UM v.s. FIU

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Aly0320

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UM v.s. FIU

Postby Aly0320 » Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:50 pm

Hello all,

I'm new to this forum and would like some opinions on my law school options at the moment. Please bear in mind that I am choosing to stay in Miami, at home, due to my mother being ill. Going away was quickly ruled out, so I am left with my two local options: University of Miami and Florida International University.

My stats are 3.36 UGPA and 161 LSAT. - FIU Undergrad.

I submitted apps on Oct. 19th at around 11 pm and had an acceptance from UM on the 20th at 5pm and FIU gave me my acceptance at the open house, as I spoke to the Dean about my online status being 'decision rendered' and he had my letter hand delivered. I received a phone call from UM today with my scholarship offer and the deals are as follows:

UM - Sticker price: ~$48k. Offering $40k per year renewable as long as I maintain 2.5 GPA or better. Anticipating some need based aid.
Estimated out of pocket including books and fees: ~$8-$10k per year

FIU - Sticker price: ~$22k. Offering 50% tuition, renewable as long as I'm in top 50% or above 2.7 GPA - anticipating $5k grant, equaling 74% tuition.
Estimated out of pocket including books and fees: ~$10-$12k per year.

In the Miami area, FIU is known to be the up-and-coming law school with the high bar passage rates and low acceptance rates. UM's program also seems to be withering. I am just having trouble with the idea that the UM name carries much further than Miami, should I ever choose to practice elsewhere in the country. There is admittedly more prestige associated with UM than with the young FIU program. I get conflicting opinions from all attorneys and professors and alumni I know, so I'm throwing this out there for some more thoughts.

Again, please keep in mind that going to another school out of town isn't an option for me. I'm well aware some people believe I shouldn't go to either lol.

Thanks!!! :D

TirantMartorell

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby TirantMartorell » Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:07 pm

UM is the clear winner here. When choosing UM vs FIU, I think picking FIU is only justified if FIU will be considerably cheaper. Here, UM seems to be a bit cheaper than FIU and the 2.5 GPA stipulation should not be too difficult to meet, I think the median at UM is something around a 3.0 or 3.2 (perhaps someone else can confirm this).

FIU's stipulation that you remain in the top 50% is crap. You have no guarantee you'll end up above median.

What kind of job do you want? Neither school is a great choice for biglaw. You'd have to be in the top 10% at UM and get really lucky at FIU. Most big firms in South Florida recruit at UM, but many will not recruit at FIU.

FIU is up and coming, but most people with the power to hire in Miami still regard UM as the superior school. Bar passage rates are irrelevant. You got a 161 on the LSAT, you'll pass the bar as long as you put in the time to study using Barbri or whatever other prep course you choose.

Aly0320

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby Aly0320 » Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:11 pm

TirantMartorell wrote:What kind of job do you want? Neither school is a great choice for biglaw. You'd have to be in the top 10% at UM and get really lucky at FIU. Most big firms in South Florida recruit at UM, but many will not recruit at FIU.


I've never considered BigLaw - I prefer smaller firms. Thinking of going into IP so who knows where I'll end up. I currently work for a small IP firm that reassures me I have a future there. No guarantee, obviously. Just trying to figure out what my best case scenario is.

Thank you for your input!

cavalier1138

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:22 am

What is median at UM?

Both of those scholarships look like they're conditional on staying above median, which means you either need to negotiate that stipulation away or not attend at all. But it is absolutely crucial that you do not go to a school on a conditional scholarship. At best, it's a whole ton of extra stress, and at worst, it's a false promise of debt relief that you don't actually get.

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SixSigma

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby SixSigma » Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:38 am

Aly0320 wrote:I currently work for a small IP firm that reassures me I have a future there.


Okay, let's be build the maps in this game. Both schools will subsidize your education, but one is cheaper and the other more prestigious, but neither is T14 or T50. You're already sacrificing all schools not in your area.

You've got experience and know people in the profession. Coming from a regional school like UM or FIU, your own ability and reputation is you strength.

At Miami, 45%+ of 1Ls must have a B or better; after that you have no guarantees. FIU guarantees that 40-50% are B or above, and for all upper level courses that expands to 40-55%.

Look at the value proposition. You're going to make a name for yourself whether you're a lawyer from FIU or UM based on prior experience and well earned connections. Which one leaves you in less debt? FIU. If the scholarship holds throughout, or just the first semester - FIU is right.

If you want a better deal, retake the LSAT. Good luck!

TirantMartorell

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby TirantMartorell » Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:48 am

SixSigma wrote:
Aly0320 wrote:I currently work for a small IP firm that reassures me I have a future there.


Okay, let's be build the maps in this game. Both schools will subsidize your education, but one is cheaper and the other more prestigious, but neither is T14 or T50. You're already sacrificing all schools not in your area.

You've got experience and know people in the profession. Coming from a regional school like UM or FIU, your own ability and reputation is you strength.

At Miami, 45%+ of 1Ls must have a B or better; after that you have no guarantees. FIU guarantees that 40-50% are B or above, and for all upper level courses that expands to 40-55%.

Look at the value proposition. You're going to make a name for yourself whether you're a lawyer from FIU or UM based on prior experience and well earned connections. Which one leaves you in less debt? FIU. If the scholarship holds throughout, or just the first semester - FIU is right.

If you want a better deal, retake the LSAT. Good luck!


UM is the cheaper option here. Not sure where you're seeing numbers that make FIU cheaper. 50% scholarship at FIU vs $40K/year at UM.

Obviously retaking for a better deal is a good advice, I'm frankly not too sure the OP can get a much better deal at UM. According to 509 report, less than 1% of student receive a full tuition scholarship at UM.

Try to negotiate the stipulation away. Sometimes they agree to that. As what the median at UM is and ask what percentage of students with conditional scholarships lose their scholarships. I asked all these questions and got answers from admissions some years ago when I applied. Back then they had a 3.2 stipulation which was completely insane. I negotiated it down to 3.0 but that still wasn't worth it for me so I went elsewhere.

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guynourmin

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby guynourmin » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:13 am

According to miami's website at least 45% of grades have to be a b+ (3.3) or better. Means their stip is much more reasonable. Obviously not having a stip is better than having one, but some are worse than others. Going to a school that reqs you be in the top half is stupid imo. You cant accept that.

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby HamNewton » Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:26 am

Miami without a doubt. Carries more prestige outside of Miami, carries more prestige in Miami, it's cheaper. Even with the stipulation, it shouldn't be that hard to adhere to if you just put the work in. I think "up and coming" in terms of law school is pretty meaningless. If it's not there yet then the established school is the best choice. I've also never read a bio that listed a JD from FIU.

Aly0320

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby Aly0320 » Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:19 pm

cavalier1138 wrote: But it is absolutely crucial that you do not go to a school on a conditional scholarship. At best, it's a whole ton of extra stress, and at worst, it's a false promise of debt relief that you don't actually get.

Do you have any suggestions as to how I can approach them with negotiating the removal of the stipulation? Until recently I wasn't even aware that negotiating scholarships was a possibility.

Thanks for your opinion!

Aly0320

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby Aly0320 » Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:21 pm

HamNewton wrote:Miami without a doubt. Carries more prestige outside of Miami, carries more prestige in Miami, it's cheaper. Even with the stipulation, it shouldn't be that hard to adhere to if you just put the work in. I think "up and coming" in terms of law school is pretty meaningless. If it's not there yet then the established school is the best choice. I've also never read a bio that listed a JD from FIU.


How do you feel about the actual programs? I'm conflicted. I'm not sure if I prefer a better program or the prestige of the name. Another fear is the possibility of losing the scholarships and having to foot the bill for the rest of law school at UM or FIU.

Thanks for replying!

TirantMartorell

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby TirantMartorell » Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:50 pm

Aly0320 wrote:
HamNewton wrote:Miami without a doubt. Carries more prestige outside of Miami, carries more prestige in Miami, it's cheaper. Even with the stipulation, it shouldn't be that hard to adhere to if you just put the work in. I think "up and coming" in terms of law school is pretty meaningless. If it's not there yet then the established school is the best choice. I've also never read a bio that listed a JD from FIU.


How do you feel about the actual programs? I'm conflicted. I'm not sure if I prefer a better program or the prestige of the name. Another fear is the possibility of losing the scholarships and having to foot the bill for the rest of law school at UM or FIU.

Thanks for replying!


This really isn't the question you should be asking. Frankly, you'll get a comparable education at these two schools. You'll be using similar cases books with classes taught by professors who generally attended the same good law schools. A better program is one that will give you the best opportunity to get the best possible job. You won't learn how to be an attorney in law school, regardless of where you attend. Both schools will give you a 2/3 chance of getting a job as a lawyer coming out of law school, both are respectable options in the Miami market (certainly better than St. Thomas and Nova). Neither school will be great if you graduate at median or below, but UM will open more doors if you get good grades than FIU. If FIU were cheaper and didn't have the top 50% scholarship stipulation, I'd say go with FIU, but given that UM is cheaper and it is the better regarded school in the area, then I'd recommend UM.

Negotiate by letting them know you'd like to attend but are worried about the scholarship stipulation. I'd recommend applying to other schools. Send applications to UF and FSU. With a 161 you should have a shot at both of these schools. Even if you don't plan to attend, you can use offers from FSU and UF as leverage with UM and FIU to get more money. Say: "Dear UM/FIU admissions person, I would really like to attend your school and stay local, but I've received a tempting offer from X school." Many schools are willing to negotiate. You're LSAT is 4 points above the UM median and 5 points above the FIU median. You have leverage.

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guynourmin

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby guynourmin » Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:48 pm

Aly0320 wrote: Do you have any suggestions as to how I can approach them with negotiating the removal of the stipulation?


search around here for threads discussing it. its been done to death, you just to put in a little work. quick math looks like MOST people with scholarships at FIU don't have stips whereas almost everyone at Miami does, so tbh I wouldn't expect Miami to budge.


Miami: I really appreciate the scholarship, yaya, bullshitbullshit, etc etc, schools great, blah blah blah blah blah (this is 2-3 sentences). I was wondering if you could tell me approximately what percent of the class falls above/below a 2.5gpa. [tbh, it seems unlikely this gets removed; worth a try, though!]


FIU: same shit. I am, however, leery about accepting a scholarship offer with such high stipulations. I am very serious about my legal education and believe it would be a mistake to accept a scholarship that appears to have such a high likelihood of being reduced or eliminated (you could mention their 509 reported numbers, but you don't have to - they know what they are!). If we could discuss the removal of such stipulation, I would be very excited about the prospect of attending FIU this fall.

HamNewton

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby HamNewton » Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:47 pm

Aly0320 wrote:
HamNewton wrote:Miami without a doubt. Carries more prestige outside of Miami, carries more prestige in Miami, it's cheaper. Even with the stipulation, it shouldn't be that hard to adhere to if you just put the work in. I think "up and coming" in terms of law school is pretty meaningless. If it's not there yet then the established school is the best choice. I've also never read a bio that listed a JD from FIU.


How do you feel about the actual programs? I'm conflicted. I'm not sure if I prefer a better program or the prestige of the name. Another fear is the possibility of losing the scholarships and having to foot the bill for the rest of law school at UM or FIU.

Thanks for replying!


I agree with TirantMartorell in that the education is going to be very similar at either one. Although, I would think that Miami has pretty solid programs compared to FIU, but I'm just guessing. Still, at the end of the day, that distinction is meaningless when the most important factors to consider are all pointing towards Miami.

I also second applying to UF and FSU as well for negotiating leverage. You should be good, I got in to both with similar GPA and a lower LSAT.

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SixSigma

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby SixSigma » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:14 am

Aly0320 wrote:I currently work for a small IP firm that reassures me I have a future there.


TirantMartorell wrote:UM is the cheaper option here. Not sure where you're seeing numbers that make FIU cheaper. 50% scholarship at FIU vs $40K/year at UM.


TirantMartorell, I respectfully disagree.

It's a lead-loss proposition.Miami bills $47,774 a year versus FIU's $21,406. Nominal cost of attendance per semester at FIU is $10,703 per year, Miami is $7,774. Most students are not going to enjoy the full benefits they've negotiated, because they'll lose their scholarship at some point. Our candidate is choosing a local law school because they're expecting a major life-altering trauma, ruling out all schools but FIU or UM. Given that trauma occurs at the same time, regardless of the choice of school- the candidate is better to choose FIU.

If the candidate fails to keep the scholarship deal for just the last semester the debt at Miami will exceed the debt at FIU by $5,867. If the scholarship deal is lost after the first semester, the difference in debt skyrockets to $64,456. There is one case where I am wrong. If the candidate is able to satisfy the conditions for all six semesters, they will lose $8,787 attending FIU over UM.

Provided that the prestige of UM far exceeds our candidate's ability to make their way, as they have demonstrated at the small IP firm that wants to hire them after graduation, that prestige will cost between $5,867 and $64,456.This is a link to imgur showing the spreadsheet of my work, click here. Aly0320, please be guided accordingly.

TirantMartorell

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby TirantMartorell » Wed Oct 26, 2016 9:49 am

SixSigma wrote:
Aly0320 wrote:I currently work for a small IP firm that reassures me I have a future there.


TirantMartorell wrote:UM is the cheaper option here. Not sure where you're seeing numbers that make FIU cheaper. 50% scholarship at FIU vs $40K/year at UM.


TirantMartorell, I respectfully disagree.

It's a lead-loss proposition.Miami bills $47,774 a year versus FIU's $21,406. Nominal cost of attendance per semester at FIU is $10,703 per year, Miami is $7,774. Most students are not going to enjoy the full benefits they've negotiated, because they'll lose their scholarship at some point. Our candidate is choosing a local law school because they're expecting a major life-altering trauma, ruling out all schools but FIU or UM. Given that trauma occurs at the same time, regardless of the choice of school- the candidate is better to choose FIU.

If the candidate fails to keep the scholarship deal for just the last semester the debt at Miami will exceed the debt at FIU by $5,867. If the scholarship deal is lost after the first semester, the difference in debt skyrockets to $64,456. There is one case where I am wrong. If the candidate is able to satisfy the conditions for all six semesters, they will lose $8,787 attending FIU over UM.

Provided that the prestige of UM far exceeds our candidate's ability to make their way, as they have demonstrated at the small IP firm that wants to hire them after graduation, that prestige will cost between $5,867 and $64,456.This is a link to imgur showing the spreadsheet of my work, click here. Aly0320, please be guided accordingly.


Six Sigma, without knowing where a 2.5 GPA ranks you at UM, your calculations are mostly based on assumptions that OP has a high probability of losing his scholarship at UM. I know for a fact that UM's median is at least a 3.0 so OP can end up considerably below median at UM and still retain his scholarship. Now, is 2.5 bottom 30% or bottom 10%? I don't know and that is why he should ask UM these questions as I recommended above. What is certain is that his FIU stipulation is top 50%, hence he stands a 50% chance of losing that scholarship. His odds of losing the FIU scholarship are higher than him losing his UM scholarship. That's a major flaw in your calculation.

Obviously, no stipulation is better than a 2.5 stipulation, but a 2.5 at UM is not unreasonable. OP should ask UM how many students fall below a 2.5 each year and make his decision accordingly. According to LST, only 8.3% of students on conditional scholarships lost their scholarship in 2014-2015 at UM.

The argument that FIU is cheaper is flawed because you are assuming that most UM students are not going to enjoy the full benefits they've negotiated. You don't know that without more information about UM's grade distribution or specific data on scholarship retention rates. However, the LST data suggests that the vast majority of UM students do retain their conditional scholarships.

It's a simple calculation. UM will cost $7,774/year as long as he maintains a 2.5 while FIU will cost $10,703 a year as long as he remains above 50%. UM is the better bargain and the clear winner here.

OP, do not go to FIU if UM is cheaper and as long as you have a top 50% stipulation at FIU.

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SixSigma

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby SixSigma » Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:06 am

TirantMartorell wrote:According to LST, only 8.3% of students on conditional scholarships lost their scholarship in 2014-2015 at UM.


Thank you for bringing this valuable statistic into consideration. It undeniably helps to clarify the situation.

I'm not sure you read the whole table for University of Miami. You're accurate about 8.3% loss for the year ending 2015, but the contingent scholarship loss for the two years before that is an average of around 25% per year (24.7% year ending 2014 and 28.6% 2013).

According to your own citation, over the published three years there was a greater than 50% chance of losing the scholarship. CLICK HERE FOR LST CONDITIONAL SCHOLARSHIP DATA

Does having this data change your position?

TirantMartorell

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby TirantMartorell » Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:23 am

SixSigma wrote:
TirantMartorell wrote:According to LST, only 8.3% of students on conditional scholarships lost their scholarship in 2014-2015 at UM.


Thank you for bringing this valuable statistic into consideration. It undeniably helps to clarify the situation.

I'm not sure you read the whole table for University of Miami. You're accurate about 8.3% loss for the year ending 2015, but the contingent scholarship loss for the two years before that is an average of around 25% per year (24.7% year ending 2014 and 28.6% 2013).

According to your own citation, over the published three years there was a greater than 50% chance of losing the scholarship. CLICK HERE FOR LST CONDITIONAL SCHOLARSHIP DATA

Does having this data change your position?


SixSigma, I read the table correctly and in full the first time, thank you. It does not change my position because UM has changed its stipulations since those years. As I commented in a prior post on this thread, when I applied to UM (2012-13 cycle), they offered me a scholarship with a 3.2 stipulation that I later negotiated down to a 3.0. A few months after my negotiation, they lowered the stipulations to 3.0 across the board. I guess they received a lot of backlash over it. I ended up not attending UM because I did not like that stipulation, among other factors. OP is now getting a 2.5 stipulation. It seems UM has changed the stipulations it places on conditional scholarship, hence the drastic decrease in the number of people losing their conditional scholarships on LST. So no, OP does not have a greater than 50% of losing his scholarship.

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SixSigma

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby SixSigma » Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:51 am

TirantMartorell wrote:It seems UM has changed the stipulations it places on conditional scholarship, hence the drastic decrease in the number of people losing their conditional scholarships on LST.


Thank you for the additional information!
This changes my position, but in full disclosure I prefer UM over all schools ranked 20 and below.

I wish Aly0320 all the best.

Aly0320

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby Aly0320 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:39 pm

SixSigma wrote:
TirantMartorell wrote:It seems UM has changed the stipulations it places on conditional scholarship, hence the drastic decrease in the number of people losing their conditional scholarships on LST.


Thank you for the additional information!
This changes my position, but in full disclosure I prefer UM over all schools ranked 20 and below.

I wish Aly0320 all the best.


I can't express how helpful this conversation has been in my consideration of schools. I hadn't even thought about the fact that the FIU scholarship would be more difficult to keep. Given all this information, I think my next step is approaching UM about the stipulation. The chances that they reduce it or remove it are probably slim to none, considering 2.5 isn't that impossible. But it's worth a shot.

I'm still waiting on the physical letter with the details to arrive, as I'm only going off the phone call I had with the Dean of admissions. Needless to say I convinced myself I had misheard $40,000 and it was actually $14,000. I am happy to report that an email sent afterward confirmed the $40k.

As a Hispanic female in Miami, coming from a local school, I didn't expect to receive such scholarships from either school, as I'm technically not a rarity down here so I am not so valuable in the student body diversity statistics as I might be in another region.

I find myself struggling with the idea of going to UM still. As if there is something to FIU that everyone keeps mentioning is so great that I'll miss out on and be at a disadvantage because of it.

It could also be the remnants of the traumatic experience it was for me to turn down UM for undergrad because of a full ride at FIU. Growing up in Miami, it's hard to not want to be a Hurricane at some point in life. But I digress. The reality of the situation is UM is cheaper, I'm statistically more likely to keep my scholarship, and the name is worth more. Let me know if I've misinterpreted the previous discussion in any way.

Again, thank you all so much!

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Re: UM v.s. FIU

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:06 pm

UM is the better option here. Try to negotiate the stipulations out. But 2.5 isn't unreasonable.



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