WMU Cooley Law closes another campus

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School is going down to just two campuses after the Board of Directors voted to consolidate all its Michigan campuses earlier this month. The law school will transition to one campus in Lansing, Mich. and keep its campus in Tampa, Florida.  

“As with many institutions of higher education, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly affected our decision making and continues to have an impact on our enrollment," Dean James McGrath said. “We have made bold and sweeping changes this past year and a half to show our commitment to building a socially just future, while setting us on a path to better serve our students and the profession.”

The current campus in Grand Rapids will close on Aug. 31, pending approval by its accrediting agencies.

This is the second time in two years that WMU Cooley has merged campuses. In August 2019, its Auburn Hills campus closed. The law school has experienced a historic decline in enrollment, dropping from 3,628 students in 2011 when it was the largest law school in the nation, to 1,156 students last year. The schools says the closures are part of a strategic move designed to place the law school in a position of strength.

“The recent Board action was the appropriate decision as demand for a legal education continues to vacillate. We are focusing on providing a quality practical legal education to students who will truly diversify the legal profession,” McGrath said.

Last fall, WMU-Cooley announced it was cutting tuition by 21 percent effective for the 2020-21 academic year. That dropped the price of full-time tuition to $41,250 a year for a saving of about $7,000.

"The current pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives forever and WMU-Cooley is embracing these challenges as opportunities," asserted McGrath. "WMU-Cooley’s goals are to rebuild our school, our profession, and help make our nation stronger and more equitable. We will ALL RISE by working together."

WMU-Cooley became a fully accredited law school in 2014. WMU-Cooley enrolls classes year-round at its Michigan and Florida campuses. Western and WMU-Cooley Law School operate as independent institutions with their own governance structure and separate fiduciary responsibilities.

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