Florida mayor commits $5M in public funds to help open new law school
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The mayor of Jacksonville, Florida, has committed to contribute $5 million in public investment to help open a new law school in the city.
Jacksonville University announced plans to open the law school in the fall 2022 with city and private funding, according to a press release.
The city contribution would be in the form of a grant the first year and loans that would be forgivable, according to the Jacksonville Daily Record. The $5 million commitment still must be approved by the Jacksonville City Council.
The university expects that the inaugural law school class will have 20 to 30 students. By fall 2024, total enrollment is projected to be 150 students. Tuition will be $36,000, according to the Jacksonville Daily Record.
Speaking at a news conference, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said Jacksonville is currently the largest city in the United States that does not have a law school.
The city’s previous law school, the troubled Florida Coastal School of Law, closed under a teach-out plan approved in 2021 by the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which accredits law schools. The closure followed the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to bar access to federal financial aid by the school’s students.
Jacksonville University plans to begin the accreditation process in spring 2023 with the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. The school’s goal is to gain provisional accreditation by the time that the first class of students graduates.
A Jacksonville University spokesperson told Law.com that the university is conducting a national search for a law dean. Students who want to apply for the law school can visit ju.edu/law. All applicants will be considered for merit scholarships of up to $14,400. The school hopes that additional private scholarships will be available.