JCougar wrote:Another thing that's interesting...how law students on an internet chat forum, in between their bickering, can figure out how to solve a monumental problem that neither the ABA nor Congress can act upon. College tuition (and especially law school tuition) has been careening out of control for over a decade. It's stunning the lack of leadership at the ABA and in Congress. It's also darkly ironic that law schools and law firms are all happy to tell you they want "leadership" on your resume -- yet the entire industry is a leadership vacuum. Aside from a few isolated professors sporadically posting a critical blog post or two, there's basically not a single person in the entire industry that's standing up and saying: "look, this is obviously a scam, and schools are screwing law students...even the ones that succeed."
The solution has to be regulatory, however. The fist school to charge honest tuition and be honest about their employment prospects is going to take a dive due to the effect of the US News Rankings on applicants' decisions. It's like a modified prisoner's dilemma...where it only works out if everyone makes a small sacrifice for the collective good, but if one person acts selfishly, everyone else goes to hell (not sure if there is a technical term for this type of market irregularity). So the answer has to be either Congress cutting off the student loan spigot, or the ABA stepping in and either collecting accurate employment statistics and sending them out to every applicant complete with a proposed loan repayment plan that hashes out exactly what your monthly payment would be, or putting some sort of limits on tuition.
But this is the field of law, where image is more important than substance. So, of course, there's no real leaders...only people who pretend to be to fluff up their resume.
leaders, but they lead the entire industry (because that is what it is - an industry) to their own, and their friends', advantage.
Politicians love student aid because it gets them lots of brownie points with voters. Oh, thanks Mr. Senator for sending johnny to college!
The ABA loves it because in some sense, they are a cartel. The manipulate the market through ABA accreditation. The lack of transparency and honesty mean that all of their law schools, from T to TTTT get, on average, more than $40k per year per student. Since it comes through the form of a loan, they don't care whether you can actually afford it. They will only endorse government programs because without them, their income stream would dry up really quickly, and they'd suddenly have to become responsible and not just be JD factories. The student loan scam means that tuition will go up, ad infinitum, with no real increase in education value to go along with the price increase. We see this same thing happening in all other areas of education at universities. I know my undergrad went from about 30k students when I started, to over 50k students. During this time, they built all manner of facilities, and expanded greatly. It is a resort now, with a shiny new giant stadium as well. IT makes the freshmen happy, and really helps to recruit new students. But the problem is, does anyone remember that they're students
? There to get some kind of education? My tuition and other fees kept going up year after year, even though the quality of my education did not increase whatsoever.
Even something as simple as upgrading the computers in the computer lab had to be done by way of a corporate sponsor - the university doesn't have the money to spend on educational-related things. So backwards.
On the other hand, I wonder if the ABA might eventually go the way of the AMA (artificially restricting class sizes at law schools in order to create a perpetual shortage of new graduates versus available MD jobs). But given the way the law school market has already set up, I doubt it. Lots of ABA member schools would really complain that their income stream has dried up.
One alternative is deregulating the legal industry. That is, no more bar exam or law school required. However, this could have severe consequences as well... so I'm not sure what the real solution is (that is, a solution that we can actually do). The chips are against us.