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University of Minnesota Law Needs More Money Again
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Summary: The University of Minnesota Law School is struggling financially due to low enrollment numbers so they are seeking additional support.

There is no doubt that the low law school enrollment numbers have affected every law school. The University of Minnesota Law School is feeling those effects in their finances. The law school is now seeking additional funding to help support them as they deal with low enrollment by keeping their admission standards up, according to Minnesota Daily.

  
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The Board of Regents will vote in two days on University President Eric Kaler’s proposed funding increase for the law school. The increased funds will help balance their budget, offsetting their current deficit. The deficit is expected to be $4.1 million by the end of the fiscal year 2018, according to the school and the Office of Budget and Finance.

The proposed budget involves the University providing the law school with a one-time $1.9 million payment and annual operations funding for three years. Annual funding would start at $1.7 million, gradually decreasing to $1.3 million.

The repeated requests by the law school for additional funding has caused a debate over the law school’s high admission standards. Some are supportive of the additional funding requests, the latest request being in May during a presentation to the board.

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Law student Robert Dube said, “Obviously, everyone wants to see a time when we can get back to the budgets we had before the recession, but … I’d much rather have a school that decides to keep its standards.”

The law school ranks No. 20 by U.S. News and World Report. The rankings are based on admitted student LSAT scores, GPA, and more factors. Lowering admission standards could affect their ranking, which is something that many employers use to hire new graduates. Applicants from higher-ranked law schools are often looked at more favorably than other applicants.



The law school’s enrollment has dropped 23.5 percent since the fall on 2012. In order to make up for the lost students’ money, in-state tuition has increased by 16 percent since the 2012-2013 academic year.

The law school received $40.4 million from the University for the 2018 fiscal year. The additional funds are not significant, according to University Regent Michael Hsu but he does question the need for additional funding. He said, “The questions are, ‘How much is enough for the law school?’ and ‘Are their expenses out of control?’” He explained that while it does not seem like a large amount, adding on to their budget every year adds up. Hsu estimates that if the trend continues, the University could be giving the law school $100 million by fiscal year 2023.

He further compares their budget to the University of Michigan Law School. U.S. News and World Report ranks Michigan as No. 8, significantly higher than Minnesota. Michigan held an approximate $42 million budget for 2017’s fiscal year and has 1.5 times more students than their law school.

Hsu’s concern is that the University is neglecting their other graduate schools in an effort to maintain the law school. The medical school is tied for 46th in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Do you think the law school could be doing more to tighten its budget? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about the University of Minnesota’s financial struggles, read these articles:

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org



 

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