This past week, Pace University Law School in New York announced an innovative legal program. If accepted to Pace Law, students will pay the same tuition as the public law school at their respective home state.
To be eligible for the reduced tuition program, students must be “loosely” above the median GPA and LSAT scores of their accepted class. To remain eligible, students must stay in the top 50 percent of their class throughout their time at Pace.
For qualified students, this could end up being quite the steal. Tuition at Pace is currently more than $45,000 per year. Let’s say you’re from North Dakota. In-state tuition and fees at the University of North Dakota School of Law is less than $11,000. That’s a $34,000 discount over one year — and could save students over $100,000 over three years. Students in Montana — where the in-state tuition is $12,000 — would enjoy similar savings. If your home state is any state besides Virginia, Michigan or California, this is a good deal.
However, sometimes you get what you pay for. Pace Law ranked No. 138 in the most recent U.S. News rankings—behind many state schools. Pace’s tuition reduction is part of a growing trend of lower-tiered schools trying to attract students as applicant and enrollment numbers plummet.
Recently, University of Arizona, Brooklyn Law School, University of Iowa College of Law, University of La Verne College of Law and both of Penn State’s law schools (Dickinson and University Park) have reduced tuition. Seton Hall in New Jersey has a similar tuition-matching program but it’s just to match with public law schools in New Jersey.
The program seems to stem from desperation. From 2011 to 2014, Pace applicants dropped from 2,735 to 1,436. David Yassky, Pace Law’s dean, says the tuition reduction is aimed at attracting students who want to practice law in New York but do not want to take on the additional costs of living in New York City. Pace is located in nearby White Plains, so the city is accessible.
Programs like this support the idea that it’s an ideal time to apply to law schools. It’s just might not be an ideal time to graduate from law schools.
Source: Wall Street Journal
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