NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

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GSDMutt

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NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by GSDMutt » Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:41 pm

- I will not be taking out loans.
- NYU is closer to home; I think I'd prefer the lifestyle in Michigan. My dog would certainly prefer Michigan.
- I'd like to clerk for a year, then work for a federal agency for a couple of years, then develop an area of expertise in MidLaw, perhaps ending up Of Counsel and spending lots of time fighting the good fight on behalf of the underserved. Not particularly interested in busting my butt to make partner. Vague interest in legal academia, although I understand that outcome is unlikely.
- 173/3.53
- Two LSAT takes; I might be able to eke out a couple more points if I retook, but with my GPA I'm not confident that NYU would make me an offer again next cycle.

Overall difference over three years is ~$100k. Can I score $100,000 more value out of NYU than I can out of Michigan?

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by baskeet » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:48 pm

Seems like the factors, objective and the subjective ones I can surmise from your post, are pointing to Michigan. Congratulations!

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by crazywafflez » Mon Apr 26, 2021 6:08 pm

Wait, so is it 70k total COA at Mich or each year? Sorry if I missed something. Either way, I personally really don't think NYU is worth 100k more for than Mich for your goals. I think Mich is the right choice here.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by GSDMutt » Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:28 pm

crazywafflez wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 6:08 pm
Wait, so is it 70k total COA at Mich or each year? Sorry if I missed something. Either way, I personally really don't think NYU is worth 100k more for than Mich for your goals. I think Mich is the right choice here.
Cost of attendance is per year, regrettably. Respective 3-year CoAs will be roughly 325k (NYU) and 220k (Michigan), factoring in tuition inflation over those years.

Thanks for your input, both of you. You are correct that my heart is pointing me to Michigan. Setting that aside for the moment, does anybody have insight into how the student bodies compare? My relationships with my peers are important to me.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by cavalier1138 » Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:10 am

GSDMutt wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:28 pm
Cost of attendance is per year, regrettably. Respective 3-year CoAs will be roughly 325k (NYU) and 220k (Michigan), factoring in tuition inflation over those years.
This complicates things quite a bit. You can only service that kind of debt on a biglaw salary or through LRAP. And both of those paths are possible from these schools, except...
GSDMutt wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:41 pm
I'd like to clerk for a year, then work for a federal agency for a couple of years, then develop an area of expertise in MidLaw, perhaps ending up Of Counsel and spending lots of time fighting the good fight on behalf of the underserved. Not particularly interested in busting my butt to make partner. Vague interest in legal academia, although I understand that outcome is unlikely.
Ignoring the discordance between working in private practice and "spending lots of time fighting the good fight on behalf of the underserved," this is a hyper-specific (and depending on the agency, extremely difficult) path that basically inverts most attorneys' career tracks. The core problem is that the first part of your plan would qualify you for LRAP, but the second part wouldn't.

At Michigan, this could be financially ruinous if you spent any less than 10 years in public service. Michigan only offers PSLF-based LRAP, so you'd face amortizing interest during the public-service portion of your career (i.e. you'd be more in debt when you entered private practice). NYU does offer non-PSLF LRAP, but I don't know whether they claw back prior assistance if you leave public service early. You need to be very clear on your plan for servicing debt from either school if you don't plan to spend at least a few years in biglaw (which is a far more viable path to competitive federal agencies than the honors program--so that should factor into your decisions as well).

ETA: "Lifestyle" and "student body" should not enter into this equation for you, because you aren't looking at two equivalent options from a financial perspective.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by GSDMutt » Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:26 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:10 am

...
Ignoring the discordance between working in private practice and "spending lots of time fighting the good fight on behalf of the underserved," this is a hyper-specific (and depending on the agency, extremely difficult) path that basically inverts most attorneys' career tracks. The core problem is that the first part of your plan would qualify you for LRAP, but the second part wouldn't.

At Michigan, this could be financially ruinous if you spent any less than 10 years in public service. Michigan only offers PSLF-based LRAP, so you'd face amortizing interest during the public-service portion of your career (i.e. you'd be more in debt when you entered private practice). NYU does offer non-PSLF LRAP, but I don't know whether they claw back prior assistance if you leave public service early. You need to be very clear on your plan for servicing debt from either school if you don't plan to spend at least a few years in biglaw (which is a far more viable path to competitive federal agencies than the honors program--so that should factor into your decisions as well).

ETA: "Lifestyle" and "student body" should not enter into this equation for you, because you aren't looking at two equivalent options from a financial perspective.
Dear Cavalier,

Thank you for your contribution. I am definitely on the back foot here, since I had to Google the honors program.

What do you mean when you say "competitive" federal agencies? I'd be more interested in a posting at the Department of the Interior than, say, a posting at State. Is that going to make the recruitment process easier or harder for me?

Thank you again.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by cavalier1138 » Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:55 pm

GSDMutt wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:26 am
cavalier1138 wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:10 am

...
Ignoring the discordance between working in private practice and "spending lots of time fighting the good fight on behalf of the underserved," this is a hyper-specific (and depending on the agency, extremely difficult) path that basically inverts most attorneys' career tracks. The core problem is that the first part of your plan would qualify you for LRAP, but the second part wouldn't.

At Michigan, this could be financially ruinous if you spent any less than 10 years in public service. Michigan only offers PSLF-based LRAP, so you'd face amortizing interest during the public-service portion of your career (i.e. you'd be more in debt when you entered private practice). NYU does offer non-PSLF LRAP, but I don't know whether they claw back prior assistance if you leave public service early. You need to be very clear on your plan for servicing debt from either school if you don't plan to spend at least a few years in biglaw (which is a far more viable path to competitive federal agencies than the honors program--so that should factor into your decisions as well).

ETA: "Lifestyle" and "student body" should not enter into this equation for you, because you aren't looking at two equivalent options from a financial perspective.
Dear Cavalier,

Thank you for your contribution. I am definitely on the back foot here, since I had to Google the honors program.

What do you mean when you say "competitive" federal agencies? I'd be more interested in a posting at the Department of the Interior than, say, a posting at State. Is that going to make the recruitment process easier or harder for me?

Thank you again.
I would consider both Interior and State to be competitive federal agencies, but yes, State would probably be a little more competitive (or at least more specific in its requirements).

But if you're not aware of the honors program, I suggest doing a lot more research into fedgov hiring. That's the only way to be hired straight out of school, including if you do a clerkship immediately after graduation.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by GSDMutt » Tue Apr 27, 2021 4:23 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:55 pm
...But if you're not aware of the honors program, I suggest doing a lot more research into fedgov hiring. That's the only way to be hired straight out of school, including if you do a clerkship immediately after graduation.
Thank you. Obviously, I might've considered all this more than a week before deposit deadlines, but so it goes.

I've grabbed myself a digital copy of "Law Jobs: The Complete Guide" and will be reviewing it with haste. Perhaps I should consider deferral.

Thanks again for your help.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by Ohiobumpkin » Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:44 pm

Did you not get admitted to another law school for full ride? Both of those debts are pretty damn large. If I had to choose, Michigan seems more reasonable here. NYU is not worth the extra $100K.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by GSDMutt » Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:01 am

Ohiobumpkin wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:44 pm
Did you not get admitted to another law school for full ride? Both of those debts are pretty damn large. If I had to choose, Michigan seems more reasonable here. NYU is not worth the extra $100K.
Nope. Rough cycle! I got waitlisted at Texas and WUSTL, which I'd marked off as my safeties.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by Sackboy » Sat May 01, 2021 1:23 am

Regardless of if you go Michigan/NYU here, I'd go in with the intent of doing PSLF for 10 years, as there is no good fight to be had in the sort of private practice that can pay off those debts. You'd be better off clerking --> state/fed gov't agency/impact lit/legal aid if you're genuinely committed to serving the public.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by GSDMutt » Mon May 03, 2021 1:14 am

One more question for you all -- how come NYU's federal clerkship stats are so poor? e.g. ~2% of 2019 NYU grads got federal clerkships, whereas ~10% of 2019 Michigan grads got federal clerkships. Is this self-selection?

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by Wubbles » Mon May 03, 2021 1:37 am

GSDMutt wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 1:14 am
One more question for you all -- how come NYU's federal clerkship stats are so poor? e.g. ~2% of 2019 NYU grads got federal clerkships, whereas ~10% of 2019 Michigan grads got federal clerkships. Is this self-selection?
At least a good chunk of it is due to a lack of geographical inflexibility of NYU students vs. Michigan students. NYU students target the ultra-competitive NY and east coast courts more so less get them straight out of graduation. I think there is some catch-up in NYU grads clerking a year or so after graduation but I don't have those numbers on hand.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by nixy » Mon May 03, 2021 8:14 am

This is by far the least significant element of your decision, but wrt student bodies, it’s pretty impossible to tell, because so much depends on who has been admitted this year and who actually becomes part of your law school class. There will be lots of smart dedicated people at either school.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by Hi-So - ArshavinFan » Tue May 04, 2021 4:39 pm

GSDMutt wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 1:14 am
One more question for you all -- how come NYU's federal clerkship stats are so poor? e.g. ~2% of 2019 NYU grads got federal clerkships, whereas ~10% of 2019 Michigan grads got federal clerkships. Is this self-selection?
It has to do with past ranking and self-selection

In the 80s & 90s - Michigan was ranked higher than NYU. NYU only started to become the better school according to the USNWR in about 1993 - but Michigan was just one spot off. Then in about 1999/2000 - NYU cemented itself at 4 - http://law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uplo ... l-rp20.pdf
(Page 13)

Naturally, judges are inclined to hire alums - and NYU just doesn't have as many as Michigan in the system. Those students of the 99/2000 generation are turning on avg from 40-48 now. The average age of judges appointed federally is usually in their 50s - for Trump it was 51. So those students from when NYU "jumped" Michigan - haven't really been blooded in yet. Plus the self-selection - during my time there (as someone from the Far West but grew up in East Lansing) I definitely was shocked with the anti-leaving NYC attitude.

This brings about another important point I experienced as a student who got their BL position during 3L - NYU is definitely shrouded out by HYS and Columbia when it comes to certain locations. That isn't to say NYU doesnt have a ton of associates at V5 or V10 firms - of course they do. But what I've noticed is that unless your grades are exceptional - lets say top 25 - 30% - it really can be a crapshoot at OCI. I have friends who ended up at a V40/50 while being above median - that isn't to say that's something that can't occur - but it definitely wasn't their expected outcome. I also know people with 3.0s that are at V10s (and no, they're not URMs) - GPA definitely matters, but the undergrad institution seemed to matter a HELL of a lot as well. It was only when I started applying to satellite offices in the Southeast and Chicago that I really felt the "prestige" effect.

If you know for certain you want to head back to Michigan (and as someone who lived there I totally get it), I don't think NYU is really worth the added value at all. Midlaw in Michigan is dominated by Honigman, Dykema and Dickinson Wright - and most of their attorneys are Michigan educated - and many of their partners Michigan guys and very few NYU people - barring LLMs. I was able to network with a couple of attorneys in the area and the main question they asked me is "Why didn't I just go to Michigan?" I got the same questions in Chicago as well. If you kill it at NYU youll be set no matter what - but with the cost I think it'd be best to head to Ann Arbor

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by GSDMutt » Tue May 04, 2021 11:41 pm

Hi-So - ArshavinFan wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 4:39 pm
...
It has to do with past ranking and self-selection
...
Thank you. This is great stuff. I sense an overall hesitancy on your part about NYU Law as an NYU Law grad. One of my concerns is the strength (or lack thereof) of the alumni network. I get the sense that alumni feel more warmly toward Michigan than they do toward NYU.

I am interested to hear you mention undergraduate prestige. My undergrad is nothing special -- a flagship state school in a region I wouldn't care to practice. I wonder if that should tilt me towards selecting a law school for prestige, but then again the sense I'm getting from this discussion is that NYU (despite being among the vaunted "T6") is not that much more prestigious than Michigan.

Then again, my HYS graduate friend recommended that I consider trying to transfer up from Michigan if I matriculated there in the fall. Sounds like the jury is out on what is "prestigious enough."

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by cavalier1138 » Wed May 05, 2021 6:21 am

GSDMutt wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 11:41 pm
Thank you. This is great stuff. I sense an overall hesitancy on your part about NYU Law as an NYU Law grad. One of my concerns is the strength (or lack thereof) of the alumni network. I get the sense that alumni feel more warmly toward Michigan than they do toward NYU.
That's because you're only hearing from any NYU alumni who had a negative experience. I also went to NYU and have no idea where they're getting the idea that you need to be top third to do well at OCI. The numbers totally contradict that. The point about federal clerkships is also nonsense; as another poster noted, NYU students tend to focus on clerkships that aren't available immediately after graduation. Federal clerkships are hard to get from anywhere, but Michigan doesn't have some secret advantage.

In terms of alumni networks: Every T13 has a great alumni network. And this is, again, something you seem to be focusing on in order to avoid focusing on your real issues. You need to figure out how you plan to pay off your loans. If it's through LRAP, NYU is unambiguously better on that front. But that's largely going to be dependent on your career track, which you seem to have planned out without doing any real research into the field(s) you're drawn to.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by Hi-So - ArshavinFan » Wed May 05, 2021 7:52 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 6:21 am
GSDMutt wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 11:41 pm
Thank you. This is great stuff. I sense an overall hesitancy on your part about NYU Law as an NYU Law grad. One of my concerns is the strength (or lack thereof) of the alumni network. I get the sense that alumni feel more warmly toward Michigan than they do toward NYU.
That's because you're only hearing from any NYU alumni who had a negative experience. I also went to NYU and have no idea where they're getting the idea that you need to be top third to do well at OCI. The numbers totally contradict that.
My experience at NYU wasn't a net negative at all. And my saying it's a crapshoot doesn't imply that most people who want BigLaw don't get it. But as a recent grad, I do know that certain GPA bands didn't hold firm with certain firms as they used to in my OCI cycle. There is a level of uncertainty below the top 30% as to what firm you can land. OCS will make it appear as grades make it somewhat clearcut, but I know many people who that didn't happen for. They still got BL, just not at their ideal firms. OP

The point about federal clerkships is also nonsense; as another poster noted, NYU students tend to focus on clerkships that aren't available immediately after graduation. Federal clerkships are hard to get from anywhere, but Michigan doesn't have some secret advantage.
Their midwest clerkship numbers/percentages suggest otherwise.

In terms of alumni networks: Every T13 has a great alumni network.
Again, this is from your perspective. But as a URM and coming from a state school, I know multiple students who don't feel the same way. I wouldn't go making absolute statements as if they're facts.

And this is, again, something you seem to be focusing on in order to avoid focusing on your real issues. You need to figure out how you plan to pay off your loans. If it's through LRAP, NYU is unambiguously better on that front. But that's largely going to be dependent on your career track, which you seem to have planned out without doing any real research into the field(s) you're drawn to.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by GSDMutt » Wed May 05, 2021 3:38 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 6:21 am
...
In terms of alumni networks: Every T13 has a great alumni network. And this is, again, something you seem to be focusing on in order to avoid focusing on your real issues. You need to figure out how you plan to pay off your loans...
I'm sorry I wasn't clearer in my initial post. There will be no loans. Money is a secondary consideration. I would rather spend $100k less than $100k more, but I will not have the ball-and-chain of law school loans following me around for the first several years of my career.

Therefore, I am optimizing for a) which school is going to put me in good stead for an interesting and varied legal career and b) where I'd rather spend the next three years.

It sounds as if either school satisfies A, although there's some dispute about whether NYU Law's higher ranking is reflected in better employment outcomes. I have spoken to graduates of both schools who tell me that top employers will dig deeper into NYU's class than they will into Michigan's. Cavalier, what was your first-job-hunting experience like coming out of NYU? Was the world your oyster?

Here's the data. I just can't wrap my head around why they're so similar -- even with a bit of an edge to Michigan for clerkship and under-employment, with an edge for NYU in terms of big law: https://www.lstreports.com/compare/nyu/michigan

Only I can answer where I'd rather live for the next three years.

Thanks, all, for your assistance. I am tapping my non-anon networks as well, but it's helpful to have the dispassionate judgment of the Internet too.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Wed May 05, 2021 4:45 pm

GSDMutt wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 3:38 pm
I just can't wrap my head around why they're so similar
There's no mystery. They're similar schools in most of the ways that matter. Slightly less prestigious than Harvard or Yale and slightly more prestigious than Cornell or Georgetown.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by mandrewsf » Thu May 06, 2021 12:30 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:10 am
At Michigan, this could be financially ruinous if you spent any less than 10 years in public service. Michigan only offers PSLF-based LRAP, so you'd face amortizing interest during the public-service portion of your career (i.e. you'd be more in debt when you entered private practice).
This is inaccurate. Michigan's LRAP is not conditional on PSLF. You qualify as long as your position requires you to have a JD (excluding clerkships or law school funded positions).

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by cavalier1138 » Thu May 06, 2021 6:15 am

mandrewsf wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 12:30 am
This is inaccurate. Michigan's LRAP is not conditional on PSLF. You qualify as long as your position requires you to have a JD (excluding clerkships or law school funded positions).
This is somewhat a moot point because the OP is not relying on loans, but that has nothing to do with Michigan's LRAP being dependent on PSLF (it absolutely is). Under Michigan's program, if you are in an eligible PI job, Michigan will cover a certain amount of your IBR debt payments, depending on your income. But full participation in the program relies on the government forgiving the entire loan after 10 years under PSLF. Michigan will cover negative amortization if you leave early, but that's it. That is not the same as a traditional LRAP, which actually helps pay down your debt (again, based on income) on a standard 10-year payment plan. NYU (along with Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, and Yale) offers a traditional LRAP; Michigan does not. Traditional LRAPs may also cover jobs that are not included in the government's definition of "law-related" that Michigan and others rely on for defining the scope of their own program (e.g. NYU covers clerkships if you go into PI afterwards).

TL;DR If you're a PI student at Michigan and think you aren't going to have to be reliant on PSLF, you need to start talking with your financial aid office about how this process actually works.
Hi-So - ArshavinFan wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 7:52 am
Their midwest clerkship numbers/percentages suggest otherwise.
This has been raised elsewhere, but the reason NYU and Columbia have lower fedclerk numbers for recent graduates is about geography. Michigan students are mostly targeting judges that actually hire fresh graduates. NYU and Columbia students are mostly targeting judges who hire clerks with at least a year or two of experience. If you surveyed your classmates, you'd find that the overwhelming majority of the people clerking are going to do so next year or 1-2 years from now.
GSDMutt wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 3:38 pm
Cavalier, what was your first-job-hunting experience like coming out of NYU? Was the world your oyster?
I'm going to PM you so I can be more specific.

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Re: NYU (~$104k COA) vs. Michigan ($70k COA)

Post by mandrewsf » Thu May 06, 2021 11:29 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 6:15 am

This is somewhat a moot point because the OP is not relying on loans, but that has nothing to do with Michigan's LRAP being dependent on PSLF (it absolutely is). Under Michigan's program, if you are in an eligible PI job, Michigan will cover a certain amount of your IBR debt payments, depending on your income. But full participation in the program relies on the government forgiving the entire loan after 10 years under PSLF. Michigan will cover negative amortization if you leave early, but that's it. That is not the same as a traditional LRAP, which actually helps pay down your debt (again, based on income) on a standard 10-year payment plan. NYU (along with Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, and Yale) offers a traditional LRAP; Michigan does not. Traditional LRAPs may also cover jobs that are not included in the government's definition of "law-related" that Michigan and others rely on for defining the scope of their own program (e.g. NYU covers clerkships if you go into PI afterwards).

TL;DR If you're a PI student at Michigan and think you aren't going to have to be reliant on PSLF, you need to start talking with your financial aid office about how this process actually works.
Interesting, thanks! I thought Michigan's program seems fairly generous, but it appears that the schools you mentioned are even more so.

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