The University of St. Thomas School of Law announced Wednesday that it is implementing a tuition freeze for its next incoming class.

All members of the class of 2017 who begin taking courses in fall 2014 will be guaranteed no tuition increases during the entire three-year juris doctor program. In addition, by switching from a per-credit tuition model to a flat-fee structure, the first-year tuition rate for these law students will decrease by more than $2,000 over the current rate.

Previously, students had paid a higher first-year rate because of a heavier credit load in the first year compared to the second and third years. Tuition now will be spread evenly across the three years, at a rate of $36,843 annually.

“Students are understandably concerned about the cost of legal education,” Dean Robert Vischer said, “and guaranteeing incoming students that they’ll pay the same tuition for full-time enrollment across all three years helps us be as transparent as possible about cost.”

The School of Law also will keep tuition prices frozen for current second- and third-year students. Tuition has not risen at the School of Law since the start of the 2012-13 academic year.

In addition to the tuition freeze, the School of Law’s $62 million endowment will continue to allow it to award generous scholarships to deserving students. Scholarship awards are based not just on academics but also on contribution to the school’s mission, which seeks to integrate faith and reason in the search for truth through a focus on morality and social justice.

All scholarships are offered on a three-year basis, meaning students retain the scholarship as long as they remain in good academic standing.