Why is law school so expensive?

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby CGI Fridays » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:12 am

bigben wrote:
BU2013 wrote:one of the statistics weighed most heavily by the USNWR is the ammount of $ spent per student. In order to maintain their ranks, schools are encouraged to charge students higher tuition and dump that money into anything and everything, whether it has realistic benefit or not.

All institutions want more money whenever they can get it. USNWR has no effect; this push for more money would exist without USNWR.


Yes, all institutions want more money, but if their competitiveness depends in part on their USNWR ranking, which depends in part on how much they spend on students, they'll spend lots of money on students. But that leaves them with less profit, so they'll likely charge more overall than they would have if they'd been able to pocket a larger portion of tuition.

Of course "this push for more money" would still exist otherwise. I don't think that was posited as a stand-alone answer to the question, but it definitely appears that it may play some role.

bigben
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby bigben » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:19 am

MrAnon wrote:All these answers are a bit off the mark. The answer is the open and free availability of student loans. You simply need to have a heartbeat and decent but not great credit to borrow $60,000 per year for school. Any private lender will gladly give it to you because it is none dischargeable so that no matter what happens you or your family is on the hook. Doesn't matter whether you get a job or not or go to Yale or Ave Maria. The government also guarantees much of this money should the student default, to the extent he is permitted. If the government decided tomorrow not to guarantee loans and if loans became dischargeable in bankruptcy court then you'd see some changes in the entire educational system. Crap schools would start to fold because there would be no demand for them.

Correct. With the latest student loan "reform," this money is now coming directly from the government, and the outright funding of individuals' education by taxpayers has begun in the form of IBR. Unless we stop funding higher education and undergo the necessary painful readjustments, higher education will become yet another massive taxpayer liability subject to quasi-control by the government.

bigben
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby bigben » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:22 am

CGI Fridays wrote:
bigben wrote:
BU2013 wrote:one of the statistics weighed most heavily by the USNWR is the ammount of $ spent per student. In order to maintain their ranks, schools are encouraged to charge students higher tuition and dump that money into anything and everything, whether it has realistic benefit or not.

All institutions want more money whenever they can get it. USNWR has no effect; this push for more money would exist without USNWR.


Yes, all institutions want more money, but if their competitiveness depends in part on their USNWR ranking, which depends in part on how much they spend on students, they'll spend lots of money on students. But that leaves them with less profit, so they'll likely charge more overall than they would have if they'd been able to pocket a larger portion of tuition.

Of course "this push for more money" would still exist otherwise. I don't think that was posited as a stand-alone answer to the question, but it definitely appears that it may play some role.

They would be charging just as much money in the absence USNWR expenditure category (i.e. as much as they can get away with), though perhaps they would spend it a little differently.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby Holly Golightly » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:25 am

bigben wrote:
MrAnon wrote:All these answers are a bit off the mark. The answer is the open and free availability of student loans. You simply need to have a heartbeat and decent but not great credit to borrow $60,000 per year for school. Any private lender will gladly give it to you because it is none dischargeable so that no matter what happens you or your family is on the hook. Doesn't matter whether you get a job or not or go to Yale or Ave Maria. The government also guarantees much of this money should the student default, to the extent he is permitted. If the government decided tomorrow not to guarantee loans and if loans became dischargeable in bankruptcy court then you'd see some changes in the entire educational system. Crap schools would start to fold because there would be no demand for them.

Correct. With the latest student loan "reform," this money is now coming directly from the government, and the outright funding of individuals' education by taxpayers has begun in the form of IBR. Unless we stop funding higher education and undergo the necessary painful readjustments, higher education will become yet another massive taxpayer liability subject to quasi-control by the government.

:lol:

2011Law
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby 2011Law » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:51 am

Just thought someone should tell the OP that not everyone pays 40 for law school. As an example, if your stats are good you could get into some of the elite schools at sticker, some of the lower t14 with a decent scholarship, and the t20s for free. Of course if your stats are really good you could get into yale for free. Also, at public schools you'll often pay the lower in state tuition after living a year in the state (UF and FSU cost about 15 a year and COL is tiny). Depending on what you want to do with that law degree, sticker at a t-14 or t20 might be worth it over going to a lower ranked school for free, or visa versa. You don't need to plan out your entire life, but you should have a general idea about what you want to do as a lawyer before you go to law school so you don't either burden yourself with unnecessary debt or end up not being able to get the job you really want because of where you got your degree.

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IAFG
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby IAFG » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:58 am

2011Law wrote:Just thought someone should tell the OP that not everyone pays 40 for law school. As an example, if your stats are good you could get into some of the elite schools at sticker, some of the lower t14 with a decent scholarship, and the t20s for free. Of course if your stats are really good you could get into yale for free. Also, at public schools you'll often pay the lower in state tuition after living a year in the state (UF and FSU cost about 15 a year and COL is tiny). Depending on what you want to do with that law degree, sticker at a t-14 or t20 might be worth it over going to a lower ranked school for free, or visa versa. You don't need to plan out your entire life, but you should have a general idea about what you want to do as a lawyer before you go to law school so you don't either burden yourself with unnecessary debt or end up not being able to get the job you really want because of where you got your degree.

i applied very widely and didn't get a single full-ride offer. the idea that you can just trade down for $$$ is naive.

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby CGI Fridays » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:03 am

bigben wrote:They would be charging just as much money in the absence USNWR expenditure category (i.e. as much as they can get away with)

We disagree on whether that's certainly true.
It is possible that "as much as they can get away with" is impacted by how much they spend on students.
bigben wrote:though perhaps they would spend it a little differently.

Without USNWR counting, a school could arguably afford to sink a higher portion of tuition into traditional investments.

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IAFG
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby IAFG » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:05 am

you think LS is bad, check out dental school tuition and fees. yikes.

vstraight
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby vstraight » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:05 am

IAFG wrote:you think LS is bad, check out dental school tuition and fees. yikes.


Yeh but how many dentists do you see 150k in debt and unemployed. Not as many as lawyers.

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IAFG
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby IAFG » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:08 am

Nightrunner wrote:
IAFG wrote:i applied very widely and didn't get a single full-ride offer. the idea that you can just trade down for $$$ is naive.

I have a great deal of difficulty believing that this wasn't a result of the schools to which you chose to apply.

if my #1 goal had been a full-ride i probably would have needed to apply down to where my GPA was close to median. well below T20 or even T1, probably. just saying, people with T14 $$ aren't automatically able to scoop up T20 full-rides.

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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby vstraight » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:09 am

IAFG wrote:
Nightrunner wrote:
IAFG wrote:i applied very widely and didn't get a single full-ride offer. the idea that you can just trade down for $$$ is naive.

I have a great deal of difficulty believing that this wasn't a result of the schools to which you chose to apply.

if my #1 goal had been a full-ride i probably would have needed to apply down to where my GPA was close to median. well below T20 or even T1, probably. just saying, people with T14 $$ aren't automatically able to scoop up T20 full-rides.


Mind if I ask what your numbers were and how your cycle went?

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IAFG
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby IAFG » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:11 am

vstraight wrote:Mind if I ask what your numbers were and how your cycle went?

http://lawschoolnumbers.com/bauerm

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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby vstraight » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:13 am

IAFG wrote:
vstraight wrote:Mind if I ask what your numbers were and how your cycle went?

http://lawschoolnumbers.com/bauerm


Wow! That's very impressive. Are you happy with how it went?

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IAFG
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby IAFG » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:14 am

vstraight wrote:
IAFG wrote:
vstraight wrote:Mind if I ask what your numbers were and how your cycle went?

http://lawschoolnumbers.com/bauerm


Wow! That's very impressive. Are you happy with how it went?

ask me in a year when i know if it results in employment or not

vstraight
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby vstraight » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:18 am

IAFG wrote:
vstraight wrote:
IAFG wrote:
vstraight wrote:Mind if I ask what your numbers were and how your cycle went?

http://lawschoolnumbers.com/bauerm


Wow! That's very impressive. Are you happy with how it went?

ask me in a year when i know if it results in employment or not


Top 10%? 8) 8)

tas817
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby tas817 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:24 am

Not to argue whether government loans for higher education are good or bad, but I keep seeing a recurring theme that the "taxpayers funding this". Aren't those taken the loans taxpayers themselves and if not soon to be taxpayers. Just an observation.

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re-applicant
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby re-applicant » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:45 am

bigben wrote:
MrAnon wrote:All these answers are a bit off the mark. The answer is the open and free availability of student loans. You simply need to have a heartbeat and decent but not great credit to borrow $60,000 per year for school. Any private lender will gladly give it to you because it is none dischargeable so that no matter what happens you or your family is on the hook. Doesn't matter whether you get a job or not or go to Yale or Ave Maria. The government also guarantees much of this money should the student default, to the extent he is permitted. If the government decided tomorrow not to guarantee loans and if loans became dischargeable in bankruptcy court then you'd see some changes in the entire educational system. Crap schools would start to fold because there would be no demand for them.

Correct. With the latest student loan "reform," this money is now coming directly from the government, and the outright funding of individuals' education by taxpayers has begun in the form of IBR. Unless we stop funding higher education and undergo the necessary painful readjustments, higher education will become yet another massive taxpayer liability subject to quasi-control by the government.


I'm not interested in getting into an ideological debate on here, but I just thought I'd point out that "stop funding higher education" isn't the only possible course of action implied by this insight. We could also just be stricter about how much government-sponsored debt can be issued and try to force tuition prices down.

bigben
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby bigben » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:21 pm

re-applicant wrote:
bigben wrote:
MrAnon wrote:All these answers are a bit off the mark. The answer is the open and free availability of student loans. You simply need to have a heartbeat and decent but not great credit to borrow $60,000 per year for school. Any private lender will gladly give it to you because it is none dischargeable so that no matter what happens you or your family is on the hook. Doesn't matter whether you get a job or not or go to Yale or Ave Maria. The government also guarantees much of this money should the student default, to the extent he is permitted. If the government decided tomorrow not to guarantee loans and if loans became dischargeable in bankruptcy court then you'd see some changes in the entire educational system. Crap schools would start to fold because there would be no demand for them.

Correct. With the latest student loan "reform," this money is now coming directly from the government, and the outright funding of individuals' education by taxpayers has begun in the form of IBR. Unless we stop funding higher education and undergo the necessary painful readjustments, higher education will become yet another massive taxpayer liability subject to quasi-control by the government.


I'm not interested in getting into an ideological debate on here, but I just thought I'd point out that "stop funding higher education" isn't the only possible course of action implied by this insight. We could also just be stricter about how much government-sponsored debt can be issued and try to force tuition prices down.

You're right. I didn't mean to make it sound so black and white. Significantly limiting the amount of loans available is certainly an option and something I would support. I'm just skeptical that the government would do this very well if at all. Should it be a universal cap on loans for any program? That seems problematic, since surely some programs are necessarily more costly than others, and surely some programs add more economic value than others. Should the government therefore undertake a valuation of each higher education program to determine how much each individual should be loaned? This seems politically infeasible. Even if it were politically feasible, it seems practically infeasible for a central decision maker to arrive at the correct values. Most likely the government will simply ignore these problems and continue to make significant amounts of loans available for any reason, while perhaps imposing some slight limits. Egregious overspending (spending more than the minimum theoretically necessary to create the same economic value) will continue. To deal with the growing number of people that can't afford to pay their debts, programs like IBR will be expanded.

Even if my particular vision doesn't play out, it's still not clear that higher education won't continue to become a massive taxpayer liability and subject to more government controls.

I think people who disagree with me would say two things. First, "so what?" They don't think it's a big deal for taxpayers to have another massive liability and see no problem with some government control over higher education. Second, I think some would argue that higher education should be about more than just economic value, or that there are economic values in higher education that are harder to detect. In other words, young people should get to go to college just because it's a nice enriching fun experience, even if it does absolutely nothing to prepare them for a career. Or, college is valuable because it makes our citizenry more informed, enlightened, etc. which somehow contributes to economic prosperity. I personally think these arguments are very weak but I won't get into that.

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IAFG
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby IAFG » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:31 pm

Loan caps -> only the wealthy have access to expensive programs

bigben
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby bigben » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:37 pm

IAFG wrote:Loan caps -> only the wealthy have access to expensive programs

Only the wealthy have access to expensive programs --> cheaper programs become ubiquitous
Only the wealthy have access to expensive programs --> expensive programs are now just a club for rich people, not a collection of the best and brightest

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IAFG
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby IAFG » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:41 pm

bigben wrote:
IAFG wrote:Loan caps -> only the wealthy have access to expensive programs

Only the wealthy have access to expensive programs --> cheaper programs become ubiquitous
Only the wealthy have access to expensive programs --> expensive programs are now just a club for rich people, not a collection of the best and brightest

That is exactly the reality modern federal loan programs have successfully changed

2011Law
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby 2011Law » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:44 pm

IAFG wrote:
2011Law wrote:Just thought someone should tell the OP that not everyone pays 40 for law school. As an example, if your stats are good you could get into some of the elite schools at sticker, some of the lower t14 with a decent scholarship, and the t20s for free. Of course if your stats are really good you could get into yale for free. Also, at public schools you'll often pay the lower in state tuition after living a year in the state (UF and FSU cost about 15 a year and COL is tiny). Depending on what you want to do with that law degree, sticker at a t-14 or t20 might be worth it over going to a lower ranked school for free, or visa versa. You don't need to plan out your entire life, but you should have a general idea about what you want to do as a lawyer before you go to law school so you don't either burden yourself with unnecessary debt or end up not being able to get the job you really want because of where you got your degree.

i applied very widely and didn't get a single full-ride offer. the idea that you can just trade down for $$$ is naive.


Didn't say that everyone could do it.

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IAFG
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby IAFG » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:49 pm

2011Law wrote:Didn't say that everyone could do it.

I am just saying it isn't nearly as formulaic as TLS makes it out to be. Also, YLS aid isn't merit based

bigben
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby bigben » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:52 pm

IAFG wrote:
bigben wrote:
IAFG wrote:Loan caps -> only the wealthy have access to expensive programs

Only the wealthy have access to expensive programs --> cheaper programs become ubiquitous
Only the wealthy have access to expensive programs --> expensive programs are now just a club for rich people, not a collection of the best and brightest

That is exactly the reality modern federal loan programs have successfully changed

Yeah -- for the worse. UMich law school tuition was $6,000 in 1990. $20,000 in 2000. It is now $44,600 for in-state and $47,600 for out-of-state.

There were no "expensive programs" back then. If there had been, they wouldn't have provided any competitive advantage (at least not that something like a country club doesn't provide today). People would say, so what? It's just a collection of rich people, it's not the best and brightest. Who cares that non-rich people can't get into a country club?
Last edited by bigben on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Why is law school so expensive?

Postby ResolutePear » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:55 pm

bigben wrote:
IAFG wrote:
bigben wrote:
IAFG wrote:Loan caps -> only the wealthy have access to expensive programs

Only the wealthy have access to expensive programs --> cheaper programs become ubiquitous
Only the wealthy have access to expensive programs --> expensive programs are now just a club for rich people, not a collection of the best and brightest

That is exactly the reality modern federal loan programs have successfully changed

Yeah -- for the worse. UMich law school tuition was $6,000 in 1990. $20,000 in 2000. It is now $44,600 for in-state and $47,600 for out-of-state.

There were no "expensive programs" back then. If there had been, they wouldn't have provided any competitive advantage. People would say, so what? It's just a collection of rich people, like a country club. Who cares that non-rich people can't get into a country club?


The impoverished isn't a suspect class in your book I take it.




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