Law Schools, Money, Student Loans

Enrollment Drops, Tuition Rises at Thomas M. Cooley Law School

Thumbnail image for Cooley law school logo.jpgThomas M. Cooley Law School — ranked #12 among ABA accredited schools, according to Thomas M. Cooley Law School — is looking to raise tuition. The school has been expanding, but apparently enrollment is down. So, predictably, the school decided to raise rates on its students.
An email informing Cooley students of the change was sent over the summer by Cooley’s president and dean, Don LeDuc. The last paragraph reads as follows:

Of course, we wish that we did not have to increase tuition, but the reality is that the cost of operation escalates and enrollment varies. The May 2009 class came in below the usual size, and transfers remain too high. Our operating revenue is tuition-based, so tuition must be set based on projected enrollment numbers. This year, the cost of financing our facilities at Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Auburn Hills increased due to the dislocation in the financial markets (the Ann Arbor facility is leased, so it does not contribute to the increased financing cost). It is in everyone’s interest to recruit new first-year students and to retain them in the second and third year.

How will students react to this?

One student thinks that this kind of email actually hurts Cooley’s ability to recruit new students:

Read what you want into that email; it struck me personally as irresponsible. This irresponsibility is what’s most troubling about Cooley to me; I think we can both agree that while Cooley deserves low marks for some things, a substantial amount of the scorn heaped upon the school (or at least its students and faculty) is unfair and unmerited. There are students here who, like me, weren’t restricted in their options to Cooley, but instead chose to attend the school for personal reasons. When the school does things like encouraging students to recruit new students, or publishing its own rankings, I feel like they fail to take into account the effect this has on the students and graduates; there’s an apparent disconnect between the administration, who are thumbing their noses at the status quo (and in many instances for good reason), and the students who basically come out with a scarlet letter in the eyes of some in the legal community as a result.

It seems strange that Cooley is having a recruitment problem given that law school applications generally are at or near record highs. That said, is raising tuition really the answer?
Earlier: Cooley Law School Develops More Useless Than Normal Law School Rankings
Great News! Cooley is Opening Another Law School Campus. Yay!

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