Inter American do not increase their tuition as rapidly as most private law schools. These projections are not adjusted for inflation.

This table is sorted by the 2020-2021 school year.

# NAME TUITION: 2010-2011 TUITION: 2015-2016 TUITION: 2020-2021
1. Cornell (NY) 51,150 64,779 78,171
2. Yale (CT) 50,750 62,707 74,664
3. Northwestern (IL) 49,714 61,289 72,772
4. Syracuse (NY) 45,126 59,805 72,514
5. Columbia (NY) 50,428 61,212 72,217
6. New England (MA) 39,990 55,875 71,816
7. Pennsylvania (PA) 48,362 60,075 71,500
8. Faulkner (AL) 31,020 52,310 71,406
9. Seton Hall (NJ) 45,058 58,402 71,224
10. Cardozo (NY) 46,794 59,145 71,194
11. Vermont (VT) 42,220 56,767 70,956
12. Fordham (NY) 46,476 58,181 69,671
13. Brooklyn (NY) 46,635 58,035 69,483
14. Vanderbilt (TN) 45,286 57,775 69,425
15. Duke (NC) 47,722 58,377 69,277
16. Southern California (CA) 48,434 58,890 69,258
17. St. John’s (NY) 44,280 56,837 69,023
18. Touro (NY) 41,070 54,990 68,304
19. Baylor (TX) 40,904 54,570 67,917
20. Harvard (MA) 46,616 57,176 67,478
21. New York University (NY) 48,213 57,763 67,420
22. Stanford (CA) 46,581 56,643 66,997
23. Chicago (IL) 46,185 56,534 66,610
24. Georgetown (DC) 45,105 56,048 66,465
25. Washington and Lee (VA) 39,937 52,621 64,703
26. Hofstra (NY) 43,660 54,157 64,564
27. Quinnipiac (CT) 42,740 53,493 64,180
28. American (DC) 43,458 53,798 64,136
29. Loyola Marymount (CA) 41,840 52,806 63,314
30. New York Law School (NY) 46,460 54,756 62,874
31. Washington University (MO) 44,125 53,251 62,458
32. Tulane (LA) 42,144 52,385 62,331
33. Phoenix (AZ) 36,036 48,923 61,434
34. Suffolk (MA) 41,120 51,087 60,632
35. Roger Williams (RI) 38,010 49,400 60,584
36. Chicago-Kent (IL) 40,050 50,227 60,441
37. Pepperdine (CA) 41,210 50,839 60,389
38. Charlotte (NC) 34,990 47,774 60,329
39. DePaul (IL) 39,350 49,919 60,300
40. Emory (GA) 43,392 51,774 60,270
41. California Western (CA) 40,780 50,357 60,239
42. Chapman (CA) 40,173 50,163 59,996
43. Case Western (OH) 40,560 50,308 59,904
44. Seattle (WA) 37,330 48,621 59,814
45. San Diego (CA) 41,414 50,561 59,050
46. Notre Dame (IN) 40,805 49,951 58,830
47. Golden Gate (CA) 38,375 48,712 58,674
48. New Hampshire (NH) 37,000 48,171 58,666
49. Denver (CO) 37,152 48,285 58,503
50. Northeastern (MA) 41,066 49,903 58,339
51. Pacific, McGeorge (CA) 39,989 49,238 58,304
52. Albany (NY) 40,120 49,738 58,208
53. Thomas Jefferson (CA) 38,700 47,889 57,603
54. La Verne (CA, no longer ABA) 38,462 47,927 57,554
55. University of St. Thomas (MN) 36,313 46,689 57,086
56. Wake Forest (NC) 37,230 47,391 57,068
57. Boston College (MA) 40,905 49,132 57,056
58. Valparaiso (IN) 36,800 46,877 56,732
59. Boston University (MA) 40,838 48,945 56,684
60. SMU Dedman (TX) 40,186 48,067 56,542
61. Catholic (DC) 40,000 48,049 56,367
62. Southwestern (CA) 39,110 47,599 56,366
63. San Francisco (CA) 38,800 47,176 55,433
64. Whittier (CA) 37,975 46,612 55,359
65. John Marshall (IL) 36,920 46,180 55,300
66. Pace (NY) 39,794 47,697 54,708
67. Villanova (PA) 36,690 45,673 54,587
68. Miami (FL) 38,024 46,753 54,486
69. Loyola-Chicago (IL) 38,086 46,365 54,424
70. Santa Clara (CA) 39,360 46,847 54,186
71. Charleston (SC) 35,606 45,005 53,941
72. Western New England (MA) 36,854 45,377 53,655
73. Florida Coastal (FL) 34,712 44,046 53,485
74. Mercer (GA) 35,695 44,740 53,176
75. George Washington (DC) 43,999 53,515 53,040
76. Marquette (WI) 36,300 43,956 52,857
77. Western State (CA) 35,190 43,868 52,802
78. Michigan State (MI) 34,045 43,816 52,772
79. Atlanta’s John Marshall (GA) 32,965 42,606 51,838
80. Ave Maria (FL) 36,448 44,276 51,805
81. Elon (NC) 32,600 41,583 50,583
82. Loyola-New Orleans (LA) 36,196 42,930 50,352
83. Dayton (OH) 33,674 42,273 50,003
84. Oklahoma City (OK) 33,925 41,917 49,991
85. Stetson (FL) 33,220 40,097 49,954
86. Campbell (NC) 32,280 41,113 49,899
87. Saint Louis (MO) 35,475 42,797 49,806
88. Hamline (MN) 33,506 41,694 49,797
89. Lewis & Clark (OR) 35,098 41,770 49,494
90. Drake (IA) 32,514 41,060 49,423
91. Samford (AL) 33,155 41,242 49,412
92. William Mitchell (MN) 33,800 41,599 49,384
93. Earle Mack, Drexel (PA) 34,450 41,834 49,234
94. Capital (OH) 32,074 40,661 48,622
95. Detroit Mercy (MI) 34,010 40,977 48,454
96. Duqesne (PA) 32,376 40,312 48,300
97. Richmond (VA) 34,070 41,166 48,234
98. Widener (DE) 34,890 41,463 48,097
99. Widener-Harrisburg (PA) 34,890 41,463 48,097
100. Barry (FL) 32,650 40,550 47,945
101. Nova Southeastern (FL) 32,607 40,421 47,726
102. St. Thomas (FL) 33,082 40,096 47,314
103. Creighton (NE) 31,386 39,334 47,272
104. Gonzaga (WA) 32,775 39,483 46,040
105. Mississippi College (MS) 28,070 37,104 45,969
106. Regent (VA) 31,410 38,493 45,617
107. Thomas M. Cooley (MI) 30,644 37,096 44,101
108. Ohio Northern (OH) 31,264 37,323 44,057
109. Tulsa (OK) 30,320 36,763 43,209
110. St. Mary’s (TX) 28,160 35,931 42,865
111. Howard (DC) 26,439 34,453 42,739
112. Willamette (OR) 31,130 36,449 42,033
113. Appalachian (VA) 28,325 35,004 41,789
114. Liberty (VA) 29,120 35,424 41,753
115. Texas Wesleyan (TX) 27,440 34,070 40,806
116. Brigham Young (UT, Non-LDS) 20,560 30,373 39,107
117. South Texas (TX) 26,340 32,524 38,235
118. Pontifical Catholic (PR) 14,126 15,363 16,564
119. Brigham Young (UT, LDS) 10,280 13,087 15,812
120. Inter American (PR) 14,341 14,566 15,407
Average (Median) 37,653 47,648 56,455
Average (Mean) 37,467 46,753 55,814
Standard Deviation 7,072 8,934 10,955

For some time the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia have operated independently of state subsidies. As a bonus, I’ve projected their tuitions as well, but UVA’s regression begins in the first year in which its resident tuition was higher than the average private law school tuition (2006-2007). In the 2010-2011 school year, California’s public law schools all charged more than the average private law school. Soon Arizona State University and the University of Minnesota will join them.

# NAME RESIDENT TUITION: 2010-2011 RESIDENT TUITION: 2015-2016 RESIDENT TUITION: 2020-2021
1. University of Michigan 44,600 58,693 71,619
2. University of Virginia 42,500 55,614 69,239
3. California-Berkeley 44,244
4. California-Davis 41,763
5. California-Los Angeles 40,616
6. California-Hastings 38,906

*****

Appendix

Here are the revisions to the projected 2015-2016 and 2020-2021 tuition costs.

**********

# SCHOOL OLD 2015-2016 PROJECTION “REVISED” 2015-2016 PROJECTION PERCENT CHANGE
1. Cornell $64,779 $62,787 -3.1%
2. Yale $62,707 $61,568 -1.8%
3. Columbia University $61,212 $60,362 -1.4%
4. Northwestern University $61,289 $60,107 -1.9%
5. University of Southern California $58,890 $58,380 -0.9%
6. University of Pennsylvania $60,075 $58,040 -3.4%
7. Duke University $58,377 $57,549 -1.4%
8. New York University $57,763 $57,171 -1.0%
9. Cardozo $59,145 $57,061 -3.5%
10. New York Law School $54,756 $57,002 4.1%
11. Brooklyn $58,035 $56,862 -2.0%
12. Fordham University $58,181 $56,222 -3.4%
13. Seton Hall University $58,402 $56,123 -3.9%
14. Harvard $57,176 $56,118 -1.8%
15. Stanford $56,643 $55,773 -1.5%
16. Syracuse University $59,805 $54,885 -8.2%
17. Vanderbilt University $57,775 $54,695 -5.3%
18. University of Chicago $56,534 $54,641 -3.3%
19. St. John’s University $56,837 $54,407 -4.3%
20. Georgetown $56,048 $53,924 -3.8%
21. Baylor University $54,570 $53,596 -1.8%
22. Washington University $53,251 $53,145 -0.2%
23. Hofstra University $54,157 $52,939 -2.2%
24. Quinnipiac University $53,493 $52,351 -2.1%
25. George Washington University $53,515 $52,346 -2.2%
26. American University $53,798 $52,262 -2.9%
27. Vermont Law School $56,767 $52,195 -8.1%
28. Emory University $51,774 $52,174 0.8%
29. Faulkner University $54,005 $51,045 -5.5%
30. New England Law | Boston $55,875 $50,849 -9.0%
31. Loyola Marymount $52,806 $50,499 -4.4%
32. Tulane University $52,385 $50,260 -4.1%
33. University of San Diego $50,561 $50,179 -0.8%
34. Touro College $54,990 $50,115 -8.9%
35. Suffolk University $51,087 $49,888 -2.3%
36. Washington and Lee University $52,621 $49,831 -5.3%
37. California Western $50,357 $49,594 -1.5%
38. Case Western Reserve University $50,308 $49,296 -2.0%
39. Albany Law School $49,738 $49,209 -1.1%
40. Pepperdine University $50,839 $49,096 -3.4%
41. Notre Dame $49,951 $49,050 -1.8%
42. Northeastern University $49,903 $49,041 -1.7%
43. Southern Methodist University $48,067 $48,658 1.2%
44. Chapman University $50,163 $48,593 -3.1%
45. Boston University $48,945 $48,451 -1.0%
46. Phoenix School of Law $48,923 $48,363 -1.1%
47. Illinois Institute of Technology $50,227 $48,348 -3.7%
48. Boston College $49,132 $48,341 -1.6%
49. University of the Pacific $49,238 $48,305 -1.9%
50. University of La Verne $47,927 $48,027 0.2%
51. DePaul University $49,919 $47,764 -4.3%
52. Charlotte $47,774 $47,545 -0.5%
53. Pace University $47,697 $47,437 -0.5%
54. Santa Clara University $46,847 $47,251 0.9%
55. Thomas Jefferson $47,889 $47,155 -1.5%
56. Southwestern University $47,599 $46,846 -1.6%
57. Catholic University of America $48,049 $46,776 -2.6%
58. University of San Francisco $47,176 $46,275 -1.9%
59. Golden Gate University $48,712 $46,218 -5.1%
60. Roger Williams University $49,400 $46,128 -6.6%
61. University of New Hampshire $48,171 $46,045 -4.4%
62. University of Denver $48,285 $45,767 -5.2%
63. Seattle University $48,621 $45,601 -6.2%
64. University of St. Thomas $46,689 $45,342 -2.9%
65. Ave Maria $44,276 $45,322 2.4%
66. Whittier Law School $46,612 $45,266 -2.9%
67. Valparaiso University $46,877 $45,146 -3.7%
68. Loyola University Chicago $46,365 $44,939 -3.1%
69. University of Miami $46,753 $44,835 -4.1%
70. John Marshall (Chicago) $46,180 $44,756 -3.1%
71. Western New England College $45,377 $44,583 -1.8%
72. Wake Forest University $47,391 $44,494 -6.1%
73. Charleston Law School $45,005 $44,264 -1.6%
74. Villanova University $45,673 $44,240 -3.1%
75. Marquette University $43,956 $44,118 0.4%
76. Loyola University New Orleans $42,930 $43,789 2.0%
77. Mercer University $44,740 $43,170 -3.5%
78. Saint Louis University $42,797 $42,450 -0.8%
79. John Marshall (Atlanta) $42,606 $42,380 -0.5%
80. Lewis & Clark College $41,770 $42,333 1.3%
81. Michigan State University $43,816 $42,316 -3.4%
82. Florida Coastal $44,046 $42,154 -4.3%
83. Oklahoma City University $41,917 $42,005 0.2%
84. Widener University $41,463 $41,863 1.0%
85. Widener University (Harrisburg) $41,463 $41,863 1.0%
86. Drexel University $41,834 $41,850 0.0%
87. Western State University $43,868 $41,667 -5.0%
88. Elon University $41,583 $41,600 0.0%
89. University of Detroit $40,977 $41,555 1.4%
90. William Mitchell $41,599 $40,927 -1.6%
91. Hamline $41,694 $40,785 -2.2%
92. University of Richmond $41,166 $40,493 -1.6%
93. University of Dayton $42,273 $39,924 -5.6%
94. Duquesne University $40,312 $39,627 -1.7%
95. Samford University $41,242 $39,600 -4.0%
96. Capital University $40,661 $39,390 -3.1%
97. Drake University $41,060 $39,279 -4.3%
98. Stetson University $40,097 $39,002 -2.7%
99. Barry University $40,550 $38,894 -4.1%
100. Campbell University $41,113 $38,891 -5.4%
101. Gonzaga University $39,483 $38,841 -1.6%
102. Regent University $38,493 $38,476 0.0%
103. Nova Southeastern University $40,421 $38,351 -5.1%
104. St. Thomas University $40,096 $38,233 -4.6%
105. Creighton University $39,334 $37,873 -3.7%
106. Willamette University $36,449 $36,925 1.3%
107. Ohio Northern University $37,323 $36,820 -1.3%
108. Cooley $37,096 $36,680 -1.1%
109. University of Tulsa $36,763 $36,344 -1.1%
110. Liberty University $35,424 $35,414 0.0%
111. Appalachian School of Law $35,004 $35,061 0.2%
112. Mississippi College $37,104 $34,566 -6.8%
113. St. Mary’s University $35,931 $33,633 -6.4%
114. Texas Wesleyan University $34,070 $33,113 -2.8%
115. Howard University $34,453 $32,645 -5.2%
116. South Texas $32,524 $30,976 -4.8%
117. Brigham Young University $30,373 $26,260 -13.5%
AVERAGE $47,598 $46,341 -2.6%

**********

# SCHOOL OLD 2020-2021 PROJECTION “REVISED” 2020-2021 PROJECTION PERCENT CHANGE
1. Cornell $78,171 $74,425 -4.8%
2. Yale $74,664 $72,386 -3.1%
3. Faulkner University $74,422 $71,070 -4.5%
4. Northwestern University $72,772 $70,499 -3.1%
5. Columbia University $72,217 $70,295 -2.7%
6. University of Southern California $69,258 $68,327 -1.3%
7. University of Pennsylvania $71,500 $67,718 -5.3%
8. New York Law School $62,874 $67,544 7.4%
9. Duke University $69,277 $67,376 -2.7%
10. Cardozo $71,194 $67,329 -5.4%
11. Seton Hall University $71,224 $67,189 -5.7%
12. Brooklyn $69,483 $67,090 -3.4%
13. Baylor University $67,917 $66,287 -2.4%
14. New York University $67,420 $66,129 -1.9%
15. Fordham University $69,671 $65,968 -5.3%
16. Harvard $67,478 $65,621 -2.8%
17. Stanford $66,997 $64,966 -3.0%
18. Syracuse University $72,514 $64,644 -10.9%
19. St. John’s University $69,023 $64,535 -6.5%
20. Vanderbilt University $69,425 $64,103 -7.7%
21. University of Chicago $66,610 $63,097 -5.3%
22. Georgetown $66,465 $62,742 -5.6%
23. Hofstra University $64,564 $62,218 -3.6%
24. Vermont Law School $70,956 $62,170 -12.4%
25. Washington University $62,458 $62,166 -0.5%
26. Quinnipiac University $64,180 $61,963 -3.5%
27. New England Law | Boston $71,816 $61,708 -14.1%
28. American University $64,136 $61,065 -4.8%
29. Emory University $60,270 $60,957 1.1%
30. George Washington University $63,040 $60,694 -3.7%
31. Phoenix School of Law $61,434 $60,689 -1.2%
32. Charlotte $60,329 $60,100 -0.4%
33. Washington and Lee University $64,703 $59,724 -7.7%
34. Touro College $68,304 $59,161 -13.4%
35. Loyola Marymount $63,314 $59,158 -6.6%
36. University of San Diego $59,050 $58,945 -0.2%
37. Suffolk University $60,632 $58,656 -3.3%
38. California Western $60,239 $58,407 -3.0%
39. Tulane University $62,331 $58,377 -6.3%
40. Union University $58,208 $58,297 0.2%
41. Case Western Reserve University $59,904 $58,033 -3.1%
42. University of La Verne $57,554 $57,592 0.1%
43. Notre Dame $58,830 $57,294 -2.6%
44. Southern Methodist University $56,542 $57,130 1.0%
45. Northeastern University $58,339 $57,017 -2.3%
46. Chapman University $59,996 $57,012 -5.0%
47. Pepperdine University $60,389 $56,983 -5.6%
48. Illinois Institute of Technology $60,441 $56,645 -6.3%
49. University of the Pacific $58,304 $56,621 -2.9%
50. DePaul University $60,300 $56,177 -6.8%
51. Boston University $56,684 $56,063 -1.1%
52. Boston College $57,056 $55,778 -2.2%
53. Thomas Jefferson $57,603 $55,609 -3.5%
54. Santa Clara University $54,186 $55,142 1.8%
55. University of New Hampshire $58,666 $55,091 -6.1%
56. Pace University $54,708 $55,079 0.7%
57. Southwestern University $56,366 $54,583 -3.2%
58. University of Denver $58,503 $54,381 -7.0%
59. University of St. Thomas $57,086 $54,372 -4.8%
60. Roger Williams University $60,584 $54,246 -10.5%
61. Ave Maria $51,805 $54,196 4.6%
62. Golden Gate University $58,674 $54,061 -7.9%
63. Seattle University $59,814 $53,873 -9.9%
64. University of San Francisco $55,433 $53,751 -3.0%
65. Catholic University of America $56,367 $53,553 -5.0%
66. Valparaiso University $56,732 $53,493 -5.7%
67. Charleston Law School $53,941 $52,921 -1.9%
68. John Marshall (Chicago) $55,300 $52,593 -4.9%
69. Whittier Law School $55,359 $52,558 -5.1%
70. Western New England College $53,655 $52,311 -2.5%
71. Marquette University $52,857 $51,936 -1.7%
72. John Marshall (Atlanta) $51,838 $51,795 -0.1%
73. Loyola University Chicago $54,424 $51,791 -4.8%
74. Villanova University $54,587 $51,790 -5.1%
75. Wake Forest University $57,068 $51,757 -9.3%
76. University of Miami $54,486 $51,646 -5.2%
77. Loyola University New Orleans $50,352 $51,381 2.0%
78. Mercer University $53,176 $50,645 -4.8%
79. Elon University $50,583 $50,600 0.0%
80. Michigan State University $52,772 $50,588 -4.1%
81. Oklahoma City University $49,991 $50,085 0.2%
82. Florida Coastal $53,485 $49,596 -7.3%
83. Lewis & Clark College $49,494 $49,569 0.2%
84. Saint Louis University $49,806 $49,425 -0.8%
85. Drexel University $49,234 $49,250 0.0%
86. University of Detroit $48,454 $49,101 1.3%
87. Widener University $48,097 $48,835 1.5%
88. Widener University (Harrisburg) $48,097 $48,835 1.5%
89. Western State University $52,802 $48,145 -8.8%
90. Hamline $49,797 $48,063 -3.5%
91. William Mitchell $49,384 $48,055 -2.7%
92. University of Richmond $48,234 $46,915 -2.7%
93. Duquesne University $48,300 $46,878 -2.9%
94. Capital University $48,622 $46,706 -3.9%
95. University of Dayton $50,003 $46,173 -7.7%
96. Samford University $49,412 $46,045 -6.8%
97. Drake University $49,423 $46,045 -6.8%
98. Regent University $45,617 $45,543 -0.2%
99. Campbell University $49,899 $45,503 -8.8%
100. Barry University $47,945 $45,138 -5.9%
101. Gonzaga University $46,040 $44,907 -2.5%
102. Stetson University $46,954 $44,784 -4.6%
103. Creighton University $47,273 $44,361 -6.2%
104. Nova Southeastern University $47,726 $44,095 -7.6%
105. St. Thomas University $47,314 $43,384 -8.3%
106. Willamette University $42,033 $42,721 1.6%
107. Cooley $44,101 $42,716 -3.1%
108. Ohio Northern University $44,057 $42,377 -3.8%
109. University of Tulsa $43,209 $42,368 -1.9%
110. Appalachian School of Law $41,789 $41,797 0.0%
111. Liberty University $41,753 $41,708 -0.1%
112. Mississippi College $45,969 $41,063 -10.7%
113. St. Mary’s University $42,865 $39,105 -8.8%
114. Howard University $42,739 $38,852 -9.1%
115. Texas Wesleyan University $40,806 $38,785 -5.0%
116. South Texas $38,235 $35,613 -6.9%
117. Brigham Young University $39,107 $31,960 -18.3%
AVERAGE $56,922 $54,584 -4.0%

*****

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