Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Best news ever!

The following was great news in my mailbox today, from the Dean. I have selectively edited the email to show the highlights (in my opinion).

As many of you may have already heard or read in the newspaper, the U.C. Regents approved a fee increase of 15% for our students for next year. They also approved a plan that would increase fees by 13% for each of the two succeeding years. Total tuition and fees for in-state students are therefore estimated to rise to $31,113 for 2008-09 . . . In furtherance of this commitment, we will take several steps to ameliorate the impact of the fee increase for those who can afford it the least. We are going to increase financial aid significantly – more than 1/3 of this fee increase will go to directly to improving our financial aid . . . Since I became dean three and one-half years ago, I have repeatedly acknowledged that fees would need to increase to support our growth, especially in an era where state subsidies are unpredictable and trending downward. At the same time, though, I remain committed to keeping our fees lower than our peer institutions. According to our estimates, once the fee increases are implemented, the total cost of a year at UCLA School of Law for in-state residents will be approximately $6,500 less than peer public law schools such as the University of Michigan and University of Virginia and $13,000 less than our peer private law schools. Our fees will also be slightly lower than Boalt’s . . .

My thoughts:
1. Tuition this year was $26,856 and it will jump next year to $31,113. That's a lot. But at least I'll have to pay the increase for only one additional year.
2. By my math, tuition at my state school will be $35,157 for academic year 2009-2010, and $39,728 for 2010-2011 (adding on a 13% yearly increase--quintuple the rate of inflation).
3. And thus, the entering class next year will pay $105,998 for their three years of law school. I, by comparison, will have paid around $75,000.
4. Assuming the Dean's math, law school tuition in 2010-2011 will cost $46,228 (39,728+6,500) at UVA and Michigan for in-state tuition. Law school at USC will be $52,728 (39,728+13,000). Either law school is going to be really expensive in three years or I don't trust the Dean's math.
5. Again, I might not be the most logical person in the world, but I really don't get the point of increasing tuition and then turning around to give 1/3 of it back to students. Why not only increase the tuition by 2/3 of the proposal and let students keep the money?
6. I was at some 0L recruitment events last year, and I heard the Dean specifically try to sell students by saying "don't you realize that coming to UCLA is like getting an automatic $15,000 scholarship because we're cheaper than private schools?" I find it hard to believe that the school will be able to hold the same sway in terms of attracting T14 students as the price differential becomes smaller.
7. I know that higher education costs money, but did I mention that I am so glad that I will be paying the increase for only one additional year?


Blogger Counsellor in Cultivation said...

how daring of them to send out such a letter days after the WSJ article drops.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Strange Bird said...

Lucky. :-/

I am so upset about it because it's so WRONG. The most expensive private schools I applied to were only $40,000 per year, are probably not increasing by nearly this amount, and were significantly more generous with financial aid. Coming to UCLA over USC was actually like turning down a $10,000 scholarship when I started, and now it's more like turning down that scholarship and then having another $10,000 stolen from me for my trouble. I am REALLY disappointed.

3:37 PM  
Blogger buffalodawg said...

I can't believe that cost for in-state tuition. I was complaining about paying 9k per year. Never again...

8:48 PM  
Blogger Ian said...

The (relatively) cheap Canadian schools are pulling this shenanigan as well, I'm afraid.

To address your fifth point, financial aid is increased to keep all the most tragic cases out of the public eye. Deans don't get promotions by having single mothers struggling through law school suddenly being unable to pay. Joe 25 year old though, he obviously has too much money and will have to bemoan giving up things like food in non-noodle form. If you're still interested next year, watch for more of that financial aid going to less students as the administration trumpets how the average award has gone up substantially.

Get out of school!

1:35 PM  

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