First-year student enrollment at Concordia University School of Law in Boise is down 40 percent from its inaugural year of 2012-13.
The University of Idaho, bucking a national trend, reported a 7.8 percent increase in first-year students to 110 for this school year.
“Law school is a serious investment and even with scholarships offered by other schools, students selected (U of I) because our tuition is the 13th-most affordable in the country and our employment prospects are encouraging,” said Jeffrey A. Dodge, the associate dean who oversees admissions at U of I law school.
Pent-up demand for a law school in Boise helped push first-year enrollment to 73 students when the school opened in 2012, said Cathy Silak, Concordia law school dean. First-year enrollment for 2013-14 was 44 students.
The two schools were similar in attrition rates for students going on to their second year.
Concordia saw a 14 percent drop in the number of students moving from the first to second year, from 73 to 63. An additional five students are on leave of absence and not considered to have left the program, Silak said.
An attrition rate in the school’s second year of 10 to 15 percent is in the acceptable range, Silak said.
The University of Idaho attrition rate, typically 5 to 8 percent, was 16 percent, dropping from 102 to 85 students. That was driven largely by a group of six students who decided to transfer together to another law school, Dodge said.
Concordia has 105 total students for this year, including three students who transferred into the second year of its program from other law schools. The school doesn’t yet have a third year of legal education.
Concordia’s new students come from 11 states, and 62 percent are from Idaho.
The school is affiliated with Concordia University, a Lutheran college in Portland, Ore.
U of I has 323 students in its three-year program that has campuses in Moscow and Boise. U of I has part of its third-year law program in Boise. School officials hope the Legislature will approve expanding its second-year program in Boise when it meets in January. U of I eventually wants to move its Boise law school campus along with the state’s law library into the old Ada County Courthouse across from the Capitol.
U of I’s new students come from Idaho and 18 other states.