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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Muller: 30 Law Schools Became More Affordable in the Last 3 Years

AffordableExcess of Democracy:  These 30 Law Schools Became More Affordable in the Last 3 Years, by Derek Muller (Pepperdine):

The U.S. News & World Report has ranked schools by average debt load among students graduating with debt for several years. I thought I would try to examine the trend in that data over the last three years. That is, in this economic environment, which schools have responded in a way that minimizes, or even decreases, the typical debt a student graduates with? In a time of reduced donations and a prolonged economic downturn, where did the brunt of the cost fall? I decided to examine the difference in the average student debt loads from 2009 to 2012.  

30 schools came out as "more affordable." That is, there were 30 schools whose 2012 average student debt load, discounting the percentage of students who incurred no debt, was lower than the 2009 inflation-adjusted student debt load, discounting the percentage of students who incurred no doubt. ...

  1. Villanova -19.6%
  2. Akron -17.5%
  3. Elon -14.8%
  4. Penn -14.0%
  5. Western State -13.7%
  6. Emory -13.1%
  7. Minnesota -11.7%
  8. North Dakota -10.9%
  9. Barry -10.6%
  10. Tulane -10.3%
  11. St. Thomas MN -9.7%
  12. Southern Illinois -9.7%
  13. Baylor -9.6%
  14. Vanderbilt -8.8%
  15. South Dakota -8.5%
  16. Montana -8.4%
  17. UConn -8.3%
  18. Pepperdine -8.0%
  19. Illinois -7.9%
  20. Gonzaga -7.3%

I recognize that "more affordable" is a relative term. It may be that some of these schools are still "overpriced" or "underpriced." And, as mentioned earlier (and it bears repeating), this is just one factor to take into consideration among many others, including faculty quality, employment outcomes, and regional preferences.

If you'd like to look at the data, see this Google Doc. There are a few useful ways you may want to sort it. I arranged by "Dsct diff," which includes the discount rate for the percentage of students who incurred no debt. If you want the absolute rate, sort by "Diff." If you want the raw money figures rather than the percentages, sort by "$ diff" or "$ dsct diff."

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2013/12/muller-thirty.html

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