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Study Partly Blames Higher Law School Tuition on 40% Leap in Faculty Size

Posted Mar 10, 2010 10:20 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Law school faculties have increased an average of 40 percent over the last decade, helping boost tuitions that have more than doubled at public institutions.

The study by the National Jurist says the higher staffing levels at 195 ABA-accredited institutions account for 48 percent of tuition increases during the period studied, from 1998 to 2008. Average tuition during that time is up 74 percent at private schools and 102 percent at public institutions, the study says.

In terms of faculty-student ratios, there are twice as many law professors per student today as there were 30 years ago, the National Jurist says.

Indiana University law professor William Henderson says law school rankings by U.S. News & World Report are likely contributing to the hiring push.

“Law schools tend to believe that their faculty reputation is driven by scholarship and they are very interested in U.S. News,” Henderson told the National Jurist. “Lowering your faculty-to-student ratio improves your [U.S. News] ranking and increases time for scholarship.”

The full study will be released in late March.

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