University of Iowa president weighs in law school enrollment

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Earlier this month, the University of Iowa College of Law graduated one of its smallest classes in recent memory, about 100 students.

That's nearly half of what it used to be more than four years ago.

Low enrollment at law schools is a national trend. It's the result of fewer jobs for attorneys and high tuition during a downturn in the economy.

Officials at Iowa said there is some good news. Enrollment is starting to stabilize at about 140 students annually.

UI President Bruce Harreld attributes the upswing to Iowa bucking the trend of other schools. Instead of cutting faculty or lowering acceptance standards, Harreld said the UI reduced its tuition, 16% for 2014.

"Our dean decided to keep the student level of quality, but a smaller size," said Harreld. "Decided to keep the faculty in their areas of expertise and to live with the consequences. To live through this crisis."

U.S. News & World Report ranks Iowa's law school 20th in the nation. The UI improved two spots, up from 22 last year.