After law school enrollment fell (and LSAT sign-ups also decreased) the past couple o years during the economic downturn, the prevailing notion was that the legal field was no longer a productive field, and a law degree would leave graduates with a pile of debt and no job.
Earlier this month, however, Jennifer Smith at the Wall Street Journal reported that several law schools that had suffered a drop in enrollment responded to this reality by cutting tuition. As a result, those law schools boosted their enrollment. This information reinforces our blog post from last week, which emphasized that the increasing return of high LSAT scorers among law school applicants meant it was once again a good time to go to law school.
Law Schools Cut Tuition, First-Year Class Sizes Increase
The University of Iowa College of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law, and La Verne College of Law in California all trimmed their tuition following a drop in enrollment. For example, the University of Iowa College of Law cut its tuition by 16.4% to $21,965 for resident tuition and $39,500 for nonresident tuition.
In addition to these schools, Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law offered all in-state students a $20,000 annual grant. Obviously, once applied to tuition, those students were able to reduce their costs by the amount of the grant.
Following these tuition cuts, these law schools boosted their first-year class sizes by 22% – 52%. For these law schools, which had suffered precipitous drops in enrollment the prior year, this boost likely more than made up for the tuition cuts they had implemented.
Another Benefit For LSAT Test Takers
Following this report, other law schools will likely adopt a similar practice and cut tuition by some amount in order to boost enrollment. This increasing practice represents a significant benefit for LSAT test takers and aspiring law students. There is no question the cost of law school has been prohibitive. This development means — at least for now — law school applicants can sweat a little less regarding the cost of law school tuition and/or the debt they might have to accumulate to attend and graduate from law school.
What’s more, it’s promising that this practice is happening at quality law schools such as the University of Iowa, which was ranked 27th on U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Law Schools Guide.” Thus, in addition to saving money on tuition, students can benefit from an effective legal education and improve their job prospects.