Most profitable schools?

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BigA
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Most profitable schools?

Postby BigA » Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:59 am

Hey, so here's my question: I'm wondering what law schools are the most profitable? I take it that Harvard, Yale, etc. are at the top, but does this necessarily correlate with rankings? Are there any TTTTs that just rake it in while a T1 may be struggling? Do any law schools just fold? (I kinda wish that would happen and is actually what made me wonder this) Please don't laugh at my ignorance. But how does this work? I guess this could apply to colleges in general.

calkel
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby calkel » Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:12 am

yale grads to academia/clerkships don't exactly rake it in, relatively speaking. check out nccu if you want bang for your buck.

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kalvano
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby kalvano » Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:56 pm

How dare you sir. Law schools are not in this for money, they exist to help people better themselves and reach their potential.

thisguy456
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby thisguy456 » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:14 pm

Officially sanctioned schools are nonprofit, right? Maybe a better question is size of endowments, how much tuition contributes to endowments (I think the better law schools actually spend more per student than tuition). How many contributions they receive every year. Etc.

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KibblesAndVick
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby KibblesAndVick » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:19 pm

I don't think there's much concern about law schools having to fold. Almost every law school admits a modest percentage of total applicants. If you ignore the "merit based" aspect of admissions and view it as a commodity this means that there is far more demand then they are willing to supply. As such, they can easily raise the price (tuition) to cover their ass if they get into hot water financially. This might result in a lower caliber of student or a drop in the rankings, but the schools will still easily be able to fill their class with students paying higher tuition.

Case in point, just look at what the University of California is doing. California is in a bad place financially so they are raising the tuition to generate more revenue. While this will bone many law students in terms of debt there are boalttt loads of applicants ready to pay 50k, 60k, hell probably even 70k a year for a Berkley law degree.

edit: I don't know how I missed that at first
Last edited by KibblesAndVick on Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mr. Pablo
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby Mr. Pablo » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:26 pm

There was a thread a few months ago where someone posted a spreadsheet of what each law school made from tuition and where that money went (salaries, scholarships, etc..., or something to that effect). I am trying to find it, but there isn't any guarantee that I will.

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ggocat
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby ggocat » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:50 pm

thisguy456 wrote:Officially sanctioned schools are nonprofit, right? Maybe a better question is size of endowments, how much tuition contributes to endowments (I think the better law schools actually spend more per student than tuition). How many contributions they receive every year. Etc.

Schools can be operated as for-profit enterprises. This used to not be the case. See http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/f1000/1037.htm ("The ABA is enjoined and restrained from ... prohibiting a law school from ... being an institution organized as a for-profit entity.")

Examples: Florida Coastal, John Marshall, Phoenix, Charlotte. http://stayviolation.typepad.com/chuckn ... rofit.html

Leiter looked at endowments, though the data is a little old (2000): http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leit ... _scho.html.

Re: better schools spending more per student on tuition. This is about 10% of U.S. News rank, so generally yes; the more a school spends for student, the higher its U.S. News rank. Just like higher median LSAT, etc.

bigben
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby bigben » Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:06 pm

All schools are raking in copious amounts of cash these days, though it may not be "profit" per se. It seems like they don't release much financial information - almost like they have something to hide. When will we wake up and stop wasting so much money on stuff that doesn't add value? Who knows.

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ggocat
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby ggocat » Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:24 pm

bigben wrote:When will we wake up and stop wasting so much money on stuff that doesn't add value? Who knows.

Maybe when (1) prospective students stop viewing U.S. News rankings as a proxy for employment prospects, and employers stop viewing U.S. News rankings as a proxy for prospective employee quality (i.e., no one important cares about the rankings), or (2) U.S. News drops the expenditures per student variable from the rankings. Seriously, this ranking category means a school benefits by raising tuition because it can then collect more revenue and spend more per student without increasing enrollment.

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pinkzeppelin
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby pinkzeppelin » Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:38 pm

ggocat wrote:
bigben wrote:When will we wake up and stop wasting so much money on stuff that doesn't add value? Who knows.

Maybe when (1) prospective students stop viewing U.S. News rankings as a proxy for employment prospects, and employers stop viewing U.S. News rankings as a proxy for prospective employee quality (i.e., no one important cares about the rankings), or (2) U.S. News drops the expenditures per student variable from the rankings. Seriously, this ranking category means a school benefits by raising tuition because it can then collect more revenue and spend more per student without increasing enrollment.


I don't know how they do it currently, but I think the spending per student category shouldn't look at absolute spending, but rather spending relative to tuition. So if the school spends 40k on a student who is paying 50k, they would get less points for this category than a school that spends 22k on a student who is paying 20k.

bigben
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby bigben » Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:44 pm

ggocat wrote:
bigben wrote:When will we wake up and stop wasting so much money on stuff that doesn't add value? Who knows.

Maybe when (1) prospective students stop viewing U.S. News rankings as a proxy for employment prospects, and employers stop viewing U.S. News rankings as a proxy for prospective employee quality (i.e., no one important cares about the rankings), or (2) U.S. News drops the expenditures per student variable from the rankings. Seriously, this ranking category means a school benefits by raising tuition because it can then collect more revenue and spend more per student without increasing enrollment.


Rankings are nothing. Seriously. Nobody cares about them other than the law school applicants on this board, some of whom suffer from paranoid delusions about the rankings controlling the universe and inflicting horrors upon everyone. In reality, they harm nothing. They are essentially a reflection of an independently existing reality. The law school hierarchy is very real. It existed before USNWR and isn't going anywhere. But the magazine rankings that attempt to capture that hierarchy? Practically meaningless.

The real problem, and I was talking about all of higher education here and not just law school, is that credit is too easily available through the government. The government props up higher education through credit and other subsidies. The core problem is that we all need to change our paradigm away from the ignorant mentality that more education is always better. People need to start seeing higher education as serving a strictly utilitarian function - to train people for jobs and maybe to sort out the smarter and more hard working of the bunch. This can be done with much less expense. People need to see higher education as something they do in smaller portions and pay for in cash or small private loans.

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KibblesAndVick
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby KibblesAndVick » Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:33 pm

bigben wrote: The real problem, and I was talking about all of higher education here and not just law school, is that credit is too easily available through the government. The government props up higher education through credit and other subsidies. The core problem is that we all need to change our paradigm away from the ignorant mentality that more education is always better. People need to start seeing higher education as serving a strictly utilitarian function - to train people for jobs and maybe to sort out the smarter and more hard working of the bunch. This can be done with much less expense. People need to see higher education as something they do in smaller portions and pay for in cash or small private loans.


Education is a public good. A free market equilibrium won't account for the positive externalities that come from a better educated populace. Moreover, if government stops being involved law schools aren't going to cut tuition. There is way, way too much demand for law degrees. Blaming government for subsidizing education (which does increase the demand to some extent) doesn't account for the large number of law students with parents footing the bill. It also doesn't account for the large number of English, Philosophy, Political Science, and History majors who rationally find law school a sound long term financial decision after considering the options they have coming out of college. Even if government backs out there will be hoards of these people trying to enter the field. Trying to convince these people not to go to law school is incredibly difficult because in many cases there simply aren't better alternatives.

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ggocat
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby ggocat » Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:36 pm

bigben wrote:The real problem, and I was talking about all of higher education here and not just law school, is that credit is too easily available through the government. The government props up higher education through credit and other subsidies. The core problem is that we all need to change our paradigm away from the ignorant mentality that more education is always better. People need to start seeing higher education as serving a strictly utilitarian function - to train people for jobs. People need to see higher education as something they do in smaller portions and pay for in cash or small private loans.

Ah, I thought you were commenting about the schools' expenditures that do not add value to legal education, not legal education as a whole.

bigben wrote:Rankings are nothing. Seriously. ... But the magazine rankings that attempt to capture that hierarchy? Practically meaningless.

:D I very much agree with this, but not the omitted text.

bigben wrote:Nobody cares about them other than the law school applicants on this board, some of whom suffer from paranoid delusions about the rankings controlling the universe and inflicting horrors upon everyone.

Many people care about the rankings, including law school applicants not on this board, law school administrators, some law school faculty, and some employers. An attorney recruiter at the DOJ looked up my school in U.S. News while I was in the room. Deans are hired and fired based on U.S. News considerations, and some schools let U.S. News directly affect how their institution is run (e.g., Toledo increasing its part-time program to move from Tier 4 to Tier 2 when part-time scores were not counted -- --LinkRemoved--). Many law professors have written articles railing against some of the pernicious qualities of the U.S. News rankings, and other professors have written articles in support of some of the redeeming qualities of the rankings.

So I think plenty of people care about the rankings, and and the rankings have a significant impact on the law school universe (and at least some impact on the legal hiring universe).

bigben wrote:In reality they harm nothing and are essentially just a reflection of a pre-existing reality. The law school hierarchy is very real. It existed before USNWR and isn't going anywhere.

Although there was certainly a hierarchy before the rankings, there seems to have been little if any understanding about the cutoffs for this hierarchy. To the extent that the U.S. News ranking sorts schools into more than two categories (i.e., national and non-national), it does more than reflect a pre-existing reality.

rando
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby rando » Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:44 pm

ggocat wrote:
thisguy456 wrote:Officially sanctioned schools are nonprofit, right? Maybe a better question is size of endowments, how much tuition contributes to endowments (I think the better law schools actually spend more per student than tuition). How many contributions they receive every year. Etc.

Schools can be operated as for-profit enterprises. This used to not be the case. See http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/f1000/1037.htm ("The ABA is enjoined and restrained from ... prohibiting a law school from ... being an institution organized as a for-profit entity.")

Examples: Florida Coastal, John Marshall, Phoenix, Charlotte. http://stayviolation.typepad.com/chuckn ... rofit.html

Leiter looked at endowments, though the data is a little old (2000): http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leit ... _scho.html.

Re: better schools spending more per student on tuition. This is about 10% of U.S. News rank, so generally yes; the more a school spends for student, the higher its U.S. News rank. Just like higher median LSAT, etc.


They don't even have to operate as "for-profit." A non-profit organization can still "profit." It just can't distribute dividends to private shareholders.

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ggocat
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby ggocat » Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:53 pm

rando wrote:They don't even have to operate as "for-profit." A non-profit organization can still "profit." It just can't distribute dividends to private shareholders.

Yes, the number I often hear is that 25-30% of many law schools' revenues go to the university as a whole to subsidize other programs.

bigben
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby bigben » Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:36 pm

KibblesAndVick wrote:
bigben wrote: The real problem, and I was talking about all of higher education here and not just law school, is that credit is too easily available through the government. The government props up higher education through credit and other subsidies. The core problem is that we all need to change our paradigm away from the ignorant mentality that more education is always better. People need to start seeing higher education as serving a strictly utilitarian function - to train people for jobs and maybe to sort out the smarter and more hard working of the bunch. This can be done with much less expense. People need to see higher education as something they do in smaller portions and pay for in cash or small private loans.


Education is a public good. A free market equilibrium won't account for the positive externalities that come from a better educated populace. Moreover, if government stops being involved law schools aren't going to cut tuition. There is way, way too much demand for law degrees. Blaming government for subsidizing education (which does increase the demand to some extent) doesn't account for the large number of law students with parents footing the bill. It also doesn't account for the large number of English, Philosophy, Political Science, and History majors who rationally find law school a sound long term financial decision after considering the options they have coming out of college. Even if government backs out there will be hoards of these people trying to enter the field. Trying to convince these people not to go to law school is incredibly difficult because in many cases there simply aren't better alternatives.


Public good is a technical economics term and it really does not apply to education.

The "better educated populace" argument is the reason we have K-12. I don't think the argument even justifies the expenditures in that department, much less the costs of higher education which are: keeping all bright young people out of the workforce for years on end doing things that typically add no value, and having them do it in the most ridiculous facilities on universities with absurd marketing budgets and gigantic salaries spurring on dubious academic pursuits.

I realize that the government subsidization is not the sole cause of this problem, it is more like the enabler. People will always behave in some irrational ways and there will always be some inefficiencies lurking. But the terrifying thing is that if the government keeps propping us up, we will never see any corrective action in the market for higher education. It will simply become another irreversible and unsustainable entitlement program.

bigben
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby bigben » Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:56 pm

Most of the criticisms re: rankings just falls flat. All USNWR does is gather some information and present it. They are constantly seeking to improve their formula and open to suggestions. Any of these critics is free to publish their own rankings but of course most of them do not.

Coming from law schools, this criticism is the height of hypocrisy when these schools don't even release truthful and comprehensive data about employment outcomes.

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KibblesAndVick
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby KibblesAndVick » Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:26 pm

bigben wrote:Public good is a technical economics term and it really does not apply to education.

The "better educated populace" argument is the reason we have K-12. I don't think the argument even justifies the expenditures in that department, much less the costs of higher education which are: keeping all bright young people out of the workforce for years on end doing things that typically add no value, and having them do it in the most ridiculous facilities on universities with absurd marketing budgets and gigantic salaries spurring on dubious academic pursuits.

I realize that the government subsidization is not the sole cause of this problem, it is more like the enabler. People will always behave in some irrational ways and there will always be some inefficiencies lurking. But the terrifying thing is that if the government keeps propping us up, we will never see any corrective action in the market for higher education. It will simply become another irreversible and unsustainable entitlement program.


It strikes me as odd that you don't view education as a public good. When someone receives a strong formal education it creates a number of positive societal effects. For example, well educated men have better job opportunities and as a result are less likely to engage in criminal activities. Well educated women tend to plan their pregnancies and take better care of their children. Think about a student who studies Civil Engineering in college and goes on to design a bridge in his or her community. All of these things benefit society in general. I can't stop you from enjoying the societal benefits of lower crime rates. Additionally, the fact that you live in a city with lower crime rates doesn't diminish my ability to live in a low crime city. Hence, the benefits of education are non-exclusionary and non-rival. This would make education a public good by definition. I know I'm painting a rosy picture of the benefits but the idea that higher education doesn't "add value" is a just a bit off. Education affects many things in a person's life. Trying to distill the consequences down to the number of years these kids are in the workforce misses the profound often life changing transformations that people undergo during higher education.

If we have a free market where individuals do what they think is best for them they will "purchase" or "consume" less education than the benefits would warrant. That is to say, the market price of education is too high relative to the societal benefits it creates. The way this externality is overcome is via taxation and subsidies for education.

This isn't even to get into the issue of how subsiding education makes socio-economic statues much more fluid. It reduces the inherent advantages entrenched wealth and power enjoy. This benefits the poor as well as minorities who have historically been kept out of positions of societal power.

I'm generally conservative on fiscal matters. I think most of welfare is ineffective and poorly executed. However, education is one of the good guys imho.

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Nicholasnickynic
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby Nicholasnickynic » Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:28 pm

thisguy456 wrote:Officially sanctioned schools are nonprofit, right? Maybe a better question is size of endowments, how much tuition contributes to endowments (I think the better law schools actually spend more per student than tuition). How many contributions they receive every year. Etc.


INCORRECT.

Charlotte school of law, as well as a couple other schools are all run by the same guy/company and are for-profit.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby Kohinoor » Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:29 pm

inb4Howard.

bigben
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Re: Most profitable schools?

Postby bigben » Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:24 am

Education as we know it today is clearly not a public good. When a student takes up a seat in a college that is one less seat that is available. A public good is something like national security. One person's enjoyment of national security does not reduce the ability of another person to enjoy national security. Knowledge itself may be a public good because when you "consume" or take in knowledge it does not detract from the supply of knowledge or reduce the ability of others to enjoy that knowledge. But education is different, and it's clearly not a public good.

If you take a strictly "education as law enforcement" perspective, then you are correct that it could be considered a public good. Law enforcement is a public good. However, that is an extremely narrow and myopic view of education, especially higher education. If all you wanted to do was reduce crime, there are far better ways. Sending the entire country to college as a method of law enforcement is absurd.

"Life-changing transformations" -- that's just called life and growing up. You don't need to have a four-year party for this.

I definitely agree that we want to keep a high degree of socio-economic mobility. But I just don't think that allowing everyone to enter into indentured servitude so that they can spend years on dubious academic pursuits is the way to do that. Higher ed has a lot to do with sorting out the smartest and most hard working people. It is actually completely unnecessary to have everyone camp out in academia for years to accomplish that. There should be more focus on apprenticeship programs and school should be much shorter and more focused, and probably mostly part time allowing people to cash flow their education. These are the types of changes you would see if there was reduced government subsidization alongside a campaign to increase public and institutional awareness of the proper role of education.

Unfortunately this type of action is going to be up against extremely powerful special interests--mainly academia itself.




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