Law Schools

Harvard law students should get a free education, activists say

Harvard Bridge

Harvard Bridge. Image from Shutterstock.

Student activists at Harvard Law School are calling for the elimination of tuition “as a matter of justice.”

The group Reclaim Harvard announced its position on its website, the National Law Journal (sub. req.) reports. The group says the law school could find other ways to fund operations, including drawing on its unrestricted endowment and cutting faculty salaries.

The group argues educational costs disproportionately burden students of color because their families are less likely to be wealthy. High tuition costs create a barrier to attending law school and constrain the career choices of graduates carrying high student debt, the group says.

Reclaim Harvard noted the school helps grads pay off their loans if they work in low-paying public interest jobs, but the group said the program doesn’t go far enough.

Law school spokesman Robb London told the National Law Journal that it is deeply committed to expanding access to the law school for the best students regardless of their backgrounds, but “eliminating tuition is unsustainable.”

It costs more to provide an education than the full tuition price of about $58,000, and 80 percent of law students already get grants or assistance, London said. He also said there are restrictions on the school’s nearly $1.9 billion endowment. Even if it could be used to fund tuition, its dissipation would require the school to eventually rely on tuition to cover costs, London added.

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