1. Get 'em while they're hot. Hardly a week goes by that I don't make my familiar public service announcement: Don't throw your good money away at a bad law school. I still hold to that, with one caveat: If a law school offers you a bundle of money to attend, what's the downside in going? Sure, it's three years of your life, but, hey, it's still three years of hanging out on a campus, deferring the real world. So what's not to like?
Faced with declining enrollment, some law schools are giving out scholarships like yesterday's doughnuts. Reports The National Law Journal:
Law schools experienced a 25 percent decline in applicants nationwide during the past two years, due in part to the tight job market for new lawyers and a more widespread understanding of the high costs of attending. Many have responded by accepting a larger percentage of applicants and sweetening their scholarship packages, in hopes of locking in prospective students.
Even students with less than stellar creds are getting money. Thomas Rozinski, a prelaw adviser at Touro College, for example, told the NLJ that a student with low LSAT scores and GPA got a $75,000 scholarship to a second-tier school: "She was at the bottom of their range. . . . Quite frankly, I was surprised she got in at all."
Moreover, schools are dipping into the wait list to fill seats:
The University of Michigan Law School is ranked number 10 by U.S. News & World Report, but a larger than normal number of its admittees are getting the nod from even higher-ranked schools, where they had been put on wait lists, said assistant dean for admissions Sarah Zearfoss. "Wait list activity is way up," she said.
So what's the downside of going to law school if you're able to upgrade to a better school and get a chunk of scholarship money? Well, the market for lawyers still stinks.
Oh, that little ole thing: J-O-B.
2. U Mass Law School caps tuition: Ok, so its accreditation isn't quite complete, but if you're dead set on going to law school, consider this latest bargain. Reports the NLJ:
In a dramatic move to address concerns about rising tuition costs, the University of Massachusetts School of Law–Dartmouth announced on June 21 that it would freeze tuition and fees for three years.
That means annual tuition for full-time in-state students will remain at $23,068 through the 2014–15 academic year, while tuition and fees for out-of-state residents will be $30,760. Average tuition for in-state students at public law schools was $22,116 in 2011, according to the American Bar Association. The average was $34,865 for nonresident students.
UMass-Dartmouth chancellor Jean MacCormack told the NLJ that that freezing fees "is the right and smart thing to do" in light of the fact "that we are just beginning our journey."( The ABA has granted provision accreditation to the two-year-old law school.)
Translation: If you're willing to gamble on our untested product, we'll sell it to you at a discount.
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