U Of M Law School Prepares For No State Funding

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With another round of cuts to higher education expected from the Legislature this year, the University of Minnesota Law School is adapting in a dramatic way — by working toward financial independence.

Law school officials say if the cuts continue, their share of the university’s state money could dry up completely within a few years. If that happens, they will have to rely on private donations and tuition.

Law school Dean David Wippman told Minnesota Public Radio he thinks the law school will lose most of its remaining state funding this year, and could lose all of it shortly after that.

Currently, about 12 percent — or just over $5 million — of the school’s $42 million budget comes from the state. University administration decides how the state dollars are allocated.

Even without public money, Wippman said the law school would remain public and would still be a part of the University of Minnesota system.

The possibility comes as the school embarks on a major fundraising effort: the Generations campaign. The five-year campaign comes with a $70 million goal, most of which is expected to come from law school alumni. Needy students will get $30 million of that in the form of financial aid scholarships.

Twin Cities attorney Bruce Mooty, a 1980 graduate of the law school and co-chair of its fundraising campaign, said when he was at the school, state support made up about 80 percent of its budget.

“It will probably be zero in the not too distant future,” Mooty said.

Law school officials don’t expect they’d need to increase class sizes in the event they reach the point of financial self-sufficiency, but they would need to increase the price of tuition.

That’s a scary thought for second-year law student Ben Tozer. He and his classmates already pay $30,000 per year in tuition and fees.

“It’s definitely something they wonder and worry about,” Tozer said. “There’s a lot of concern about how it’s going to affect tuition.”

If tuition does shoot up to offset the loss of state funds, law school officials said they would then direct more money toward scholarships for students.

The school would join a handful of public law schools across the country that don’t receive state funding.

The University of Virginia law school adopted the model nearly a decade ago, and Arizona State University set a goal of becoming self-sufficient in five years. ASU is currently 34 percent publicly funded.

To replace state funding, ASU officials said they’d need to increase their $21,000 per year tuition and fees and make way for bigger incoming classes.

University of Minnesota officials are in the process of determining whether the financial self-sufficiency model could be implemented in other schools of the university.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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    […] U Of M Law School Prepares For No State Funding Posted in Arizona Financial Aid Tags: another-round, education, from-the-legislature, […]

  • ShagCarpet

    We don’t need anymore damn lawyers – who cares about this nonsense?

  • Born Liberal ... Die with Love for Mankind

    Yep, gotta dumb down those lairs (lawyers). A little too smart for their britches … I oughta know I got two in my family and they both voted for Obama …

  • Victim Du Jour

    The Corporate Run Media makes such a big deal about Corporations making political contributions.

    Yet Lawyers contributed 39 Million Dollars in the 2008 Election, 81% to Democrats, Twice as much as big oil according to “Reality Check”

    I’m guessing That’s why the Government doesn’t Even have to produce physical evidence of a crime to charge people a felony offense.

    Thats why they are so big on bully laws, so Public Education is a settle out of court gravy train.

  • Zeke199

    Statistics don’t lie, people merely lie about or hide the statistics….

    Check the ratios of graduating lawyers vs. engineers & scientists.
    Japan historically has graduated 10% the number of lawyers as the US.
    Japan historically has graduated between 2 – 10 times the number of engineers.
    China & India are graduating MANY MORE engineers than the US.
    How many American designed products do you use anymore? Very few.
    How many American-made products do you use? Next to none.

    So now tell me, why should we be funding more of what we don’t need – LAWYERS?!?

    When’s the last time a practicing lawyer designed anything other than a lawsuit or political campaign??? Sure, some engineers obtain law degrees but this is VERY RARE.

    Lawyers earn plenty of money throughout their careers & seldom face layoffs, so let them pay for their own educations rather than taxpayers!!! Sort of stupid to pay for someone’s education who may turn around & sue you for something…

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