MORGANTOWN – The West Virginia University College of Law will begin to offer a tuition break to residents of other states who graduate from any college or university in West Virginia.
Gregory Bowman, the dean of WVU's College of Law, said he believes the offer is an important way to keep top students in West Virginia after they complete other degrees in the state.
Beginning in fall 2017, non-residents who graduate from a public or private higher education institution in West Virginia will be eligible for in-state tuition at the WVU College of Law.
Bowman said the college already has received several serious admissions inquiries in response to the tuition break.
“We definitely anticipate increased interest in WVU Law form the non-resident students who benefit from this program,” Bowman told The West Virginia Record. “We have become a viable option for those students who would otherwise return to their home state for law school.”
Bowman said WVU Law does not yet have any exact figures on how many additional admission requests could come from the offer. He said information from the law school admissions council indicates there are currently about 100 undergraduate non-resident students at West Virginia colleges and universities who have expressed an interest in attending law school in fall 2017.
Overall, Bowman said the application pool is larger if one considers all the non-residents who already have graduated from an institution of higher learning in the state and are interested in a law degree.
To qualify for the new loyalty tuition program, students must earn a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited college or university in the state of West Virginia.
“We are offering non-resident students a more affordable way to earn a J.D. from a top-rated, best-value law school without leaving West Virginia,” Bowman said.
Based on current out-of-state tuition at the College of Law, each student who qualifies for the loyalty tuition program could save more than $16,000 a year. About 23 percent of this fall’s entering class is from out of state, the law school said. Tuition for the 2017-2018 school year will be set by the WVU Board of Governors.
The College of Law offers a wide range of financial support, and more than 70 percent of its students receive scholarships.
Bowman said he believes WVU Law is the first law school to offer this specific tuition-savings model.
“There’s a real need to find creative ways to manage student debt, at both the graduate and undergraduate level,” Bowman said. “We think this is a viable solution and we are happy to lead the way.
"This is a win-win scenario that’s about creating opportunities. Law students can save a considerable sum of money on tuition while remaining in a state that they already call home. In return, West Virginia can retain some of its best and brightest students who have the potential of playing an important role in the state’s future.”