Miami Law students will not see an increase in tuition as they enter the 2011-2012 academic year announced Dean Patricia D. White to the class of first-year students on Thursday.
"It is my firm hope to see that tuition will remain the same in your 3L year that it is in your 1L year," said Dean White to the students as they applauded and cheered inside the Gusman Concert Hall where the mandatory meeting was held.
"We're the only law school in the country that has done this for two years in a row," said Dean White. This means the graduating class of 2012 will not have experienced tuition increases since enrolling in 2009.
Many students appreciated the Dean's effort to reach out to students by easing this financial burden for another year.
"It shows how invested she is in our overall wealth, and shows she can empathize with being a law student," said Toam Rubinstien.
"The administration doesn't have control over the job market," said Jeffrey Ruskin, "but they do have control over tuition."
The rising costs of education can become crippling for law students entering a tight job market where law firms are paying less.
"Having debt in it of itself is a huge thing to have hanging over your head," said Amanda Gaveleck who took a moment to calculate the amount of debt she has accumulated during her undergraduate years at the University of Miami. She estimated her debt is around $20,000. "I don't want to think about it." She says this news makes a big difference in her life as she barely has enough to get by.
"It's nice to know that it's a couple thousands of dollars that I don't have to take out on loans."
While rates will remain the same for current students, incoming students will pay four percent more towards tuition rates set in 2009. This is a difference of $750 a semester.
This isn't the first time Dean White has made such an announcement.
Last year, Dean White reduced the per credit tuition amount charged for part-time attendance from $1,633 to current levels of $1,337. The per credit reduction facilitates students' ability to take summer classes without economic penalty as well as to take advantage of graduate courses offered throughout the University.
During the meeting, Dean White also took the time to announce scholarship opportunities varying from need-based, to merit-based and financial assistance for those interested in public interest.
First-year student Genevieve Valle wasn't aware of the amount of money provided to students who were currently enrolled at Miami Law. After learning students were awarded between $5,000 to upwards of $30,000 in scholarships, she now will apply knowing she has a chance.
"It gives hope to anyone who is in need," said Valle. "It's not limited to those select few who have reached those high heights."
Miami Law has also added a new, intensive, litigations skills course, which will enable students to achieve six credits over two-weeks. When combined with a study abroad course, externship, or traditional academic courses, this course enables students to essentially speed up their time in law school by a full semester.