Updated March 30 at 6:25pm

RWU Law cuts tuition 18%, appoints Yelnosky to deanship

Roger Williams University School of Law will lower its annual tuition by $7,608, or 18 percent, for the 2014-15 academic year.

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RWU Law cuts tuition 18%, appoints Yelnosky to deanship


BRISTOL – Roger Williams University School of Law will lower its annual tuition by $7,608, or 18 percent, for the 2014-15 academic year.

The cut, which reduces the school’s tuition to $33,792 per year from $41,400 per year, will reduce the three-year cost of an RWU law degree by about $30,000, the university said in its announcement of the cut on Wednesday. The new rate is equal to that paid by students of the RWU School of Architecture, which like the law school requires formal licensure before graduates can practice.

“This reduced tuition rate makes Roger Williams University School of Law one of the best values on the East Coast and creates access for an even broader population of future attorneys,” said RWU President Donald J. Farish. “As the only law school in Rhode Island, we see this as particularly important to residents of our state.”

In addition to reducing tuition, the RWU School of Law will also guarantee that tuition will not increase from the new rate of $33,792 for up to three years for both current and new students who maintain continuous full-time enrollment.

In September, Farish announced that Roger Williams would freeze its undergraduate tuition rates in 2014-15 for the second year in a row part of the university’s Affordable Excellence Initiative, which aims to cope with rising college costs, increased debt and graduates’ job-readiness. Wednesday’s news extended the Affordable Excellence Initiative to RWU’s law school as a response to the nationwide trend of fewer available legal jobs and lower starting salaries for graduates.

The tuition cut accompanied the appointment Wednesday of Michael J. Yelnosky as successor to School of Law Dean David A. Logan, who will step down this summer to resume teaching at the law school.

During his four-year term as associate dean for academic affairs between 2004 and 2008, Yelnosky – an expert in employment and labor law – helped the RWU School of Law gain membership in the Association of American Law Schools. He has served as president of the Rhode Island chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association and was named a distinguished service professor of law in 2011.

“Not only has Michael Yelnosky been an instrumental force in RWU Law’s emergence as a major influence on our region’s legal culture, educating practice-ready lawyers and serving the area’s neediest populations, he has been a consistent voice of wisdom, innovation and progress as the school adjusts to changing professional and economic realities outside the academic world,” said Farish. “His deep understanding of the law school’s strengths, combined with his insight and vision on meeting the challenges now facing legal education, make him the ideal choice for this vital role going forward.”

Yelnosky graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and magna cum laude from the University of Vermont. Before entering academia, he served as a law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and worked for the law firms Mellon, Webster & Mellon, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.


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