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Tuition holds the line at UM Law

It seems students at the University of Maryland School of Law have already gotten a great present this holiday season: no tuition increase next year. This despite other schools within the University of Maryland, Baltimore seeing an average tuition increase of 4 percent for the 2011-2012 year.

UPDATE 12/17/10: A UMB spokesman reminded me that a tuition freeze does not happen just because the law school announces it. Tuition rates have to be approved by the Board of Regents, a vote that follows the General Assembly’s approval of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget.

In a memo to all UMB students about tuition and fees, published yesterday at Above the Law, President Jay Perman said the one-year freeze at the law schools was made “due to unique and striking changes in the economic environment for the legal profession.”

Law school Dean Phoebe Haddon, in a subsequent memo to law students also in ATL, elaborated:

Holding tuition at the current level in the upcoming academic year has been a top priority for me. The impact of the economic downturn on the legal employment market, combined with the large amount of debt many of you carry, has caused the faculty and administrators of the Law School great concern. Relative to the other professions, the legal sector has been especially hard hit, with tens of thousands of law jobs lost. Many of us also believe that this downturn is resulting in a fundamental restructuring of law practice that will require careful financial planning for all of us going forward.

Haddon added that the law school will make-up its shortfall to UMB by dipping into its short-term savings.

“I have been actively meeting with supportive alumni, friends and foundations seeking financial support so that the fund balance will be replenished,” Haddon wrote.

Calling UM Law alumni: Does the tuition freeze make you more likely to donate to your alma mater? Less likely? Or does it not affect your decision at all?