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‘Get out of school free’ card

UCI’s law school may offer first class a free ride so its students can enter high-value, lower-paying careers, official says.

November 07, 2008|By Michael Alexander

UCI’s new law school is planning to let its first students attend without paying a dime.

According to UC Irvine School of Law officials, efforts are ongoing to raise enough money for full-ride scholarships for every student who joins the school in 2009.

Assistant Dean of Development and External Affairs Charles Cannon has said it is “our entire focus” initially to get law firms and individual donors to fund the $100,000 scholarships for each of the 60 first-year students.

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The law school’s spokesman, Rex Bossert, said fundraising was well underway to get three-year scholarships for all students, and had secured at least one-third of the money already.

“Since they’re three-year scholarships we can pretty much cover the first year for everyone,” he said. “We’re hoping to raise the rest of it so we can cover it all.”

Just as importantly as attracting the best students is making sure that they can choose any career they want, Bossert said. Scholarships like these will give them the chance to go into public service and other high-value but lower-paying jobs without the pressure of up to $100,000 in student loans, he said.

In other news for the college, its name has changed since initial announcements. Originally named the Donald Bren School of Law in honor of the Irvine Co. chairman who donated $20 million to open the school, it has been renamed more simply the UC Irvine School of Law. Officials said they were just as grateful to Bren as ever, but wanted to keep the name consistent with other professional schools in the University of California. Efforts to reach Bren for comment were unsuccessful.

“The University of California is a very well-known name, one of the great university systems of the country and the world,” Bossert said.

Up next for the school, which opens in August, is hiring more professors to try to lower the student-to-faculty ratio below 4 to 1, and taking applications for that first round of students. Admissions applications are up on the website, and the response has been great, Bossert said.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm out there,” he said. “The dean of admissions has been recruiting nationwide. I’ve even gone out to do some recruiting and the students seem very enthusiastic.”


MICHAEL ALEXANDER may be reached at (714) 966-4618 or at michael.alexander@latimes.com.

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