runinthefront wrote:PSLF had law students taking on $300k of debt at UChicago to work as a DA in Minnesota in mind, particularly when the market's already saturated with lawyers? Perfectly good lawyers from other schools? What's wrong with just going to a strong regional school for a fraction of the cost that would give you the same outcome?
There's nothing wrong with it. There's also nothing wrong with PI employers wanting people who are T13-trained working in their offices rather than people who went to regional schools/other budget schools. Or wanting people who could succeed at T13 schools over people who went to regional/other budget schools. Just like some students going to regional schools may be just as qualified as T13 students for biglaw, but that doesn't mean biglaw doesn't have its reasons for choosing to pick from the T13 barrel more than the regional barrel. Or really, from any good private school over the often-more-questionable regional options.
PLSF isn't just about paying kids to get fancy degrees; it's about incentivizing people with those fancy degrees to then come back to the PI industry and put them to use. It doesn't matter that Suzy could have gone to NYLS instead of Fordham; it matters that a Fordham grad is more likely to be qualified for top-notch work than a NYLS grad is, but is less likely to go into PI because their qualifications also likely put them in the running for better-paying careers. And I'd say having qualified applicants in PI is "a compelling use of public money" (or as compelling a use as most everything else we spend public money on these days). Again, we're not just talking about legal jobs (if for whatever reason you don't think hiring ADAs/PDs/AUSAs/etc. with the best education helps the public); we're also talking about people who will be doing scientific, medical, and other work in the PI sector that will be used to serve the public in the future.
1. Is there any reason to believe that PLSF has led to better outcomes for the client PI-organizations? From a legal context, diminishing returns likely exist and "better qualified" does not necessarily result in better outcomes.
2. Specific to the legal profession, if PI orgs want better qualified professionals they can raise pay by becoming more efficient, raising more money or asking the tax payers of the relevant jurisdiction for more tax funds. As it is, PLSF acts as a subsidy for non-federal employers buried in federal budget.
3. In an environment of many pressing needs (especially for low socioeconomic status citizens), there is something plainly offensive about (a) potential professional high-income earners declining to fully utilize their tax-payer subsidized education and taking a further tax payer subsidy (potentially to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars) and (b) "public service minded" individuals needlessly further stressing the finances of the public. The program should be more targeted at truly underserved PI type areas (medicine and education in poor rural and urban areas in industries where there truly is an undersupply of labor, etc...).
4. Even if you ignore the above, it is basically undisputed at this time that government involvement in the financing of higher education has created/allowed/led to runaway inflation in higher education in this country. Even if there is some tangible benefit to the public from government subsidies of education and programs like PLSF, I'm not sure it's worth all of the other costs imposed on the public (in particular the higher costs everyone else has to bear for education).