Wayne State Law Freezes Tuition and Offers New Scholarships
In an effort to boost enrollment and make tuition more affordable, Wayne State University’s Law School, located in Detroit, Michigan, will freeze their tuition and offer every incoming student a scholarship. In total, the tuition freeze and the additional scholarships will create about a 14 percent tuition cut for all incoming students. The tuition cut will keep the price tag at about $28,138 through at least the 2015-2016 school year.
Law school Dean Jocelyn Benson told the Free Press in an exclusive interview:
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.
In addition to the tuition freeze, the school will offer about $1 million a year in new scholarships for current students, as well as a minimum scholarship of $4,000 a year to all incoming students. These scholarships will be awarded both by merit and by need. According to Benson, the scholarships are being funded by private donations from alumni and other supporters.
Along with increasing affordability, this tuition cut is also in response to Wayne State Law’s declining enrollment, a fate that many law schools are facing these days. This year, they saw their enrollment drop from 484 students down to 419. Hopefully this strategy will work in the way it has for law schools such as the University of Arizona Law and Penn State Law. These institutions were set to boost their first-year class sizes by 22% to 52% this fall compared with 2013 according to an analysis done by The Wall Street Journal.
Benson has also shared that the goals for lowering tuition go beyond simply increasing enrollment and affordability. She said:
Creating value for students goes beyond affordability. Our location in the heart of Detroit during such a transformative time offers students access to hands-on legal experience in areas ranging from corporate law and entrepreneurship to public interest and civil rights that you cannot get at any other law school.
The goal is that with prices lower, students will not need to work full time while completing law school. This will give them the opportunity to do more internships and gain valuable hands-on experience in the legal field without the worry of a huge debt they need to pay off. Benson has stated: “we want them to make these decisions (about where to work after graduation) without concerns about how much they have to pay back”.
Eric Lloyd, a current junior in Wayne State’s undergraduate business program, likes the idea of a tuition freeze. While studying on campus last week, he said, “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 is considering going to Wayne State Law after he graduates.
If this drastic change in cost is successful, Wayne State Law will likely see major enrollment increases in the coming years.