TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Harvard to Waive Tuition for 3Ls Who Agree to Work in Public Interest for 5 Years

Harvard Law, Hoping Students Will Consider Public Service, Offers Tuition Break (New York Times), by Jonathan D. Glater:

Concerned by the low numbers of law students choosing careers in public service, Harvard Law School plans to waive tuition for third-year students who pledge to spend five years working either for nonprofit organizations or the government.

The program, to be announced Tuesday, would save students more than $40,000 in tuition and follows by scant months the announcement of a sharp increase in financial aid to Harvard’s undergraduates. The law school, which already has a loan forgiveness program for students choosing public service, said it knew of no other law school offering such a tuition incentive.

Harvard’s third-year-free program is expected to cost the law school an average of $3 million annually over the next five years, Ms. Kagan said, but that number is just an estimate because it is unclear how many students will take advantage of the offer. The law school’s share of the university’s endowment of $34.9 billion is more than $1.7 billion.

From 2003 to 2006, as many as 67 and as few as 54 of the 550 students graduating from Harvard Law went to work for a nonprofit organization or the government. That translates to 9.8% to 12.1% of the graduating class. A vast majority of students have chosen to join law firms, where they can earn well over $100,000 a year immediately after getting their degree.

(Hat Tip:  Nonprofit Law Prof Blog.)

Update:  Harvard's press release is here (via Above the Law).

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