Following up on my previous post, UNH Law School Budget Deficit Exceeds 100% Of Revenues: New Hampshire Public Radio, UNH Law Dean: School's Deficit Is Part Of Long-Term Strategy:
Law schools across the country have struggled in the last decade with declining enrollment.
In that time, the University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law has seen many changes. It’s no longer a private school and it’s seen growing deficits.
The school spent more than double its operating budget last fiscal year, but university officials say these losses are an investment in the law school’s long-term success and things are starting to look up.
NHPR’s Morning Edition Rick Ganley spoke with the dean of UNH Law, Megan Carpenter. ..
I understand you've got a long term strategy, of course, to increase enrollment. Numbers have gone up. But ideally, you should be breaking even at some point. I imagine that's the long term goal here. When does the school projected a financial return on all of this long term investment?
In higher education, we see an ebb and flow over time. Sometimes, you know, STEM is up and liberal arts is down. Sometimes liberal arts is up and STEM is down. That's why we really think of higher education in a holistic way. Higher education is not sort of designed to be a profit center. However, we project a breakeven point at 2023-2024. ...
What is your argument to an average resident in New Hampshire about why spending that much money to keep the law school afloat is worth it?
Well, I would say a couple of things. First of all, there is not an Amazon or an Apple that is created without investment. And the question isn't sort of limited to the amount of the investment. The question needs to expand to what is the overall return on that investment. So with our new hybrid program, for example, it's net positive of half a million dollars in the first year of its operation. And so our projections look very good for the next few years as we innovate in ways that respond to the marketplace. ...
But again, you're still in the red as far as running overall deficit?
Oh, yeah. Something else that's really important to think about when it comes to the role of the law school in the state of New Hampshire is that over 20 percent of all attorneys in the state are alumni of the law school. And what we see is that the law school is a very powerful economic engine to keep educated young professionals in the state.