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Brandeis School of Law Promised $2.4 Million in Scholarships Accidentally

The Brandeis School of Law, at the University of Louisville, promised incoming students $2.4 million more in scholarship money than they were scheduled to receive over the upcoming three years because of an error by the school’s admissions director. The admissions director resigned from the job on Monday. First-year students starting school next month had been budgeted $550,000 by the Brandeis School of Law in aid.

The school instead made offers to students that totaled over $1.3 million for one year. This was confirmed by Mark Hebert, a university spokesman. Hebert said that the law school will make good on the scholarship offers for all three years that the students are in the law school because “it is the right thing to do.” Hebert also said that the school will not run up a shortfall of $2.4 million that the law school will have to make up. Hebert said that if the school cannot make up the shortfall then cuts might have to happen to scholarships for first-year students next year or to other law school programs. “It will be a tall order for them to fill the hole in their budget,” he said.

The vice chairman of the U of L Foundation, Burt Deutsch, said that the university’s fundraising department will try to make up the shortfall by increasing fundraising initiatives.

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“The important thing is that the university is going to maintain its pledges to students,” he said. “Obviously somebody made a mistake and the people who shouldn’t suffer are students who accepted an offer of financial assistance in good faith.”

The university has begun an internal investigation to find out how the over-budget accident occurred, according to Hebert. Hebert also said that Brandon Hamilton, the assistant dean for admissions, resigned earlier in the week. Hamilton was making $56,496 per year in the position. It was not immediately known if the university demanded that Hamilton resign. Hamilton was employed by the university for 10 years and the law school for four years.

“All we can say is that he resigned and we are looking into it,” Hebert said. “At this time, we do not know of any criminal conduct but we are reviewing the entire matter and seeing where it takes us.”

The scholarships were promised to the incoming students during the spring semester of this past school year during the tenure of the law school’s former dean, Jim Chen. Chen was the dean from 2007 through earlier this school year. Susan Duncan, the interim dean, discovered the scholarship pledges two weeks ago. According to Hebert, 108 of the 140 incoming students were offered financial aid and ‘two-third to three-quarters of them’ received an award they should not have been given or received more than they should have. Students should have been awarded $4,000 but instead received $10,000.

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