Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

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pomona
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby pomona » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:30 am

aryncita wrote:
showNprove wrote:Also keep in mind that attorney salaries generally rise at a rate above the average.


Say what? That is true for biglaw attorneys, but it definitely isn't true for anyone else. The earnings for non-biglaw attorneys has barely kept up with inflation for the past 20 years or so.

In any event, I think the main reason that law school tuition is so ridiculously expensive is b/c of the way that USNWR ranks schools (plus the fact that it is virtually the only system out there for ranking law schools). For a law school to improve its USNWR rank, they have to do one of 3 things: 1) They can try to improve their subjective "reputation" score, which usually requires hiring "big-name" faculty members, which requires lots of money. 2) They can try to improve the LSAT/UGPA numbers of their admitted students, which usually requires giving money to students who are above their current medians. 3) They can spend more money on libraries/facilities/student aid, which obviously also requires money.

Bottom line is that to keep up in the rankings game, schools needs to have lots of money to spend, and the only easy way for law schools to raise money is by raising tuition. And this incentive is much worse for law schools than it is for medical schools (where rankings are determined primarily by the amount of NIH money the schools can attract) and business schools (where rankings are determined primarily by how much money their new graduates earn). And unfortunately this trend will probably continue until a viable alternative to the USNWR rankings exists. (Personally, I would love to see schools start publishing more reliable employment statistics so that one can easily rank law schools based on the likelihood of obtaining a high-paying job. This system has some drawbacks of its own: Its basically the system used to rank business schools, and as a result, most business schools are reluctant to admit anyone who didn't have a very successful career prior to business school. But I still like the idea that law schools could improve their ranking by trying to ensure that all their students get good jobs rather than by hiring famous faculty member or spending tons of money to trick out the law dorms.)

While you've explained potential reasons why the costs of running a law school may be rising, what I think we're trying to understand is why students are willing to pay higher and higher tuition rates. Even if the costs of running a law school are going up, there still need to be students willing to pay the price. That is, looking at the costs involved in running a law school doesn't explain what's going on with demand.

As others have mentioned, I think the primary reason why tuition is astronomically high is due to easy access to credit.

whatitdont
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby whatitdont » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:28 am

Antop wrote:
showNprove wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand


+1


meh...so you think the average indebtedness of ls grads and post-2005 bankruptcy law + lack of regulations + lack of disclosure requirements for private lenders don't indicate artificial demand? really?

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williambrianlondon
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby williambrianlondon » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:37 am

Your question turns into a statement.

What are you, a lawyer?

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AR75
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby AR75 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:38 am

As others have mentioned, I think the primary reason why tuition is astronomically high is due to easy access to credit.


Winnah.

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Lawguru
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby Lawguru » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:39 am

NoamChomsky wrote:http://www.registrar.ucla.edu/fees/fall08fee.htm

1yr (2 sem) Tuition for Medical School: $24,232

1yr (3qrt) Tuition for Dental School: $28,233

1yr (2 sem) Tuition for Law School: $30,802 (soon to be bumped to 36k)

1 yr (3 qrt) Tuition for Business School: $31,845

Why do students (the market) tolerate this? I know dental schools and medical schools require an enormous amount of money to maintain clinics, research, equipment, etc.... but how does one justify the higher tuition for law schools (and b-schools for that matter) ?

*edited for clarity


SIMPLE SIMPLE ECONOMICS. How long is Dental School? How long is Med School?

Now ask yourself how long is business or law school? THAT is why the average prices are different. So NO, law school prices are no much more of a scam than any other form of grad school.

whatitdont
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby whatitdont » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:21 am

AR75 wrote:
As others have mentioned, I think the primary reason why tuition is astronomically high is due to easy access to credit.


Winnah.


mmmm yeah quants represent, we're like an effective successful mnority of JDU

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redsox8105
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby redsox8105 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:30 am

showNprove wrote:
aryncita wrote:
showNprove wrote:Also keep in mind that attorney salaries generally rise at a rate above the average.


Say what? That is true for biglaw attorneys, but it definitely isn't true for anyone else. The earnings for non-biglaw attorneys has barely kept up with inflation for the past 20 years or so.

I read that somewhere a little while ago. It wasn't referring to starting salaries, but increases in an individual's earnings over time.

For instance, when I worked at a grocery store, I got a $0.50 raise after one year. Obviously an exaggeration--as deli associates aren't "average"--but it illustrates my point. Generally, people with graduate and professional degrees will see their incomes rise over the years at a greater rate than those without.

But maybe I'm wrong.

I think what you're going for is that there is greater upward mobility with a law degree than with, say, a high school education or a regular undergrad. I don't have the statistics to back this up, but I'm inclined to agree with you. Much is made of the terrifying prospects of starting at 50k (rightly so, with debt and all), but we tend to forget in our little debt calculations that we won't be making 50k every year for the rest of our lives.

aryncita
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby aryncita » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:14 am

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Last edited by aryncita on Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BigBill
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby BigBill » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:01 am

I've actually read about this in a few economics books. Law School and colleges in general tend to be expensive because of the requirements to stay accredited. Thomas Sowell's "Economic Facts and Fallacies" gives an example of this. Whether a college gets accredited or not usually depends on what inputs the school has and not the outputs it produces. For instance, accreditation usually focuses on things like library book volumes, faculty to student ratios, class sizes, and facility sizes just to name a few rather than more important things like how many students go on to get professional degrees, what kind of students the school produces. It is cheaper to have library books available through computer data bases, because it costs more to maintain actual books. Student book costs would be cheaper if they can have them available on-line or via DVD. It is cheaper for a professor to teach to larger class sizes, and it is cheaper to higher professionals to teach part time in the evening i.e. criminal defense lawyer to teach evening courses on criminal law. Colleges would be cheaper without

In the book, he uses the example of Colorado Law School. The ABA threatened to take away Colorado Law School's accreditation even though 92% of its graduates were passing the bar on the first try (better than Harvard and Yale). The ABA's concern was lack of minority and female faculty; having too many adjunct (part-time) professors; lack of new buildings; and low law library expenditures (they spent $1.7 million per year, about $1 million lower than the average). These are all inputs, not the outputs of the graduates. Obviously it is cheaper and more beneficial to the Law student when the law school hires lawyers in a specific areas of law to teach on those particular subjects, and allow for a smaller number of full-time professors to focus broader and more fundamental aspects of the law. As mentioned previously, it is cheaper to have less online databases than actual books; it's cheaper to not build new buildings until it is absolutely necessary to do so. So in order for Colorado Law School to stay accredited, it had to spend more than $40 million for a new building; hire more full time professors while letting the part-timers go, and spend money on it's library. Tuition rose from $6,700 annually to $16,738 for in-state and out of state tuition rose to $30,814 annually.

He has a whole chapter in his book on Academia and why the costs of college are growing rapidly, but I just put the above information because it was relevant to Law School.

hitmon33
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby hitmon33 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:15 am

There is tons of demand for medical school though and its tuition is lower (at least at UCLA). For example, a medical school like UCLA accepts anywhere from 1 out of 35 applicants to 1 out of 50 applicants. Many med schools bring in classes in the low 100s, whereas many law schools triple or quadruple that. And the acceptance rate is much higher. Raise medical tuition and I'm positive that the students would still pay it. Those people are dying to go to medical school.

I wonder if medical school is cheaper because often times, the school functions as both a hospital and a school, and the work aspiring doctors do is actually substantive and helps patients.

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king3780
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby king3780 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:42 am

BigBill wrote:I've actually read about this in a few economics books. Law School and colleges in general tend to be expensive because of the requirements to stay accredited. Thomas Sowell's "Economic Facts and Fallacies" gives an example of this. Whether a college gets accredited or not usually depends on what inputs the school has and not the outputs it produces. For instance, accreditation usually focuses on things like library book volumes, faculty to student ratios, class sizes, and facility sizes just to name a few rather than more important things like how many students go on to get professional degrees, what kind of students the school produces. It is cheaper to have library books available through computer data bases, because it costs more to maintain actual books. Student book costs would be cheaper if they can have them available on-line or via DVD. It is cheaper for a professor to teach to larger class sizes, and it is cheaper to higher professionals to teach part time in the evening i.e. criminal defense lawyer to teach evening courses on criminal law. Colleges would be cheaper without

In the book, he uses the example of Colorado Law School. The ABA threatened to take away Colorado Law School's accreditation even though 92% of its graduates were passing the bar on the first try (better than Harvard and Yale). The ABA's concern was lack of minority and female faculty; having too many adjunct (part-time) professors; lack of new buildings; and low law library expenditures (they spent $1.7 million per year, about $1 million lower than the average). These are all inputs, not the outputs of the graduates. Obviously it is cheaper and more beneficial to the Law student when the law school hires lawyers in a specific areas of law to teach on those particular subjects, and allow for a smaller number of full-time professors to focus broader and more fundamental aspects of the law. As mentioned previously, it is cheaper to have less online databases than actual books; it's cheaper to not build new buildings until it is absolutely necessary to do so. So in order for Colorado Law School to stay accredited, it had to spend more than $40 million for a new building; hire more full time professors while letting the part-timers go, and spend money on it's library. Tuition rose from $6,700 annually to $16,738 for in-state and out of state tuition rose to $30,814 annually.

He has a whole chapter in his book on Academia and why the costs of college are growing rapidly, but I just put the above information because it was relevant to Law School.


Thank you for this very informative post.

araiza99
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby araiza99 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:18 am

BigBill wrote:I've actually read about this in a few economics books. Law School and colleges in general tend to be expensive because of the requirements to stay accredited.


Yeah but lots of schools have low in-state tuition. How do you explain that? They are certainly not getting big bucks from their states. For example, W&M, UNC, etc...

BTW, why do schools give huge scholarships? Schools throw around $50k - $90k to their students. I think the high $$ provides a lot of benefit to manipulate the entering class.

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kurla88
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby kurla88 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:25 am

helvidius2010 wrote:
NoamChomsky wrote:
showNprove wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand


I guess my question is why do students pay for something they know shouldn't cost as much. It seems pretty irrational.


The federal government distorts rational supply and demand in this situation by passing out student loan money like candy on Halloween. Does it help many people afford school? Yes. But it also makes sure that most go into tremendous debt once we are there.


As versus what, though, only allowing students who already have money (from where, parents?) to go? Only giving out loans to people in T1 schools because they can most likely pay it back? Debt is bad, but I don't see another viable option.

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Dick Whitman
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby Dick Whitman » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:58 am

If you don't like paying full price go to an in-state public school or a lower ranked school with a scholarship.

Most of the people who take the LSAT won't be accepted to even one law school -- if law school tuition is such a scam, why don't law schools admit all these students?

Regarding concerns around the ease of getting credit for law school, there is nothing the upper-middle class fears (well, one of many, many upper-middle class fears) more than having to compete with the poor on equal footing.

Law school is expensive in large part because it's a good investment. For students at the top of the range, making $160,000/year starting out makes for a great ROI, even with $200,000 in loans. Even at the bottom of the range, $50,000/year is much more than the worst paid workers in almost every career make.

BigBill
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby BigBill » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:45 am

araiza99 wrote:
BigBill wrote:I've actually read about this in a few economics books. Law School and colleges in general tend to be expensive because of the requirements to stay accredited.


Yeah but lots of schools have low in-state tuition. How do you explain that? They are certainly not getting big bucks from their states. For example, W&M, UNC, etc...

BTW, why do schools give huge scholarships? Schools throw around $50k - $90k to their students. I think the high $$ provides a lot of benefit to manipulate the entering class.



Schools, have low in-state tuition because the residents of the state get to pay less because of they pay taxes in that state, which are used to fund the school. For example, students attending schools in Michigan that live in Michigan pay less because their tax money helps fund the school, whereas those living out of Michigan who attend school in Michigan will pay more to make up for not paying taxes.
At least that's what I hear. It makes some sense though.

BigBill
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby BigBill » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:49 am

king3780 wrote:
BigBill wrote:I've actually read about this in a few economics books. Law School and colleges in general tend to be expensive because of the requirements to stay accredited. Thomas Sowell's "Economic Facts and Fallacies" gives an example of this. Whether a college gets accredited or not usually depends on what inputs the school has and not the outputs it produces. For instance, accreditation usually focuses on things like library book volumes, faculty to student ratios, class sizes, and facility sizes just to name a few rather than more important things like how many students go on to get professional degrees, what kind of students the school produces. It is cheaper to have library books available through computer data bases, because it costs more to maintain actual books. Student book costs would be cheaper if they can have them available on-line or via DVD. It is cheaper for a professor to teach to larger class sizes, and it is cheaper to higher professionals to teach part time in the evening i.e. criminal defense lawyer to teach evening courses on criminal law. Colleges would be cheaper without

In the book, he uses the example of Colorado Law School. The ABA threatened to take away Colorado Law School's accreditation even though 92% of its graduates were passing the bar on the first try (better than Harvard and Yale). The ABA's concern was lack of minority and female faculty; having too many adjunct (part-time) professors; lack of new buildings; and low law library expenditures (they spent $1.7 million per year, about $1 million lower than the average). These are all inputs, not the outputs of the graduates. Obviously it is cheaper and more beneficial to the Law student when the law school hires lawyers in a specific areas of law to teach on those particular subjects, and allow for a smaller number of full-time professors to focus broader and more fundamental aspects of the law. As mentioned previously, it is cheaper to have less online databases than actual books; it's cheaper to not build new buildings until it is absolutely necessary to do so. So in order for Colorado Law School to stay accredited, it had to spend more than $40 million for a new building; hire more full time professors while letting the part-timers go, and spend money on it's library. Tuition rose from $6,700 annually to $16,738 for in-state and out of state tuition rose to $30,814 annually.

He has a whole chapter in his book on Academia and why the costs of college are growing rapidly, but I just put the above information because it was relevant to Law School.


Thank you for this very informative post.



No Problem, Thomas Sowell is a really good Economist and Writer. He has written over 40 books about economics, culture, and race. I would recommend reading his books.

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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby bigben » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:29 pm

Dick Whitman wrote:Regarding concerns around the ease of getting credit for law school, there is nothing the upper-middle class fears (well, one of many, many upper-middle class fears) more than having to compete with the poor on equal footing.


Bet you're pretty proud of that remark. But you're wrong.

Every dime I have ever paid in tuition has come painfully from the sweat of my brow or a government loan. I appreciate social mobility more than most. But I still recognize the folly of unfettered educational loans. It is the exact same thing we just got done doing with the housing market, remember that? The cost of something has to be related to the value it provides. If a student loan goes into default, like they are all across the country, it's probably not because of some unforeseen problem, it's because that loan never should have been made in the first place. This is just another huge blow to the economy waiting to happen. Universities are raking in huge tuition fees from folks who sign up for the full amount in non-bankruptible student loans (government is even subsidizing the private loans now by making them non-bankruptible). In many cases this education provides little or no value to the student. They could have been making a salary for all those years and developing a valuable skill. Now, when they finally take a job that has nothing to do with their education, they enter into indentured servitude for the majority of the rest of their life. Meanwhile, higher education is the most booming business in the country. Huge, extravagant campuses are being built but it's all money down the drain. Does this sound like equal footing and social mobility to you?

This is the extreme example, of course, but it makes the point.


kurla88 wrote:As versus what, though, only allowing students who already have money (from where, parents?) to go? Only giving out loans to people in T1 schools because they can most likely pay it back? Debt is bad, but I don't see another viable option.


I'm not saying there is an easy answer--tough problems like this rarely have easy answers.

What I do know is that we cannot continue handing out loans willy nilly. There has to be some effort to make the loan amounts reflect the value that the education provides. Now, common sense tells us that if the government dropped out of the student loan business altogether, the only loans that would be made are the ones that accurately reflect real economic value and risk. If you are really able to pay back a loan, you will be able to get that loan.

That is an extreme position though; the appropriate path is probably something in between.

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JuryDueT1000
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby JuryDueT1000 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:38 pm

Perhaps you're just in the wrong country? Perhaps a most socialistic style country would suit your needs. I suggest France.

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ruleser
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby ruleser » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:42 pm

helvidius2010 wrote:
NoamChomsky wrote:
showNprove wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand


I guess my question is why do students pay for something they know shouldn't cost as much. It seems pretty irrational.


The federal government distorts rational supply and demand in this situation by passing out student loan money like candy on Halloween. Does it help many people afford school? Yes. But it also makes sure that most go into tremendous debt once we are there.


+1 Easy access to loans overinflates - just like health insurance allows the cost of a doc visit to be 5X what anyone would pay otherwise.

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Rsrcht
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Re: Is it just me... or is law school tuition is a SCAM

Postby Rsrcht » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:46 pm

To determine whether or not it is a scam, I think it depends on which school you are paying tuition to and what you want to do with a JD afterward. In all cases, prospective students need to do their research before making a decision. They need to identify all significant doubts and assumptions and address them. There are many students who attend law school for the wrong reasons, and despite being told otherwise, insist upon being uncritical of what they hear and of their own doubts. The law schools certainly won't give them all sorts of reasons not to go. The students applied, so it's assumed that the student has it all figured out. The lenders won't usually say no because they are backed by the government. US news has no incentive beyond selling magazines, so they don't really care as much about how accurate their data is than others do. It seems like many individuals are willing to look the other way and give in to belief uncritically either because it is profitable for them or because they have a false sense of security.

JJCalderon
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Re: Is it just me... or is lawl skool tuition is a SCAM

Postby JJCalderon » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:43 am

Should be a crime

stillWaiting23
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Re: Is it just me... or is lawl skool tuition is a SCAM

Postby stillWaiting23 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:59 am

You also have to look at the demand for law school, and ask yourself why it is so high. As the number of people with undergraduate degrees rises, the undergraduate degree gets you less and less. If you are a history/english/psych major (reasonable majors that aren't highly marketable), you really don't have many other options. Yes, if you go into law school you might not get your dream job. But, if you are a history major with an average GPA from a non-amazing school without a ton of connections, you are going to be in an awful position.

Many people pay the tuition they pay because they feel like they don't have any other options.

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General Tso
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Re: Is it just me... or is lawl skool tuition is a SCAM

Postby General Tso » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:20 am

king3780 wrote:
BigBill wrote:I've actually read about this in a few economics books. lawl skool and colleges in general tend to be expensive because of the requirements to stay accredited. Thomas Sowell's "Economic Facts and Fallacies" gives an example of this. Whether a college gets accredited or not usually depends on what inputs the school has and not the outputs it produces. For instance, accreditation usually focuses on things like library book volumes, faculty to student ratios, class sizes, and facility sizes just to name a few rather than more important things like how many students go on to get professional degrees, what kind of students the school produces. It is cheaper to have library books available through computer data bases, because it costs more to maintain actual books. Student book costs would be cheaper if they can have them available on-line or via DVD. It is cheaper for a professor to teach to larger class sizes, and it is cheaper to higher professionals to teach part time in the evening i.e. criminal defense lawyer to teach evening courses on criminal law. Colleges would be cheaper without

In the book, he uses the example of Colorado lawl skool. The ABA threatened to take away Colorado lawl skool's accreditation even though 92% of its graduates were passing the bar on the first try (better than Not YLS and New Haven Community College). The ABA's concern was lack of minority and female faculty; having too many adjunct (part-time) professors; lack of new buildings; and low law library expenditures (they spent $1.7 million per year, about $1 million lower than the average). These are all inputs, not the outputs of the graduates. Obviously it is cheaper and more beneficial to the Law student when the lawl skool hires lawyers in a specific areas of law to teach on those particular subjects, and allow for a smaller number of full-time professors to focus broader and more fundamental aspects of the law. As mentioned previously, it is cheaper to have less online databases than actual books; it's cheaper to not build new buildings until it is absolutely necessary to do so. So in order for Colorado lawl skool to stay accredited, it had to spend more than $40 million for a new building; hire more full time professors while letting the part-timers go, and spend money on it's library. Tuition rose from $6,700 annually to $16,738 for in-state and out of state tuition rose to $30,814 annually.

He has a whole chapter in his book on Academia and why the costs of college are growing rapidly, but I just put the above information because it was relevant to lawl skool.


Thank you for this very informative post.


I agree...excellent post. I will check out the book.

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Mr. Matlock
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Re: Is it just me... or is lawl skool tuition is a SCAM

Postby Mr. Matlock » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:37 am

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splay
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Re: Is it just me... or is lawl skool tuition is a SCAM

Postby splay » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:54 am

Ugh. I can't believe how much you silly Americans pay for education. It IS a scam.




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