Law School Applicants Decline in Kentucky and Nationally

Are you thinking about pursuing a career in law? Consider the current state of law school enrollment in Kentucky, which has seen an overall downward trend in applicants since 2011.

The trend is not limited to Kentucky; nationally, law school enrollment has declined by 24% since 2010. While the economy is a factor, the high cost of tuition and the prospect of significant student debt with no clear job prospects after graduation also contribute to the decline. 

At the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law, tuition now exceeds $25,000 per year for residents and $51,000 for out-of-state students. Tuition costs for the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law are approximately $25,000 for residents and $30,000 for nonresidents. Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law tuition is roughly $24,000 for residents and $36,000 for out-of-state students. These amounts do not include the additional expenses of attending law school, such as textbooks, materials, and room and board. Factoring those expenses, estimated annual costs for students at the UK Rosenberg College of Law rise to $45,000 and $72,000, while students at U of L Brandeis can expect to pay $49,000 and $54,000, and NKU Chase students should budget for $43,000 and $56,000.

While the decline in enrollment may help alleviate an oversaturated job market for attorneys, it may also have negative consequences in the future. As fewer students pursue legal education and careers, the pool of potential attorneys may shrink, creating a shortage of qualified legal professionals. This could ultimately hinder the ability of individuals and organizations to seek legal representation when they need it most.

Therefore, it is crucial to consider the long-term implications of declining law school enrollment. While it may not be a bad thing in the short term, it is vital to address the underlying causes of the trend and work toward solutions that encourage more students to pursue a legal education. With a better understanding of the issues at hand, we can take steps to ensure that our legal system remains robust and accessible to all who need it.

If you are still considering law school, read Our Advice to Law Students.

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