Doorkeeper, although I usually agree with most of the stuff you post on this site, I kind of wonder why you feel that the OP's options "suck" in this case. Unless you are working under the presumption that sticker at HYS also sucks, I am not sure how can justify your statement. Based on this
, which is in turn based on the ABA data
, the difference between Penn (77.04%), Harvard (71.36%), and Chicago (70.70%) in terms of BigLaw + AIII placement is within 6%. For article III clerkships
alone, the difference between Harvard (17.80%), Chicago (14.42%), and Penn (10.37%) is still about 6%. I understand that YHS are >>> everything else, but if you consider what the OP has as "sucks," I wonder how you justify one of the top 3 to someone who doesn't qualify for need-based aid. With IBR and now PAYE, debt-pwnage is becoming less and less of an issue even if the amount of student loans is astronomical.
1. Biglaw + AIII is not a great metric for satisfactory job placements considering the amount of students at HYS that go into other areas immediately after law school (re: gov and PI). Harvard has double the PI than Penn (11% to 5%) and more than double the federal and international government work (11% to 5%). Add those up and you're looking at more like an 18-20% difference in placement. Chicago is close to Harvard on most of these metrics, but consistently a few points behind. I'm cool with paying for almost all of Chicago, but I just think $280k in debt is a really, really high sum here. I suggested that OP use his/her Penn money to get a scholarship out of Chicago, and if he can get $30-50k here then Chicago seems ok.
2. I wouldn't say HYS at sticker is wonderful either, but I think the doors that open to these students in a variety of different formats that is often simply unavailable to the Penn kids (and much less available to the C kids), pushes the bar for these three schools. If you live and die by academia or prestigious bigfed, well then that $300k in debt is the only way you're going to achieve it and you have to deal. But if your goal is simply biglaw (and a clerkship if it's nice), then why get into the crazy sums of debt when it's not necessary with a retake/reapply?
3. I admit that I don't know much about debt repayment, so I can't comment on how much of an "issue" it is with IBR and PAYE.