University of Baltimore Plans to Steal Less of its Law School’s Money

In July Phillip Closius resigned his position as dean of the law school at the University of Baltimore, alleging, among other things, that too much of the law school’s tuition went to the university itself. As he complained:

The amount and percentage for the law school revenue retrained by the University has increased, particularly over the last two years. For the most recent academic year, our tuition increase generated $1,455,650 in additional revenue. Of that amount, the School of law budget increased by only $80,774. I do not know of any law school in the country receiving such a small percentage of its generated tuition revenue. A recent article in the New York Times noted that a 25-30 percent revenue retained by a university was considered high by national standards. The University [of Baltimore] retained approximately 45 percent of the revenue generation by law tuition, fees, and state subsidy.

I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable justifying tuition and fee increases to law students when the money was actually being used to fund non-law University initiatives.

The university denied his allegations. The president said that 13.7 percent of law school revenues went to the university “after allocating costs related to the law school’s regular operation,” whatever that means.

But it looks like Closius was onto something. According to an article by Steve Kilar and Childs Walker in the Baltimore Sun:

University of Baltimore administrators announced Wednesday that they would boost the law school’s base operating budget by $5 million over the next five years.

The increase will be funded by giving the law school a larger percentage of the revenue it generates, [University of Baltimore President Robert] Bogomolny said, in addition to stepped-up fundraising and possible tuition hikes. The extra money could be used to expand the faculty, improve digital library offerings and shore up some of the school’s weaker programs, he said.

This decision comes after the American Bar Association wrote in its accreditation report for the law school that it was difficult to understand why the university was “siphoning off large percentages of law school proceeds.”

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer