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BOSTON-A Massachusetts School of Law plan to open an undergraduate college to offer a six-year bachelor’s and juris doctor program is part of a minirenaissance of the six-year, dual-degree option. The Andover, Mass.-based law school believes its modest undergraduate tuition will be a major draw to students interested in either the six-year option or an undergraduate degree. Law schools in Chicago, Pennsylvania and Washington have started similar six-year programs with their undergraduate partners, while other law schools in Kansas, New York and Ohio are allowing students to compress the traditional 36-months of law school to as few as 24. About 620 students are enrolled in the Massachusetts School of Law, which has an annual tuition of about $13,300. The law school, which is not accredited by the American Bar Association, has applied to the state Board of Higher Education for approval of its $6,000-per-year undergraduate school. The program could open as early as next fall. Like the law school, the undergraduate and six-year program would be designed to serve students from low- and moderate-income backgrounds, said Dean Lawrence Velvel. “People from nonaffluent backgrounds are increasingly priced out of higher education,” Velvel said. Six-year programs were much more prevalent a few decades ago, said Carl Monk, executive director of the Washington-based Association of American Law Schools, yet several prestigious universities have recently reintroduced the model. The trend is part of an upsurge in cost-saving higher-education options offered by law schools. Six-year bandwagon A handful of law schools, including the University of Kansas School of Law and Syracuse University College of Law, are also offering accelerated juris doctor programs to help students finish law school with fewer loans. The University of Dayton School of Law’s five-semester, 24-month program is believed to be the nation’s first offering of its kind. [NLJ, May 29.] George Washington University and its law school in Washington started a six-year bachelor of arts/juris doctor program this year, along with Drexel University in Philadelphia with its new College of Law. Since Drexel offers both four- and five-year undergraduate programs, students on the fast-track law program will complete both degrees in six or seven years, said prelaw professional coordinator Grant Keener. George Washington University Law School Dean Frederick M. Lawrence said that saving a year’s tuition is only part of the equation. Many top-ranked students are very goal-oriented, he said. “This group is interested in getting started right away,” Lawrence said.

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