UC Berkeley, UCLA law schools to cover fee increases with scholarships

Allyse Bacharach/File
Despite fee hikes, UC Berkeley and UCLA law students will pay the same as Boalt graduates Joe Rose and Sara Giardina, seen here studying for the bar exam, due to scholarships.

After the UC Board of Regents approved an additional 9.6 percent increase in student fees, the deans at both UCLA and UC Berkeley’s law schools announced last week that the schools will issue scholarships to each student to cover the increase.

These emergency scholarships will award each student a total of $1,068 — the exact amount of the most recent fee increase.

The board voted July 14 to increase student fees systemwide for the fall semester by 9.6 percent on top of an 8 percent increase they approved last November. The proposal to increase fees came after the UC was hit with an additional $150 million cut from the state in June, over and above a $500 million cut in March, bringing the total to $650 million.

Rachel Moran, dean of the UCLA School of Law, announced Wednesday that law school students will receive a scholarship in the amount of the fee increase for the 2011-12 school year.

Christopher Edley, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law, also announced to law school students Thursday that they will receive scholarships to cover the increase for the coming year.

“This increase is just too much, and it came too late,” Edley said in an email to students. “I am optimistic that these added financial aid costs can be offset by increased alumni donations as the economy recovers, and by continuing efforts to hold down less-than-essential expenses.”

Edley said in the email that he is confident that fees at the law school will not need to increase faster than they do at other top-tier law schools. He added that tuition next year for the school will be comparable to those of the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia and below that of “many of our private competitors.”

“This state’s retreat has been most acute at the professional schools,” he said in the email. “Bitter though this pill is for us to swallow, it does have one benefit: although we have less remaining state subsidy, we have more financial flexibility and more autonomy than do other academic units within the UC system.”

Though in the email Edley said he cannot make guarantees regarding future tuition levels, he vowed that the school would maintain its reputation regardless.

“Berkeley Law will remain a financially-competitive, intellectually-luminous, professionally cutting-edge, culturally-superior, and all around fabulous law school community in the decades to come,” he said in the email. “Count on it.”

Allie Bidwell is the news editor.