Your Support Matters More Than Ever

Supporting Students

Dean Jorge Garcia

 

As Assistant Dean of JD Admission, Diversity Initiatives, and Financial Aid, I sought out this opportunity to reach out to you directly to express my concern for students at USD School of Law. At a time when institutional resources are limited, the impact of COVID-19 has hit law students and their families hard; so much so, that students may not be able to complete their legal education without additional scholarship support. Financial conditions abruptly changed overnight for the Class of 2020, specifically, and for all USD law students in general. These students will experience record job loss, reduced employment prospects, immediate loss of income for themselves and for their families. In the same way that the Great Depression shaped the lives and attitudes of our parents and grandparents, this global pandemic is influencing the future prospects of law school graduates. 

In the wake of COVID-19, scholarship support has become more critical than ever. Without additional aid, many students will lack the necessary resources to finish their law degrees and graduate from USD School of Law. 

Most of the students I speak with share a similar concern - the amount of financial support the law school will be able to provide given the financial stresses being placed on the entire University. USD School of Law considers affordability and equal access to educational opportunities to be core values. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the law school has provided emergency funds to travel home or relocate off-campus - back to their families - when the mandate for social distancing meant living and learning on campus was no longer possible. The law school also committed funds for emergency assistance for those who are faced with unexpected hardships impacting their living conditions, remote learning and unforeseen interruptions in educational programming. In addition, the law school has continued to pay student employees for expected work schedules through the end of the term. The law school remains committed to supporting emergency needs through this crisis - absolutely!

The Interim Dean of USD School of Law, the administration and the entire law faculty are fully engaged in responding to the needs of students brought on by COVID-19, while remaining committed to the mission of excellence in legal education. We know one thing for sure, throughout the remainder of this year and next, the needs of our students will be greater than ever before. Before COVID-19, more than 80 percent of our students received scholarships or some other form of financial aid or assistance. It is a number that has increased in recent years in our effort to make a high-quality legal education more accessible to students who are not only academically stellar, but also diverse. It's also a figure we expect will continue to grow as families across the nation recover from the many challenges related to this crisis. 

The Dean's Scholarship Initiative is providing a lifeline for students who are committed to completing their degrees - no matter what. I want to reinforce how critical this initiative is for our individual students and collectively for the law school. As always, your scholarship contributions are essential as we work to build a more diverse student body and attract top students who will become future leaders. More than ever before, your contributions will allow us to provide essential financial support for returning students whose families have been hardest hit by this crisis. Current use scholarships are helping the law school to fill student needs and alleviate financial strain immediately.   

I am asking you to make an investment in scholarships that will enable students who are on the cusp of completing their degrees to persevere in the face of what seems like insurmountable challenges.

I know that our local communities, as well as our nation as a whole, will need the help of this generation of graduates to adequately address the legal issues brought on by COVID-19. 

With my sincere appreciation,

Jorge Garcia
Assistant Dean of JD Admissions, Diversity Initiatives and Financial Aid