Access and Opportunity
Our most important asset at Penn Law are people: those who are learning the law and those who educate and support them. The connection to and engagement with thousands of alumni who once studied here multiplies this human dynamic. Together, our whole is far greater than the sum of our parts.
To enroll the best, the brightest, and the most diverse, we need to expand our financial aid resources. Ten percent of the Penn Law Class of 2020 are first-generation college students — an historic high for Penn Law in recent decades — and several students are first-generation Americans.
In addition, almost all students entering law school are carrying more undergraduate student loan debt than ever before. This becomes a barrier to students who want to pursue public interest and government careers. To keep pace with peer institutions, which admit the same caliber of students, we must become more competitive and increase available grants, scholarships, and need- and merit-based financial aid for admitted students.
In the video below, Nick Hall L’18 discusses his own experiences at Penn Law and highlights the importance of increasing access through scholarships and financial aid.
Nick Hall L’18: With the Toll Scholars, we are, our students are, very interested in making Penn more than a big law school. We are interested in making this a place where public interest advocates want to come and will go on to do great things.
I think of people like Professor Margaret Burnham who spoke to BLSA very recently. She was part of the very first BLSA chapter and she spoke about her experience as Penn Law being very difficult when she was here and how she had to break down many barriers, but her going through that process made it possible for people like me to now be able to say all the wonderful things that BLSA is doing; to be able to raise $60,000 and throw a gala and the National Constitution Center.
Without her her going through that and being the first, we wouldn’t be able to celebrate all that BLSA can do now. And there are still challenges that we face at the law school, and BLSA continues to advocate for those issues so that it’s easier for students to come in the future.
And then finally, outside of the kind of formal system there’s also an informal system with your professors. So, I think of people like Professor Lou Ruili, David Rudovsky, who are legends in their own right and the public interest community across the country who have served as mentors and have helped be to develop my writing skills, to connect me to different organizations in Philadelphia, and I’ve even had the chance to try a case with Professor Ruili in Civil Forfeiture.
To learn more about the Power of Penn Law: Advocates for a New Era, go to: https://powerofpenn.law.upenn.edu/.