Tuition at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa's William S. Richardson School of Law will remain the same until 2023.
The tuition will remain at $11,196 and $22,906 per semester for residents and nonresidents for the next five years.
This announcement, made shortly after the three-year freeze of undergraduate tuition and decreased graduate tuition, sets a precedent for the university placing more emphasis on affordability for its students.
“We are among the schools with the lowest debt generated by law schools, and we wanted to keep it that way rather than move up as a lot of other schools have done with their tuition,” Dean Avi Soifer said.
Compared to the rest of the nation, tuition at the law school is already more affordable for both residents and nonresidents. While Richardson law students graduate with an average debt of $84,295, their mainland counterparts carry an average of $122,000.
“Virtually, all schools are higher for our in-state and even our out-of-state is lower than some of them for their in-state,” Soifer said. “If you’re in California last I looked, if you’re a California resident, your in-state California tuition at a state school at a public university is higher than our out-of-state rate.”
In recent years, the law school has seen an upwards trend in enrollment. Last year, it welcomed its second largest class since its establishment in 1968. This follows the college’s recent change in admission policy, which now accepts GRE® General test scores in place of the standard LSAT scores.
The tuition freeze and consideration of GRE® scores are part of the law school’s mission to make legal education more accessible for general graduate students.
“(This) has been a commitment of the school since the beginning,” Soifer said.
Though nothing has yet been scheduled after the tuition freeze is over, graduates can still look forward to paying a constant tuition rate until 2023.