UVA Class of 2013

(housing, friendships, future exams, all things 2013)
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Muckduck
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Muckduck » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:05 pm

Kohinoor wrote:You should talk to some matriculates and really get a sense of how much they knew going into the process and how logical their decisions were. I'm not sure that we need any more rules to protect the well being of institutions with billion dollar endowments. The schools are going to be fine. Someone who makes a snap judgment on a scholly tied to class rank may never be.


Fair enough. But this is yet another example in our society when we seem to coddle those who are not as informed/responsible as they ought to be. I don't disagree that it is good to help people, and I think that you're right saying that we ought to put some brakes on people making certain decisions that could harm themselves. Where do you draw the line? Wouldn't it be better if people knew what they were buying/signing up for/who they were voting for/etc. instead of just meandering around like many folks seem to do and then getting bailed out because they were willfully "ignorant?"

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Kohinoor
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Kohinoor » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:18 pm

Muckduck wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:You should talk to some matriculates and really get a sense of how much they knew going into the process and how logical their decisions were. I'm not sure that we need any more rules to protect the well being of institutions with billion dollar endowments. The schools are going to be fine. Someone who makes a snap judgment on a scholly tied to class rank may never be.


Fair enough. But this is yet another example in our society when we seem to coddle those who are not as informed/responsible as they ought to be. I don't disagree that it is good to help people, and I think that you're right saying that we ought to put some brakes on people making certain decisions that could harm themselves. Where do you draw the line? Wouldn't it be better if people knew what they were buying/signing up for/who they were voting for/etc. instead of just meandering around like many folks seem to do and then getting bailed out because they were willfully "ignorant?"

The government has an interest in protecting its most vulnerable citizens. Of course it would be better if everyone made fully informed decisions, but they don't and the credited public policy choice at that point isn't always "Well, fuck em." Contracts made due to informational asymmetries don't always result in either an optimal or morally justifiable allocation of resources.

You exaggerate the extent of the coddling of students. Student loans are not extinguishable in bankruptcy and have surprisingly high interest rates despite that fact. Even students qualifying for IBR probably pay back a significant amount of the principal of their loans. To the extent that there are systems in place that prevent behavior that border on fraud or usury, I support them generally.

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Muckduck
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Muckduck » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:26 pm

The government has an interest in protecting its most vulnerable citizens. Of course it would be better if everyone made fully informed decisions, but they don't and the credited public policy choice at that point isn't always "Well, fuck em." Contracts made due to informational asymmetries don't always result in either an optimal or morally justifiable allocation of resources.

You exaggerate the extent of the coddling of students. Student loans are not extinguishable in bankruptcy and have surprisingly high interest rates despite that fact. Even students qualifying for IBR probably pay back a significant amount of the principal of their loans. To the extent that there are systems in place that prevent behavior that border on fraud or usury, I support them generally.[/quote]

I like your line of reasoning. Econ. major?

If you want to have nightmares about student loans then just read the WSJ Feb 13th, 2010: "The $550,000 Student Loan Burden" by Mary Pilon.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Stringer Bell » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:28 pm

Kohinoor wrote:You should talk to some matriculates and really get a sense of how much they knew going into the process and how logical their decisions were. I'm not sure that we need any more rules to protect the well being of institutions with billion dollar endowments. The schools are going to be fine. Someone who makes a snap judgment on a scholly tied to class rank may never be.


I'm not interested in protecting the schools. I'm interested in law school behaving more like a free market, which I think would have a greater net benefit for students. My opinion of weaknesses with the current process is not just limited to removing time limits from scholarship offers.

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Kohinoor
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Kohinoor » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:36 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:You should talk to some matriculates and really get a sense of how much they knew going into the process and how logical their decisions were. I'm not sure that we need any more rules to protect the well being of institutions with billion dollar endowments. The schools are going to be fine. Someone who makes a snap judgment on a scholly tied to class rank may never be.


I'm not interested in protecting the schools. I'm interested in law school behaving more like a free market, which I think would have a greater net benefit for students. My opinion of weaknesses with the current process is not just limited to removing time limits from scholarship offers.

How would law school behaving like a free market benefit students more?

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Stringer Bell
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Stringer Bell » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:37 pm

Kohinoor wrote:The government has an interest in protecting its most vulnerable citizens. Of course it would be better if everyone made fully informed decisions, but they don't and the credited public policy choice at that point isn't always "Well, fuck em." Contracts made due to informational asymmetries don't always result in either an optimal or morally justifiable allocation of resources.

You exaggerate the extent of the coddling of students. Student loans are not extinguishable in bankruptcy and have surprisingly high interest rates despite that fact. Even students qualifying for IBR probably pay back a significant amount of the principal of their loans. To the extent that there are systems in place that prevent behavior that border on fraud or usury, I support them generally.


See, this is kind of what I am getting at, but I'm taking the other side. I feel that if the government were completely removed from the process of lending money for law school and you could declare bankruptcy on the loans, tuition would be substantially cheaper. Private lenders would be forced to assess the credit risk of their investment (the student). So they may lend someone 80k to go to UVA or Michigan, but not Cooley.

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Kohinoor
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Kohinoor » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:38 pm

Muckduck wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:The government has an interest in protecting its most vulnerable citizens. Of course it would be better if everyone made fully informed decisions, but they don't and the credited public policy choice at that point isn't always "Well, fuck em." Contracts made due to informational asymmetries don't always result in either an optimal or morally justifiable allocation of resources.

You exaggerate the extent of the coddling of students. Student loans are not extinguishable in bankruptcy and have surprisingly high interest rates despite that fact. Even students qualifying for IBR probably pay back a significant amount of the principal of their loans. To the extent that there are systems in place that prevent behavior that border on fraud or usury, I support them generally.


I like your line of reasoning. Econ. major?

If you want to have nightmares about student loans then just read the WSJ Feb 13th, 2010: "The $550,000 Student Loan Burden" by Mary Pilon.
Just parroting the Contracts chapter on unconscionability.

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vanwinkle
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:41 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:See, this is kind of what I am getting at, but I'm taking the other side. I feel that if the government were completely removed from the process of lending money for law school and you could declare bankruptcy on the loans, tuition would be substantially cheaper. Private lenders would be forced to assess the credit risk of their investment (the student). So they may lend someone 80k to go to UVA or Michigan, but not Cooley.

Wouldn't private lenders also focus more on prior credit history and also on things that aren't considered now like credit score, though? That could end up shutting folks out of top law schools because they can't secure the funds to pay for it. Lenders take the risk now because the loans are federally insured, not because the kids are going to have high-paying jobs in 3 years. That last part isn't guaranteed, especially not in this economy, and banks would respond to that.

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YCrevolution
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby YCrevolution » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:45 pm

..

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Kohinoor
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Kohinoor » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:54 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:The government has an interest in protecting its most vulnerable citizens. Of course it would be better if everyone made fully informed decisions, but they don't and the credited public policy choice at that point isn't always "Well, fuck em." Contracts made due to informational asymmetries don't always result in either an optimal or morally justifiable allocation of resources.

You exaggerate the extent of the coddling of students. Student loans are not extinguishable in bankruptcy and have surprisingly high interest rates despite that fact. Even students qualifying for IBR probably pay back a significant amount of the principal of their loans. To the extent that there are systems in place that prevent behavior that border on fraud or usury, I support them generally.


See, this is kind of what I am getting at, but I'm taking the other side. I feel that if the government were completely removed from the process of lending money for law school and you could declare bankruptcy on the loans, tuition would be substantially cheaper. Private lenders would be forced to assess the credit risk of their investment (the student). So they may lend someone 80k to go to UVA or Michigan, but not Cooley.

When the government isn't backing loans, private lenders make the ones who can pay subsidize the ones who can't. Students would still be going to Cooley with loans cosigned by their parents, and we'd all be paying higher interest.

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vanwinkle
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:55 pm

YCrevolution wrote:We should co-author a paper on unconscionability to note onto. I'll do the procedural stuff.

Can you co-author a note in order to note on? :shock:

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Stringer Bell
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Stringer Bell » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:56 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Stringer Bell wrote:See, this is kind of what I am getting at, but I'm taking the other side. I feel that if the government were completely removed from the process of lending money for law school and you could declare bankruptcy on the loans, tuition would be substantially cheaper. Private lenders would be forced to assess the credit risk of their investment (the student). So they may lend someone 80k to go to UVA or Michigan, but not Cooley.

Wouldn't private lenders also focus more on prior credit history and also on things that aren't considered now like credit score, though? That could end up shutting folks out of top law schools because they can't secure the funds to pay for it. Lenders take the risk now because the loans are federally insured, not because the kids are going to have high-paying jobs in 3 years. That last part isn't guaranteed, especially not in this economy, and banks would respond to that.


I will certainly say that ITE is a behemoth that makes any sort of "we shoud..." argument difficult and turning back the clock on anything is tough, so I'm speaking more in a hypothetical sense.

What you say about credit history is true. People might have to go work for a couple of years, establish some credit and save up a down payment, but I honestly don't think that would be the worst thing in the world. And I disagree that financing would be unavailable without the federal insurance. Maybe lenders wouldn't lend 180k to students, but they'd lend some amount of money if there was a good enough expected return, consequently this would mean law schools could not charge tuition greater than the expected return their students produce.

Obviously rich kids with parents footing the bill would have an advantage here, but if you charge so much that only rich kids can attend, there will be some serious talent at cheaper schools and you will run the risk of firms deciding to hire from there if they can get better talent.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Stringer Bell » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:01 pm

Kohinoor wrote:When the government isn't backing loans, private lenders make the ones who can pay subsidize the ones who can't. Students would still be going to Cooley with loans cosigned by their parents, and we'd all be paying higher interest.


I agree that interest rates may be higher, but I think principal amounts would be substantially lower. Either that, or half the law school in existence would close their doors. There are only so many parents out there that will cosign on an extremely bad investment.

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Kohinoor
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Kohinoor » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:03 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:There are only so many parents out there that will cosign on an extremely bad investment.

The subprime crisis disagrees with you.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Stringer Bell » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:14 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
Stringer Bell wrote:There are only so many parents out there that will cosign on an extremely bad investment.

The subprime crisis disagrees with you.


These are completely different circumstances. People obviously made bad horrible investments, but they made them with tangible evidence that they were "good". Home prices kept going up. So they felt they could take out a huge loan and they would make their money back. Now obviously the appreciating prices were the result of a false bubble that had been built up. I am actually of the opinion that this bubble existed because free market principles were abandoned with things like zoning laws and land use restrictions.

Either way, I disagree that a large enough percentage of the poplulation that is credit worthy would sign for a 180k loan at Cooley because they received a piece of paper saying the median salary was 80k. I think that if lenders were more on the hook, employment data may be more transparent.

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vanwinkle
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:17 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:People obviously made bad horrible investments, but they made them with tangible evidence that they were "good".

How is this any different than the tens of thousands of people going to lower-tier law schools entirely on loans in a major recession?

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Stringer Bell
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Stringer Bell » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:25 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Stringer Bell wrote:People obviously made bad horrible investments, but they made them with tangible evidence that they were "good".

How is this any different than the tens of thousands of people going to lower-tier law schools entirely on loans in a major recession?


I didn't word that well. I meant that there was systemic evidence that the investment was good and the individual being lent the money had evidence that the investment was good. The reason these loans were available is because there was an expected return that was artificially created with a bubble. I don't see a law school bubble happening. It's not a hard asset that can have it's value artificially enhanced.

Yes, there are tons of people out there that will take bad loans. I'm more contending that there will be less people that will qualify for bad loans that will decide to take them.

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vanwinkle
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:40 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:I meant that there was systemic evidence that the investment was good and the individual being lent the money had evidence that the investment was good.

Again, how is this different than a current decision to go to law school?

A lot of people are doing it based on "evidence" that the median salary from that school is $145K/year or whatever, when in reality things were never that good in the first place (that was only being disclosed as a median among those who actually got jobs at law firms) and are worse now (the economy has tanked options for many top students even at tier-1 law schools).

There already is a law school bubble right now. It's a bubble being created, to borrow your own words, because there is an expected return that's at this point artificially created. Many people aren't aware of the true risks of attending until it's too late, because schools are allowed to use distorted figures on job placement and average income post-graduation, and because their numbers are lagging reality by 3 years. This is almost exactly what happened in the subprime market.

The only difference is that you can't discharge these loans.

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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby thickfreakness » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:48 pm

I don't think eliminating the government from the loan picture would help prospective law students. Just like a house and land are the collateral for a mortgage loan, the government's underwriting of educational lenders is a kind of collateral for those lenders. As a result, rates are lower on these loans because there's less risk, etc. If you take away that backing lenders are going to be very reluctant to lend that much money against zero collateral. There's a huge risk of loss there. Government backing doesn't stifle competition among lenders if they're all getting a similar level of support. The main risk bearer here is the government, so the issue seems to be whether or not one's tax money should be used to underwrite educational loans for law school, which is a totally different argument (and one that probably shouldn't de-rail this thread, lol.)

Just to keep us on task, while I was writing this post my iTunes shuffled onto "The Waiting" by Tom Petty. I lol'd.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Stringer Bell » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:06 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Stringer Bell wrote:I meant that there was systemic evidence that the investment was good and the individual being lent the money had evidence that the investment was good.

Again, how is this different than a current decision to go to law school?

A lot of people are doing it based on "evidence" that the median salary from that school is $145K/year or whatever, when in reality things were never that good in the first place (that was only being disclosed as a median among those who actually got jobs at law firms) and are worse now (the economy has tanked options for many top students even at tier-1 law schools).

There already is a law school bubble right now. It's a bubble being created, to borrow your own words, because there is an expected return that's at this point artificially created. Many people aren't aware of the true risks of attending until it's too late, because schools are allowed to use distorted figures on job placement and average income post-graduation, and because their numbers are lagging reality by 3 years. This is almost exactly what happened in the subprime market.

The only difference is that you can't discharge these loans.


When I said there would be no bubble, I meant there would be no bubble in a free market. The bubble that currently exists is there because there are virtually no lending standards since the government secures the loans.

There are two main variables that would be necessary to finance law school if the govt were not involved, someone willing to lend the money and someone willing to borrow the money. This is how almost all financial transactions work. The problem with the subprime loans is that banks would lend someone the money to buy a home in San Francisco 5 years ago and incorrectly viewed the house itself as moderately safe collateral against default. I can't foresee any lending institution viewing a JD from Cooley as legitimate collateral for $150k loan. If someone cosigns for that loan they are going to have to be extremely credit worthy or the loan will have to be secured, because the likely best option for most would be to default on that loan. There is definitely the possibility that banks could misvalue law school loans, but that risk is inherent in any lending transaction.
Last edited by Stringer Bell on Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Stringer Bell » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:08 pm

thickfreakness wrote:I don't think eliminating the government from the loan picture would help prospective law students. Just like a house and land are the collateral for a mortgage loan, the government's underwriting of educational lenders is a kind of collateral for those lenders.


For me, the earning power provided by the JD should be the collateral.

EDIT: I realize this would not be sufficient for 180k loans, since even with a good job defaulting could bve an attractive option. But if the principal was much lower, it likely would not be worthwhile to declare bankruptcy with a good income.

EDIT 2: Or maybe the bar could attach a stipulation that anyone who defaults on LS loans would be disbarred to reassure creditors
Last edited by Stringer Bell on Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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vanwinkle
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:13 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:When I said there would be no bubble, I meant there would be no bubble in a free market. The bubble that currently exists is there because there are virtually no lending standards since the government secures the loans.

There are two main variables that would be necessary to finance law school if the govt were not involved, someone willing to lend the money and someone willing to borrow the money. This is how almost all financial transactions work. The problem with the subprime loans is that banks would lend someone the money to buy a home in San Francisco 5 years ago and incorrectly viewed the house itself as moderately safe collateral against default. I can't foresee any lending institution viewing a JD from Cooley as legitimate collateral for $150k loan.

I can't either, but based on data from the last 10 years or so, I could forsee them loaning $150k for a degree from Hofstra, or Brooklyn, or Miami. And then as the economy crumbles like it is now those degrees, which were worth something in a surging economy, suddenly become nearly worthless. The bubble we're living in now didn't happen because the gov't backed the loans, it happened because people got used to a law degree being a gateway to riches and power, and they'd believe that whether the degrees are gov't backed or not. And just like the subprime market, all through the 2000's they would have seen this as a sound investment and kept lending.

The biggest difference is that without federal backing this would just be one more suddenly sour investment taking banks down. We'd be seeing a much bigger collapse in the financial sector and the government would be having to do even more to shore up the banks. In the end it'd be the same end result: The government coming in to guarantee the money one way or another.

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thickfreakness
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby thickfreakness » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:25 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:
thickfreakness wrote:I don't think eliminating the government from the loan picture would help prospective law students. Just like a house and land are the collateral for a mortgage loan, the government's underwriting of educational lenders is a kind of collateral for those lenders.


For me, the earning power provided by the JD should be the collateral.

EDIT: I realize this would not be sufficient for 180k loans, since even with a good job defaulting could bve an attractive option. But if the principal was much lower, it likely would not be worthwhile to declare bankruptcy with a good income.



I think you're hinting at the loans harder to get -> less prospective students -> lower tuition argument, which seems theoretically valid, all things being equal. But it's not sound since tuition to graduate schools is already in most cases subsidized by government money (research, facilities, and the like). And even if a law school is wholly financially independent (as UVA's is) its revenue is likely going to have to be used to fund other parts of the university if we're talking about grossly scaling back or eliminating government monies to education.

I think you're correct in assuming that something as nebulous as "earning potential" would be insufficient collateral for large educational loans, but I think the loans issued for education would either be extremely low-dollar, extremely high-interest, or both if the government didn't underwrite them, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on your opinion in the argument. Loans with no collateral are almost always extremely high-risk and thereby require higher rates. I don't think there's any way that you could just drop government backing from these loans without substantially affecting the lending market in a (what most prospective and current law students would say) is a highly negative way.

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Kohinoor
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Kohinoor » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:29 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:
thickfreakness wrote:I don't think eliminating the government from the loan picture would help prospective law students. Just like a house and land are the collateral for a mortgage loan, the government's underwriting of educational lenders is a kind of collateral for those lenders.


For me, the earning power provided by the JD should be the collateral.

EDIT: I realize this would not be sufficient for 180k loans, since even with a good job defaulting could bve an attractive option. But if the principal was much lower, it likely would not be worthwhile to declare bankruptcy with a good income.

EDIT 2: Or maybe the bar could attach a stipulation that anyone who defaults on LS loans would be disbarred to reassure creditors

So... the government no longer guarantees loans but the bar does?

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Stringer Bell
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Re: UVA Class of 2013

Postby Stringer Bell » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:32 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Stringer Bell wrote:When I said there would be no bubble, I meant there would be no bubble in a free market. The bubble that currently exists is there because there are virtually no lending standards since the government secures the loans.

There are two main variables that would be necessary to finance law school if the govt were not involved, someone willing to lend the money and someone willing to borrow the money. This is how almost all financial transactions work. The problem with the subprime loans is that banks would lend someone the money to buy a home in San Francisco 5 years ago and incorrectly viewed the house itself as moderately safe collateral against default. I can't foresee any lending institution viewing a JD from Cooley as legitimate collateral for $150k loan.

I can't either, but based on data from the last 10 years or so, I could forsee them loaning $150k for a degree from Hofstra, or Brooklyn, or Miami. And then as the economy crumbles like it is now those degrees, which were worth something in a surging economy, suddenly become nearly worthless. The bubble we're living in now didn't happen because the gov't backed the loans, it happened because people got used to a law degree being a gateway to riches and power, and they'd believe that whether the degrees are gov't backed or not. And just like the subprime market, all through the 2000's they would have seen this as a sound investment and kept lending.

The biggest difference is that without federal backing this would just be one more suddenly sour investment taking banks down. We'd be seeing a much bigger collapse in the financial sector and the government would be having to do even more to shore up the banks. In the end it'd be the same end result: The government coming in to guarantee the money one way or another.


We're going to just have to agree to disagree on the government's role in the tuition bubble. I do agree that it would have still become somewhat inflated and would be an issue now, but I personally don't think it would have swelled nearly as much as it has. It's true that it definitely would be alot more difficult to get financing right now. I still think they would view some schools as decent investments (remember, I'm assuming tuition would be lower in my hypothetical world), but other schools that lenders wouldn't finance for would either have to lower tuition, decrease enrollment, close their doors or get bailed out by the government as you alluded to.




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