NEW YORK (MainStreet) In the price war over law school costs during a time of student loan sticker shock, state schools may be the ones to blink when it comes to tuition give-backs. Those looking to fill out graduating classes may have few alternativesespecially with law school students loans routinely topping six figures.
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A case in point is University of Arizona College of Law, where a second round of tuition cuts is expected this fall. Out-of-state students will pay $29,000, a roughly 30% reduction over the $38,841 charged during the fall of 2013, according to an Arizona Board of Regents report last month. It's also about half the price of the priciest public law schools over the border in California.
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Dean Marc Miller of the University of Arizona College of Law told the Arizona Daily Star that the school isn't trying to undermine its peers.
"We're responding to the market in changing times," he said. "It will have more students looking at us more seriously early on."
"The drastic decrease in law school applicants nationally since 2008 means a much more competitive environment for attracting the best students from Arizona and beyond," said the University's proposal for the change in non-resident fees. The new fee structure was recently approved by the Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the state's public universities.
The University of Arizona is following a trend, however, not starting one. In the last year alone, Brooklyn Law School, Penn State Law School, La Verne College of Law and the University of Iowa College of Law have cut prices in a similar tuition fire sale.
Tuition at many state schools is low to begin with. At North Carolina Central University Law School in Durham, for example, in-state tuition is a dirt-cheap $6,856. Out-of-state students pay three times as much--but that's a still-dirt-cheap $18,956. At CUNY Law School in Queens, where public interest law rules, in-state tuition is $10,610, while out-of-state it's $16,510. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg called CUNY Law Queens "an institution of incomparable value."
Both made the U.S. News & World Report list of the Top Ten Least Expensive Public Law Schools, as did the University of Mississippi, founded in 1854 with just over 500 students. Out-of-state tuition at Ole Miss is $19,620, in-state is $9,350.
The remaining seven are Florida A&M University Law School in Orlando, the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke Law School, the University of North Dakota School of Law in Grand Forks, the University of South Dakota Law School in Vermillion, the University of Wyoming in Laramie, the University of Montana in Missoula (with a student body of 83) and West Virginia College of Law in Morgantown.
The highest priced public law school is the University of Michigan, where in-school tuition is $49,784 while out-of-state it's $52,784.
--Written by John Sandman for MainStreet
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