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Education

University of Toledo lowers tuition for law school students

The University of Toledo is slashing the price of in-state tuition for its college of law by 13 percent. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the tuition decrease Monday for students who enter the law school in 2015.

Law School Dean Daniel J. Steinbock said the move was necessary to make the school more competitive. He said law schools across the country have seen drastic declines in the number of students applying to attend as tuition continues to rise.

“I think people decided law school was not going to give them a return on their investment. The main reason we are reducing our tuition is to make law school a better investment,” Mr. Steinbock said.

Just three years ago, more than 1,400 students applied to attend UT's college of law but this year that number dropped to 475 applicants.

The current law school tuition is $20,579 but the price will roll back to $17,900 in the fall of 2015 for in-state and Michigan students, which Mr. Steinbock said is comparable to 2010 tuition. The price for out-of-state students also will decrease from $33,752 to $31,074 in 2015, which is a nearly 8 percent drop.

“This is a response to a national trend that has seen applications drop at schools across the country. At some point the market responds to the price,” said Nagi Naganathan, UT’s interim president.

During his presentation to the UT board of directors Mr. Steinbock noted that several other schools including Penn State, Iowa State, and Arizona have reduced law school tuition in response to the downward trend in applications.

Data from the Law School Admission Council earlier this year showed that 2014 law-school applications had dropped for a fourth straight year. The number of applicants is down more than 37 percent since 2010, the council’s analysis showed.

The American Bar Association appointed a task force to look into the state of law school in the United States and in its January report the task force on legal education advised law schools to develop and implement plans to reduce the cost of tuition.

The report stated that “the current system for financing law school education harms both students and society.”

The cost of law school education at the University of Toledo has increased nearly 80 percent over the last 10 years. It rose from $11,511 in the 2004-2005 academic year to $20,579 in 2014, Mr. Steinbock said.

Kenneth Kilbert, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law, told the board that decreasing tuition is a low-risk proposition for the university because in the end it will result in increased enrollment in the law school.

No other Ohio law school has made the move to lower tuition for in-state students so “this will distinguish us from the pack,” he said.

The board unanimously approved a three-year contract agreement with about 1,900 University of Toledo Medical Center employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Ohio Council 8 and Local 2415. The agreement calls for wage increases of 2.5 percent in the first year and 1 percent in the two remaining years. It also reduces the employees’ monthly health-care premiums by 2 percent.

The union’s contract with UT expired June 30, 2012, and was extended for a year. The union has been working under a day-to-day extension.

“We are pleased with the agreement. When the new leadership came on board we ended up getting a tentative agreement,” said Randy Desposito, president of local 2415. He described the tone of the negotiations under the leadership of Mr. Naganathan as a 180-degree turn from the previous administration.

Staff writer Nolan Rosenkrans contributed to this report.

Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor at: mtaylor@theblade.com or 419-0724-6091.

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