The Iowa Board of Regents on Wednesday (Dec. 4) approved a tuition reduction of 16.4% for students in the University of Iowa College of Law’s J.D. program. The new rates, which take effect in fall 2014, will apply to new and continuing resident students and to entering nonresident students.
That means a $7,750 a year reduction for nonresident students to $39,500, and a cut of $4,309 for resident students, to $21,965.
Law Dean Gail Agrawal says the move will help the college remain competitive at a time when applications to law schools are decreasing nationally and students are concerned about debt loads and job prospects. She says the ultimate aim is to maximize graduates’ ability to follow their hearts and take jobs they love, and keeping student debt to a manageable level is a critical part of that effort.
“The University of Iowa College of Law has long been recognized as providing high quality for an affordable price. We want to take a leading role in the evolving face of legal education and ensure our place as a best value proposition among the top public law schools,” said Agrawal in a statement.
Agrawal points out that despite the current challenges in the legal profession, the law school continues to enjoy a high placement rate for its graduates, with 94% of the Class of 2012 employed in the legal field within nine months of graduation–above the national average of 84%.
The College of Law is also adding and expanding degree programs. It has added an innovative new program that allows foreign-educated attorneys to receive a U.S. law degree in two years, revamped its Masters in Law (LLM) degree, and also created a new doctoral-level law degree, the SJD.
In addition, the College of Law said that it has signed 3+3 agreements with several undergraduate institutions in Iowa that will allow qualified students to receive a bachelor’s and law degree in six years instead of the usual seven. Discussions are continuing with other Iowa undergraduate institutions to expand the 3+3 program. Agrawal says the 3+3 option will allow participating students to pay one less year of tuition and get a year’s head start on their career.
“We are trying to make the choice to come to law school easier for those who aspire to become lawyers and are truly motivated to study law even in uncertain times,” she said.