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The Lone Star State is a popular destination this year for potential attorneys. Applications to several Texas law schools have increased sharply over last year, while inching up only about 3.3 percent overall nationally. According to Edward Haggerty, media relations specialist for the Law School Admission Council, a Pennsylvania-based group that produces the LSAT, about 76,800 people applied for admission to law school this fall nationwide, compared to 74,380 last year, only the second year since 1991 that applications have gone up. “After several years of significant decreases in law school applications, this trend has changed,” says Haggerty. One factor for the change, Haggerty says, is the rising salaries for first-year lawyers. Applications at Baylor University Law School in Waco, Texas, have jumped 36 percent for the fall semester, says Becky Beck, admissions director. There are 1,266 in the applicant pool while last year there were 919, she says. She attributes part of the increase to the fact that Baylor was ranked No. 49 — tied with the University of Cincinnati — among the top 50 law schools in the nation this spring by U.S. World & News Report. In addition, the university is putting up a new law building that will open in the fall of 2001, she says. “We’re a great law school and we’re being recognized for that,” Beck says. Tuition at Baylor is $359 per credit hour. The Internet is credited with helping boost applications by almost 32 percent at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth, where tuition is $570 a credit hour. For the first time this year, potential students could go online to fill out an application, something 1,251 did as of early August. Last fall, there were 950 applications for the approximately 240 first-year slots at the school, says Lynda Culver, assistant director of admissions. Another boost was the fact that the school became fully accredited last year by the American Bar Association, says Culver. A big draw has always been the class schedule, she adds. “We have a corner on the market with the only evening classes for a fully accredited law school in the [Dallas-Fort Worth] Metroplex,” Culver says. Almost 4,000 applicants vied to attend the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, an increase of approximately 18 percent. About 1,000 of the 3,885 applicants have been accepted, with 475 actually starting classes for the fall semester, according to university officials. Tuition is $200 a credit hour for Texas residents and $502 for nonresidents. The university, which was ranked No. 15 among law schools this spring by U.S. News & World Report, received 3,284 applications last year. SLIGHT DECREASE Other Texas law schools showed slight dips or stayed even in their application numbers. The number of students applying to the Southern Methodist University School of Law in Dallas dropped, from 1,545 last year to slightly less than 1,500 for fall 2000, says Lynn Bozalis, assistant dean and director of admissions. About 300 students, who will pay $10,842 per semester for 10 to 17 credit hours, will make up the incoming class this fall. Bozalis says the decline is “not significant” because her law school has done well overall in the past decade bringing in students. Applications to law schools in the 1990s dropped nationwide by a third, but SMU experienced a smaller decrease. “We’ve been down, but never more than 20 to 25 percent,” Bozalis says. “We stayed aggressive in a tight market.” At the University of Houston Law Center, applications have held fairly steady, with 2,350 coming in for this fall’s class, compared to 2,440 last year, Dean Nancy Rapoport says. A fall class somewhere in the 300s is expected. Texas residents will pay $160 a credit hour in tuition, while out-of-state residents will pay $320 an hour. Applications at another Houston institution, Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, decreased slightly, with 861 this year and 936 last year, says Edward Ren�, dean of admissions and financial aid. A class of about 260 students will begin classes soon. Rene could not be reached by press time for tuition figures. Also in Houston, South Texas College of Law had 1,418 applicants this year and 1,539 last year, according to Cheryl McEntire, the communications director. About 1,220 will make up this year’s incoming class. Tuition is approximately $543 a credit hour. In Lubbock, there were 1,040 applicants this year to the Texas Tech University School of Law, 270 of whom were accepted, according to admissions assistant Donna Williams. Last year, 1,092 people applied. They will pay $160 a credit hour for in-state tuition and $359 an hour for out-of-state tuition. About 1,040 potential students applied to St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio this year, roughly the same as last year, says Victoria Mather, associate dean for academic and student affairs. This year’s class totals 252, while 263 began last year. Tuition is $565 a credit hour.
Texas Law School Application Stats
School — Percent Change
Baylor University School of Law — up 36 percent
South Texas College of Law — down 7.9 percent
Southern Methodist University School of Law — down 2.9 percent
Texas Southern UniversityThurgood Marshall School of Law — down 8 percent
Texas Tech University School of Law — down 4.8 percent
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law — up 31.7 percent
University of Houston Law Center — 2,350 — down 3.7 percent
University of Texas School of Law — up 18.3 percent
Source: the law schools.

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