Things are getting shaken up in the law school world aside from Yale and Harvard’s virtue signalizing by leaving the US News rankings at a time that has nothing to do with how recent judicial boycotts may impact their place on the list. Washington University School of Law has unveiled a new policy that promises to make learning torts in St. Louis a bit more bearable — free tuition!*
The economic relief comes at a great time — WashU clocks in as one of the most expensive law schools in the nation with a tuition of $64,000 a year. The terms come with a few caveats, of course. For example, if the person comes from a four-person household, tuition would be covered if the household brings in less than $55k a year. And while it is great that this high-ranking school is opening its doors to more people, let’s not forget that WashU has an almost $14 billion endowment. You’d think a school that could buy a fourth of pre-Elon Twitter could increase the window a little bit — a four-person household with two people making $15 dollars an hour are by no means millionaires approximate, but their combined annual income would put them at about $60k a year. The two-breadwinner household would have to make around $13 an hour at most for their family members to qualify for the full ride. Others have also drawn attention to the facially seeming generous criterion of the scholarship.
Baking Barrister probably definitely has a point. If the minimum wage kept in line with American productivity, it would be about $24 dollars an hour, a massive improvement from the $15 people are fighting tooth and nail for.
The good news is that the financial assistance does not stop at 200% of the federal poverty line:
In addition to the funding for low-income students, the school has announced that all admitted students will receive a scholarship designed with their challenges and goals in mind.
Each dollar counts. I personally can attest that without the scholarship WashU gave me I would have a lot more personal debt from school than I do now. I can also attest that the ~$180k price tag that came with my JD remains a heavy burden.
School Of Law Announces Tuition-Free Legal Education For Students From Low-Income Households [WUSTL.edu]
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by tweet at @WritesForRent.