Ave Maria School of Law, Law Schools, Money, Student Loans, Trendspotting

Law Schools Join the Ranks of Institutions Averse To Profiteering During a Rough Economy

You can’t call it a trend just yet, but the University of New Hampshire School of Law has joined Maryland Law and Miami Law in the fight to keep law school tuition down during a still-recovering economy. The school reports it will not be raising tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year.

It’s a sad state of affairs when a law school holding the line on tuition is breaking news. But with nearly every other law school rushing to bilk students who will pay anything for a legal education (law schools at Stanford, Arizona State, and Minnesota spring to mind), it’s nice to see at least a couple of schools that regard their students as something more than profit centers.

Maryland announced its tuition freeze in December. The National Law Journal reports that Miami recently announced it would be maintaining a tuition freeze already in place. Now UNH Law is joining their ranks. There’s still plenty of room on this bandwagon if your law school would like to take a brief break from molesting your financial future.

Not that UNH Law is cheap, especially for a third-tier law school. But this tuition freeze is another indication that UNH is at least trying to think about legal education in a somewhat realistic way…

You’ll remember that not too long ago, UNH merged with Franklin Pierce Law Center. Franklin Pierce had a decent reputation for its IP law offerings, UNH Law now hosts the Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property, and the world can rejoice over New Hampshire acquiring an existing law school instead of starting a brand new one. You take your good news where you can get it.

But if you couple that with the tuition freeze, gosh, it looks like New Hampshire might be seriously asking “how can we give value to our students,” instead of “how can our students make us more money.” From the school’s press release:

According to John Broderick, Dean of UNH School of Law, “The decision to hold the line on tuition increases is a significant step toward improving the value proposition of law school in these challenging times. Given the current economic climate and the debt loads that law school graduates are facing, a tuition freeze is one very tangible way to demonstrate our commitment to our students.”…

Susan Richey, associate dean of the law school, said, “We are committed to providing a top-quality legal education to the broadest possible range of students. By bucking this trend of ever-increasing law school tuition, we expect to attract even more students interested in our pioneering, practice-ready curriculum.”

Maybe UNH Law is serious? But they’ll have to hold the line on tuition in future years as well if they want to bring their current tuition in line with the realities of the job market for UNH graduates:

NH School of Law does not receive funding from either the state of New Hampshire or from the University System of New Hampshire. Tuition at UNH School of Law for the current year, and for next year, is $39,900.

I mean, by the logic of Stanford Law Dean Larry Kramer, Stanford should charge $80,000 a year if UNH is charging almost $40K.

In any event, congratulations to students and prospective students at UNH, Maryland, and Miami. It must be nice to feel like your administration isn’t a fan of open price gouging.

(The NLJ also reports that Ave Maria has promised to freeze tuition, but we all know how to react when Ave Maria gives people its word.)

Three law schools freeze tuition rates [National Law Journal]

Earlier: Kudos to Maryland Law for Protecting Its Students from Tuition Increases
Franklin Pierce Law Center In Talks to Merge with University of New Hampshire
Stanford Law Dean Explains Why Stanford Law Deserves a Bigger Tuition Hike Than the Rest of the University

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