The St. Thomas School of Law announced Wednesday that it will freeze tuition for its incoming class and current second- and third-year students.
School of Law Dean Robert Vischer said the change is an effort to make the law school more attractive to students.
“We are always looking for ways to enhance the value proposition of law school for our students, and reining in tuition prices needs to be part of that,” Vischer said.
According to a university news release, all members of the class of 2017 who begin taking courses in fall 2014 will be guaranteed no tuition increases during the three-year juris doctor program. Also, the first-year tuition rate for these law students will decrease by more than $2,000 over the current rate by switching from a per-credit tuition model to a flat-fee structure.
Previously, students paid a higher first-year rate because of a heavier credit load in the first year compared to the second and third years. The flat-fee structure will be spread tuition evenly over three years at a rate of $36,843 annually.
Senior Lauren Valente plans to attend the St. Thomas School of Law next year and said the tuition freeze was comforting financially.
“It’s better than increasing. Planning to go an additional three years at St Thomas-it’s comfortable to know it’s not going to be increasing for next year because I am paying for it,” Valente said.
While increased enrollment is one goal, Vischer said he is not sure the tuition freeze will boost numbers.
“It is too early to tell whether that will result in increased enrollment, but it’s part of a broader message we’re sending that we will work very hard to make sure that UST Law is a prudent financial investment for our students,” Vischer said.
Valente said she thinks the freeze is novel for law schools and will positively impact the number of students deciding to attend the school.
“I think it will attract more students. It’s not very common to have law schools freeze their tuitions,” Valente said. “Money’s important to everybody, and if the price stays the same, then that’s reasonable.”