There's an interesting reality these days when it comes to applying to law school, and it's something we've touched on before: not for forty years (at least!) have people faced such little competition! The empty building of the image here is a touch dramatic to be sure, but the numbers are alarmingly low and haven't bottomed out yet. As my colleague Nikki astutely pointed out in the afore-linked post, "If you're one of these applicants, congratulations!"
And while his post explored the ramifications of, as well as the likely reasons behind, the record-low applicant count, there's an additional point I want to emphasize, and one that could ultimately save you thousands of dollars in tuition.
In a New York Times article written by Elizabeth Olson earlier this month, she makes the very compelling--I'd argue undeniable--case that "students are increasingly in control as nearly all of the 204 accredited law schools battle for the students with the best academic credentials [emphasis mine]." What that means is that, like never before, you, the applicant, have the power to make requests, demands even, of the schools to which you're applying. That's a tremendously empowering idea, obviously, but let's consider how you might wield that leverage to a financially beneficial outcome.
There's a brief mention in that article of Emily Trieber, a 24-year old 1L at Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, R.I., who--and this is the key!--successfully negotiated to actually increase her scholarship offer! "Then I asked for more," she notes, and more she got. By treating her attendance and fees as "a business relationship," Ms. Trieber reduced the nearly $34,000 annual tuition down to between $20,000 and $25,000, a savings of more than thirty grand over the three years she'll be there.
This is the stuff of car dealerships, not loan rates, and yet here we are! The takeaway then is, in the apt words of Ms. Trieber, that "it doesn't hurt to ask." So ask! You're in control in a fairly unprecedented way, with schools often desperate for your money...use that to your advantage and negotiate your way to a more affordable law school experience!
Have any questions? Comments? Let us know below!
Image "Radioactive" courtesy of Shane Gorski.