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Univ. of AZ Lowers Law School Tuition; Market Correction?

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

It's universally known that the legal job market is nonexistent for new graduates. Heck, The New York Times writes a story on it every week, it seems. The ABA released job data earlier this week for the class of 2012 and unsurprisingly enough, there were no jobs. We've also talked about how this is a "buy low" time for entering law students, as the number of applicants is nearly half of what it was a few years back.

Low demand. Low expectation of income upon graduation. High tuition. Too many schools and the same number of classroom seats. Something had to give.

The University of Arizona is the first law school that we can recall to actually lower its tuition. Of course, being the cynics that we are, our first thought was that the "lowered tuition" will simply mean fewer scholarships and less financial aid to other students.

Indeed, that is UA's plan, along with offering an LLM for non-lawyers (what?) and expanding its other legal degree offerings (doctor of juridical science? That'd better be more useful than a juris doctorate.)

Either way, the sticker cost for in-state residents has dropped 11% to $24,381 per year. Out-of-staters will pay $38,841, which is an 8% drop.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, the school's first-year class enrollment has dropped by 13.5% and applications for admission have dropped 36% since 2005. In the last year alone, with a "slowly recovering" economy, UA saw a 10% decrease in applications year-over-year.

We're almost certain that the University of Arizona isn't alone in having an application recession. So does their move signal the beginning of the market correction? Will other schools start slashing degree prices like it's Black Friday?

Our guess? Probably not. Even Arizona didn't actually slice tuition -- the school just redistributed the cost by cutting scholarships. It seems to be a market correction in name only, and may not be the best move for the school long-term.

Scholarships attract students with better admissions numbers. This increases your ranking. Cutting aid means cutting admissions numbers, which could lead to a lowered ranking and further depressed demand. Eventually, your school falls into a downward spiral and ends up in unranked/TTT land.

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