Pace Law School’s Tuition Matching Program

Many law schools are having trouble attracting students to apply. They’re trying to get creative. There’s the LSAT optional gimmick. There’s also a plan to put law school online.

Recently Pace University Law School, in New York, announced a new one. According to the school:

Pace Law School today unveiled a first-in-the-nation tuition matching program designed to make legal education more accessible to students across the country. The program, which will save students tens of thousands of dollars, enables qualified students from throughout the United States to enroll at Pace Law at the in-state tuition rate of their home state. This will allow those students for whom a legal education in New York might be out of reach to benefit from Pace Law’s pioneering and cutting-edge legal education, clinics and externships in the New York City, Westchester County and Southern Connecticut marketplaces. The new tuition matching program will begin with the 2015/16 academic year.

Pace, like many schools, is facing a problem: because the job market for law school graduates remains weak even years after the Great Recession’s end, qualified college graduates aren’t eager to law schools like Pace anymore.

Maybe making it cheap could help.

The in-state tuition rate at public law schools across the country is lower…. For example, this year’s tuition at the University of Arkansas’ Law School is $14,508. Using those numbers, a qualified student from Arkansas entering Pace Law School would be saving just over $30,000 per year. In-state resident tuition for public law schools in states such as Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts are $22,230, $33,162, and $18,402 respectively.

Pace, which is private, normally costs $45,376 a year.

But students would still be taking a great risk in deciding to enroll at Pace. This new initiative is part of an effort to stem the flow of people away from third tier schools like Pace, whose average LSAT scores have been dropping for several years.

Despite these “pioneering and cutting-edge legal education, clinics and externships,” the school has the worst job placement rate of any law school in the empire state. Only 49 percent of the class of 2013 obtained full-time, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.

Well, at least now it’ll be more affordable.

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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