Brooklyn Law School’s (BLS) Board of Trustees today announced a 15 percent across-the-board tuition reduction, beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year. The cost reduction program further enhances an evolving package of student-centric initiatives designed to address the national challenges of law school accessibility, affordability, and quality.
Today’s announcement follows last year’s decision by BLS to freeze 2014 tuitions at 2013 levels. It marks an aggressive effort to address law school affordability and signals a significant step toward greater accessibility and diversity in legal education, according to Nicholas W. Allard, Joseph Crea Dean and Professor of Law.
“This is what a true and broad-based tuition reduction program looks like,” Dean Allard said. “Today, BLS is saying ‘enough’ to the spiraling tuition hikes that burden many students. Brooklyn Law School’s action creates a model for attacking the national problem of skyrocketing tuition costs. Law school is still expensive, and this is by no means the total solution. It is, however, a very important step in the right direction.”
The Brooklyn Law School package of initiatives aims to reach a broader array of students by featuring a wide variety of aid programs including:
* continued merit scholarships;
* the creation of the Dean Glasser Merit Scholarships for students with excellent GPAs;
* increased need-based aid;
* an expanded loan repayment program for graduates entering public-interest or other lower-income positions;
* a tuition freeze for current and incoming students; and,
* guaranteed below-market-rate housing for first-year students.
“Brooklyn Law School’s tuition reduction is a direct reflection of our strong financial position,” said Stuart Subotnick, Chairman of Brooklyn Law School’s Board of Trustees. “Through the generous support of alumni, opportunistic sales of unneeded real estate, and sensible cost reduction, BLS’s finances enable us to aggressively invest wisely in our educational programs and our students.”
Brooklyn Law School’s announcement follows a report released in January by the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education, which stated that “a widespread practice is to announce nominal tuition rates, and then pursue certain high LSAT or GPA students by offering substantial discounts (styled as scholarships) without regard to the recipient’s financial need. Other students, by contrast, receive little if any benefit from discounting and must rely extensively on borrowing to finance their education.” Similar issues have been raised by the New York State Bar Association and the New York City Bar Association.
“Over its 113-year history, BLS has been a pioneer, opening its doors to women, minorities, and the less advantaged. We have provided a gateway to opportunity. Tuition reduction continues that tradition,” Allard said. “This package of student-focused initiatives is the latest and most important step in Brooklyn Law School’s ongoing efforts to address the costs of legal education and the ability of law students to meet a fundamentally changing legal profession.”
Allard further asserted that lowering tuition is not just about BLS. “This is about addressing issues that every law school is grappling with – allowing qualified students from all backgrounds to become attorneys. It’s about students being able to graduate from law school without crushing debt. In turn, it’s about untold millions of Americans being able to have access to quality, affordable legal services.”
Noting that BLS has a long record of innovation in anticipating the future needs of its students with “prudent, educationally sound changes,” Allard pointed to innovations recently launched by BLS, including:
* the accelerated two-year J.D. program beginning this May, which provides students with greater flexibility in earning their J.D.;
* the implementation of the Public Interest/Public Service Fellowships (“PipS”), a two-year program encompassing the third year of law school and first post-graduate year that enables students to transition to law practice and have a guaranteed public interest-public service job after graduation;
* the newly launched Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE), which will be a hub for exploring legal issues surrounding entrepreneurship; and,
* the launch of Business Boot Camp, an intense “mini-MBA” in partnership with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, designed to teach law students valuable skills for succeeding in the business world.
“With all of our academic offerings and financial assistance, Brooklyn Law School is encouraging students to pursue a legal career that is based on their passion for law – both in the public and private sector – and not on the highest paycheck that will pay off their law school debt,” Allard said.