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Wayne State University Law School Freezes Tuition and Offers Scholarships
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Wayne State University Law School Freezes Tuition and Offers Scholarships

Summary: Wayne State University Law School will freeze tuition for the next academic school year and will offer scholarships to both current and incoming students. The school hopes that the move will increase enrollment and lower student debt.

The Free Press reports that Wayne State University’s Law School has decided to freeze tuition for the next academic school year. The law school will also offer a scholarship to every incoming student in hopes that a law degree will become more affordable. In addition, the law school is optimistic that the move will increase the declining enrollment at the school, which is located in Detroit.

  
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All in all, the freeze and extra scholarship money will equal roughly a 14% tuition cut for all incoming students. Dean Jocelyn Benson said, “For us, it is really important to ensure that everyone has access to quality legal education. Not only do we want to make sure everyone has access to legal education, but also help with the rising student debt.”

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Eric Lloyd, a junior at Wayne State University, is considering law school and is encouraged by the idea of a tuition freeze. “It’s so expensive to go to law school and if you go, you almost have to get a corporate job to pay off all that debt. Anything to hold down cost is good,” he explained.

Annual tuition costs will remain at $28,138 through at least the 2015-2016 academic year. As a comparison, tuition at the University of Michigan law school is $25,490 per semester.

At least $4,000 in scholarship money will be provided to all incoming students. However, the scholarships will not only be offered to incoming students, but also to current ones: close to $1 million will be offered to current students at the law school.

The school’s enrollment has taken a hit lately, as have most other law schools across the country. This year, 419 students made up the incoming class. Last year, 484 were enrolled as incoming students.

The nationwide decrease in enrollment is impacting several schools in Michigan. A few weeks ago, Cooley Law School announced that its Ann Arbor campus would close at the end of the year. Enrollment at Cooley has dropped over 40 percent over the past few years, falling from 3,931 in 2010 to 2,334 in 2013-2014.

The scholarships are being funded by private donations, mostly from alumni. The scholarships will be both merit-based and need-based, Dean Benson said. The school expects that students will be able to work more internships if tuition remains lower. With lower tuition costs, students will not feel as much pressure to work full-time during school. In addition, student loan debt will be lower for graduates. Dean Benson said, “We want them to make these decisions (about where to work after graduation) without concerns about how much they have to pay back.”

On average, graduates of the law school have federal direct loans in the amount of $44,398. When graduate PLUS loans are included, the total increases to $61,020.

Wayne Law is ranked at Number 87 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Law Schools for 2015.

Photo credit: excellenceinlawschool.com



 

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