The Law Schools That Offer The Biggest Tuition Discounts
Planning on applying to law school soon? Keen on sniffing out bargains? preLaw magazine has the report for you. They crunched American Bar Association grant and scholarship data from the 2013-2014 academic year and found law schools are spending more on scholarships than ever before. In fact, during said year, law schools spent a combined $1.12 billion on scholarships—36% more than the 2010-2011 school year.
“It’s never been a better time to apply to law school,” Jay Shively, assistant dean of admission and financial aid at Wake Forest University School of Law, told preLaw.
The school spending the most for each student enrolled? Brooklyn Law School. Brooklyn Dean, Nick Allard has been vocal about making law school more accessible for everyone and it appears he has quite literally put his money where his mouth is. His school awards an average of $25,404 per student. Next up was Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, which awarded an average of $23,407 for each student.
The median scholarship amount for full-time law students in the 2013-2014 school year was $8,667, with public schools dishing out $5,713 and private schools awarding $10,901. However, the school with the highest average tuition discount rate, perhaps the more valuable stat, was Liberty University School of Law, which had an average discount of 56.6% off their tuition. Ohio Northern University had the second highest discount at 48.5%.
According to the report, schools like Wake Forest are doing nearly everything they can to hold place in the U.S. News rankings—even if that means what is essentially buying students with merit-based scholarships. “It is not uncommon for schools who used to aim for a 15 to 30% discount to now be at 40 to 60%, just because they are trying to meet the goals in play with U.S. News,” Shively told preLaw. “Ours has significantly increased. We were at 15%, and now have more than doubled that.”
And Shively would know. When Wake Forest dropped from 31st to 47th because of low employment rates for the class of 2013, applications dropped significantly the next year, he told preLaw.
Shively even indicated that scholarship negotiations are welcomed and expected. “For candidates, it is a buyer’s friendly market,” he told preLaw. “We encourage applicants to include copies of other offers when we reconsider scholarships. Our goal is not to beat the other school so much as to get even with them. We look at total cost of attendance.”
In the meantime, deans like Allard are taking a different strategy. Starting with this fall’s incoming class, Allard reduced merit-based scholarships to slash tuition by 15% for all students. “When you reduce tuition, you deflate the fake sticker price,” Allard said to preLaw. “The scholarship arms race is an arms race to nowhere.”