Friday, June 22, 2012
In a dramatic move to address concerns about rising tuition costs, the University of Massachusetts School of Law-Dartmouth announced on June 21 that it would freeze tuition and fees for three years.
That means annual tuition for full-time in-state students will remain at $23,068 through the 2014-15 academic year, while tuition and fees for out-of-state residents will be $30,760. Average tuition for in-state students at public law schools was $22,116 in 2011, according to the American Bar Association. The average was $34,865 for non-resident students.
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Mary Lu Bilek, who will assume the school's deanship on July 1, said that public law schools have an obligation not only to be affordable for students but also to produce civic-minded lawyers.
"By controlling the cost of their education, we open up many more options for them," Bilek said. "Graduating from UMass Law, they will be able to consider using their skills for public and civic purpose because they will not be as heavily burdened by debt."
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Other law schools began freezing tuition in 2010, starting with the University of Miami School of Law. The following year, the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, the University of New Hampshire School of Law and Ave Maria School of Law froze tuition. However, those freezes were for one year only — no other school has committed itself to a multiyear freeze.
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