Penn State offers grants for in-state law students to reverse drop in applications
By Anna Orso
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, 4:51 p.m.
STATE COLLEGE — As law school applications drop sharply across the nation, Penn State is slashing tuition almost in half for Pennsylvanians pursuing a law degree.
At the moment, Penn State's law degree programs at its Carlisle and University Park campuses cost the same for in-state and out-of-state students, $41,088 per year.
University officials announced this week that in-state students will receive a $20,000 grant, renewable for three years for a $60,000 total discount as part of its Commonwealth Scholars program. The program will be available to prospective law students enrolling in fall 2014 and after.
“We have a superb academic program with some of the nation's finest classroom teachers,” Interim Dean James Houck said in a news release. “Yet, our research shows that some individuals are unable to take advantage of it because of cost. This program will increase access to legal education for well-qualified Pennsylvania residents who otherwise may not have considered us.”
Law school application and enrollment numbers are decreasing across the nation. According to the American Bar Association, law school applications for fall 2013 dropped 17.9 percent from the previous year. Penn State has seen a steeper decrease in applicants, dropping from 4,848 in 2011 to 1,885 this year.
Penn State Law spokeswoman Ellen Foreman said part of the reason why the university introduced the Commonwealth Scholars program was because Penn State's lack of a discount for in-state students was hindering enrollment.
Foreman said the university for three years surveyed students who were admitted to the school but chose not to attend. The primary reason students identified for not attending was cost.
The tuition decline would put Penn State in competition with other state-related schools in the state. According to the schools, Pitt's law school tuition for in-state students is $29,660, while Temple's is $19,722. With the Commonwealth Scholars program, Penn State's yearly tuition for in-state students would be $21,088.
Penn State was noted as having the highest first-time bar passage rate in the state, based on the July 2013 exam. Penn State continues to seek separate accreditation for its University Park and Carlisle campuses as a way of attracting more students.
Anna Orso is a freelance reporter based in State College.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- Starkey: Penguins’ arrogance astounding
- Matt Calvert’s goal in double OT evens series for Blue Jackets
- Second-period short-handed goal gives Blue Jackets momentum
- Saturday essay: Resurrection
- Shaler track star Schwartz in class of her own
- Tax law proves its worth by bringing in lost revenue
- Real estate notes: Work on expansion to Pediatric Specialty Hospital to begin
- Penguins’ Gibbons scores twice but leaves with apparent injury
- Draftees’ longevity key for NFL success
- Mail for IRS delivered to Squirrel Hill home