Indiana Tech Law School is reportedly tearing up the bill for all its students.
According to KPC News, the Fort Wayne school is giving 100-percent scholarships to every student in order to entice the 57 second- and third-year students to stay and to recruit a new class of first-year students. The story has gone national with several blogs, including Paul Caron’s Tax Prof Blog and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, picking up the news.
It is not clear what costs the scholarship offer covers. According to the law school’s website, yearly tuition is $29,500. Then, for on-campus residents, parking fees, books and supplies, room and board, and other expenses bring the annual total to $52,242.58.
The scholarship offer comes a few months after the American Bar Association denied provisional accreditation to the Fort Wayne school. Students already enrolled are likely having to decide whether to complete their studies at Indiana Tech or transfer since only those who graduate from accredited law schools are eligible to sit for the state bar exam.
Charles Cerone, the law school’s dean, did not respond to inquiries for comment. The school’s website, which does not have any information about the free ride, still posts a video of Cercone offering to match any scholarship offer a potential student might receive from another law school.
“What’s the catch?” asked Kyle McEntee, executive director of Law School Transparency, a nonprofit pushing law schools to be more forthcoming about their programs, pricing and graduate employment rates.
However, McEntee noted the full scholarship lowers the risk of going to an unaccredited law school and may entice students to enroll. Indiana Tech is providing some financial protection for students who decide to invest in legal education, he said.
The no-cost offer is requiring a financial commitment from the law school and its parent university, which made McEntee wonder “where is the school getting the money?” He speculated that since the law school has so few students, maybe the university is absorbing the costs. Or, he said, the school might be shifting the costs by planning to increase tuition at some point in the future for incoming classes of law students.
KPC News reported that Indiana Tech currently has 57 students and is trying to recruit a new class of 20. The law school is still taking applications and has scheduled an orientation for new students on Aug. 19.