Law school discusses future of tuition increases

Students of the College of Law could see at least a $1,500 increase in tuition next year.

Interim Dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Doug Sylvester spoke to a group of about 40 law students Friday on the Tempe campus, explaining the reasons behind the increase within the college.

The College of Law proposed a differential tuition as a part of the 2011-12 Tuition Proposal. The $1,500 increase would raise the program fee from $12,750 to $14,250, according to the proposal.

This would be expected to produce $918,000 in additional revenue, according to the program fees summary.

“The money you guys are paying for tuition is not turning into BMW’s for the faculty,” Sylvester said.

The reason for the increase, he said, is to keep the law school running at its current capacity so that student services don’t need to be cut.

Another reason is reduced state funding.

Over the last three years, ASU has seen its budget cut by $200 million, Sylvester said.

Alumni donations have also been very low for the law school, he said.

The school has never made it a priority to engage alumni for donations, but more donations would help the school weather some of potential tuition increases, Sylvester said.

While still uncertain, if no additional revenues are made to offset future tuition increases, law students could see around another $1,500 increase for fall 2013, Sylvester said.

“I’m hopeful that it will be quite a bit less than that,” he said. “I am hopefully, truly optimistic … that it will be zero.”

Law student James Alling has been trying to educate his fellow students on what these changes mean.

“I think students really don’t feel that they have the ability to curtail change,” Alling said.

The dollar amount is not the only thing bothering students, but also the uncertainty of tuition increase in the coming years, Alling said.

“It’s a big unknown,” he said.

One option being discussed among students is to have the tuition increases grandfathered in. This would only increase the tuition of incoming students to the College of Law instead of spreading the burden among all law students.

Law student Ed Hermes is against the tuition increase but said if it has to happen, the increase should be grandfathered in.

After last year’s increase in law student tuition, Hermes said he has had to cut down his expenses significantly.

“We’re stuck where it’s more expensive to borrow money,” Hermes said. “We have to borrow a significant amount more and then it’s more difficult for us to pay off that money. We’re being squeezed from all sides.”

 

Reach the reporter at ryan.mccullough@asu.edu

 

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