Graduates of a law school in New York could soon have part of their tuition reimbursed, thanks to a new incentive initiative that is based on how long it takes them to secure employment after graduation. Brooklyn Law School's new program, “Bridge to Success,” would give alumni 15 percent of their total tuition if they have not found a job within nine months of graduation, the school announced Monday. The program is expected to begin with the incoming class of 2015, CNNMoney reported.
With a maximum tuition cost of $130,000, the most Brooklyn Law School would refund a student is $19,000. On average, annual tuition at the school costs about $43,500. The school has budgeted for about 10 percent of students to use “Bridge to Success,” but its job placement record in the past two years for graduates has been approximately 90 percent.
"Our paying customers are our students," Brooklyn Law School President and Dean Nicholas Allard told CNNMoney. "I'm not concerned about our students ripping us off. I'm not worried about someone gaming the system. Our students come to study the law and want jobs, not checks."
The refund would be issued as a lump sum, and in order to qualify for the program students must be actively working with the school's careers services department and preparing to take the bar exam, though they do not necessarily have to pass it. A $133 million endowment made to the school in May helped make the program possible, Allard said, according to the New York Times.
Brooklyn Law School has implemented several new initiatives in the past few years aimed toward helping current students and alumni. In 2013, the school decided to freeze 2014 tuition at 2013 levels. That same year, the school created a two-year Juris Doctor program, becoming the first school in the New York City area to do so. In 2014, the school also announced a 15 percent tuition cut.
"We have our ear to the ground,” said Allard, according to CNNMoney. "Rather than continue to march over the cliff when a new direction is appropriate, we pay attention to what students want and need. The conventional legal education was passive and standardized. We've adopted a student-centric approach."
The legal sector lost about 60,000 jobs during the recession, and currently, only about 20,000 of those jobs have been added back, said James G. Leipold, executive director of the National Association for Law Placement, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, according to the New York Times. The lawyers affected most by those cuts were those with only two or three years of experience.