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UI Law school sees enrollment increase, tuition decrease

BY BRADY TRYTTEN | SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 5:00 AM

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The University of Iowa College of Law has seen a spike in enrollment this year, and officials said a cut in tuition might have something to do with it.

Law Dean Gail Agrawal said although law-school tuition has tended to increase substantially over the last decade, the UI law school’s tuition was cut approximately 16 percent this year.

“We had become concerned about law-student debt and graduates’ ability to service that debt at a time when the legal job market was challenging,” Agrawal said. “We were fortunate that the Office of the Provost and the Board of Regents supported a tuition reduction for the College of Law.”

The UI law college is one of the few law schools that have also seen an increase in enrollment. According to the Law School Admission Council data, the number of applicants for last fall decreased 15.9 percent.

“Last year, a very small number of law schools saw an increase in the number of applications,” Agrawal said. “We were one of those law schools.”

Janice Barnes, admissions coordinator for the law school, said the number of applications has declined over the past four years, except for this year.

From 2010 to 2012, the number of applications was more than 100, but steadily falling. In 2013, the number sunk to 93.

“The number of applicants to American law schools nationally has been declining steadily for the last several years, and we anticipate another decline soon,” Agrawal said.

However, this year, nearly 50 more people enrolled in the law school than last year, bringing the number up to 141 students enrolled.

“We were very pleased with the substantial increase in the number of applicants last year and the number and quality of our entering class this year,” she said.

Caroline Sheerin, the lecturer for Legal Analysis, Writing, & Research in the law school, said she thinks the enrollment also jumped because of a greater focus on recruitment efforts.

“We provided more opportunities for students to come to open house,” Sheerin said. “We had it three times last year. We think it really helped the boost the ‘why law’ and ‘why Iowa?’ aspect.”

Ben Gillig, a first-year UI law student, said he was proud to see the increase in enrollment.

“It’s exciting to see the college moving in the right direction,” he said. “The decrease in tuition costs this year is definitely helping the college come back.”

Gillig is hopeful about the future of enrollment at the school.

“It is beneficial for in-state and out-of-state students,” he said. “Everyone is trying to make the right choice for their future in law. Hopefully, we will see more improvement throughout the country as we move forward.”


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