University of Hawaii Law Graduates Had Lowest U.S Student Loan Debts


In a recent survey by the US News and World Report done on 2015 law graduates, it was revealed that more than 50% of students taking up law incur debts as large as $160,000.

So it was a relief for many people planning to take up the course to see that there are some schools that are affordable for a struggling but aspiring law student.

The University of Hawaii, among the 183 schools ranked in the survey, had law graduates who only took out loans as high as $54,988, which was less than half of the average debt ($112,748) incurred by most law school graduates in the entire country.

Cyrelle White, the university’s Law School Financial Aid Manager said that the school had always strived to make their programs more accessible to students in need of quality education.

She said that their Law program was indeed an affordable option for many students, and that, because of the rising educational costs, with stagnant salary-steps across multiple career paths, students are making the more financially-conscious decision not to incur higher student loans by choosing a more affordable school.

In one of US News and World Report’s short list surveys, they revealed that the average debts of law graduates in 10 cost-effective schools was $62,735, which was still higher than what UH law graduates have to pay on average.

While the University of Hawaii had the lowest debts, the Thomas Jefferson School of Law students bore the highest, with $172,726.

The loans that students are forced to avail also have something to do with the number of financial aid options in the university.

In UH, for example, law students can ask assistance and help from the UH Foundation and the Law School Admissions Office.

They can borrow money at a very low interest, but because the law school program is already affordable, not many students borrow the full amount, according to White.

The William S. Richardson Law School in the University of Hawaii, although cost-effective, is not lacking in educational quality.

Dean Avi Soifer of the law program said,

“Not only do we offer an absolutely first-rate education, but our graduates are not saddled with debilitating debt. Richardson students thrive in an unusually supportive and encouraging environment.”

Law students in need of greater financial aid can receive a $4,000 grant per year, according to their FAFSA data.

The federal work/study program also gives $3,500 annually for those students who want to work part-time (at 20 hours a week).

The UH Foundation also awards scholarships of up to $1,000 to $2,500, and incoming law freshmen can receive a $5,000 scholarship program to be determined by the Admissions Office.

This one can be renewed for the second and third academic years.

At the Richardson Law School, around 100 Juris Doctor students (out of the 305 in total) are currently receiving need-based grants; 70% of them also have scholarships from the UH Foundation, and 10 will be given work/study grants.

For the incoming school year, already, there are a few first year law students who have been awarded the $5,000 merit scholarship.

Rob Clark admin staff managing editor

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