University of Arizona law school cutting tuition as enrollment drops

2013-04-05T00:00:00Z 2013-04-05T10:33:58Z University of Arizona law school cutting tuition as enrollment dropsCarol Ann Alaimo Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 05, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The cost of a law degree is going on sale at the University of Arizona.

Faced with a 13.5 percent drop in first-year students this school year and a 36 percent decrease in applicants since 2005, the UA's law school is reducing tuition by 11 percent for in-state residents and by 8 percent for nonresidents.

Other UA students will see their tuition increase by 3 percent for the 2013-14 school year under changes approved Thursday by the Arizona Board of Regents.

A UA news release about the reduced tuition for law students made no mention of the dwindling demand for UA law classes.

It said the price cut "is part of the college's larger plan to help students manage law school costs."

The high price of law degrees is one of the factors driving enrollment declines at many law schools nationwide, UA law school spokeswoman Nancy Stanley said in an email interview.

The total annual tuition bill now for UA law students is $27,288 for those who live in-state and $42,298 for nonresidents.

The changes approved for next school year will shave about $3,000 a year from the bills of in-state students, with savings of about $3,500 for out-of-state students.

Another factor in declining law school enrollment is reduced job opportunities for lawyers in a flimsy economy.

In 2011, for example, 6 percent of 158 UA law school graduates were unemployed and seeking work. In 2012, 11 percent of 149 graduates were unemployed, according to UA data.

Some U.S. law schools have discussed capping enrollment to reduce the number of new lawyers entering the job market. UA has no such plans, Stanley said.

Across the country, several universities recently have faced lawsuits from law school graduates who said their alma maters didn't disclose how hard it would be to find work after graduation.

Stanley said the UA's law school plans to offset lost revenue from reduced tuition by creating new programs other than the juris doctor program to generate extra income.

Arizona's other public law school at Arizona State University "doesn't have any enrollment issues," ASU President Michael Crow said in an interview.

ASU is freezing law school tuition this year and has plans to expand its law program, he said.

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at calaimo@azstarnet.com or at 573-4138.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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