Incoming law students at the UA’s James E. Rogers College of Law will pay higher fees for their education, but administrators hope students see it as a trade-off for a better education.
“People have the mindset that you get what you pay for, and it truly is worth it,” said Verlaine Walker, the coordinator for the pre-law advising program.
The Arizona Board of Regents decided in its Nov. 21 meeting to raise the fees for both the juris doctor and master of law degrees to $8,250. These fees will apply only to new students in each degree program, and will be in addition to the college’s tuition.
Those already working toward degrees will continue to pay the fees they paid when they started at the college.
The fees for students in the JD program were $6,750 and will increase by $1,500 beginning next fall.
Students seeking an LLM degree were paying $7,750 in fees, which will also increase to $8,250.
The revenue the funds bring in will be divided two ways.
The school is required to devote 15 percent of the fees to financial aid. The other 85 percent will be used towards faculty, staff and the law library, said Nancy Stanley, assistant director of development and public relations at the college.
The law library needs funds to maintain the collection and update technology, said Michael Chiorazzi, a professor of law and director of the law library.
Toni Massaro, the dean of the College of Law, said the students have been supportive because they see the benefits in a direct relation between cost and quality.
“Our students have supported this because they recognize the value of attending a school with top-flight teachers and scholars,” Massaro said.
With more money, the school can focus on recruiting and retaining faculty and using the reputation the college already has to help students earn back the money spent on education.
“I don’t think (the increase) is going to have a large impact,” Walker said. “Our school is one of the best buys in the state and the country.”
It costs $23,000 per year to educate one student, said Stanley, but tuition this year was just above $10,000 for Arizona residents. The fees are added to the cost of tuition, but comparatively, the UA has one of the lowest tuition rates.
“We’re ranked in various studies as a real good value,” Stanley said.
Of the top 25 public law schools in the nation, the UA sits in the 16th spot by tuition, below the average of about $13,000.