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GU accelerated 2-year law school program enrolls 24

Gonzaga University Law School has enrolled 24 students in its initial effort to help graduates earn a degree in two years.

That’s twice as many as expected.

GU and a small number of law schools across the country are offering two-year accelerated programs in reaction to declining enrollment. The problem is tied to students who are wary of a three-year commitment. Gonzaga is the first law school in the Pacific Northwest trying the two-year program.

The two-year program requires students take law courses over six consecutive terms rather than taking summers off during the course of three school years.

GU has estimated the total cost per year to attend GU Law is $53,049, which includes about $14,000 for living expenses. As with other law programs, Gonzaga has had to choose between cutting admission standards and facing lower enrollment. Jane Korn, dean of the law school, chose to maintain higher admission criteria, with the result that first-year law student enrollments have dropped from recent years.

In 2011 and 2012, GU enrolled 176 and 132 first-year law students, respectively.

In 2013, that number fell to 108. The fall 2014 first-year enrollment is 104 traditional-program students. That does not include the accelerated group of 24, which began classes this summer.

This incoming class includes 11 percent more women and twice the number of international students compared to last year. Forty-two percent of students in the accelerated group are women.

The students range in age from 21 to 48.

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