Thursday, April 19, 2018
National Law Journal, Proposed Student Loan Cap Could Devastate Law Schools:
A bill wending its way through Congress would cap graduate federal student loans and drive many law students into the private loan market, potentially forcing between 20 and 30 law schools to close within five years.
That’s the dire prediction offered to a group of legal educators by Chris Chapman, president of AccessLex Institute, a former private student loan provider and nonprofit organization that now advocates for greater access to law school. Chapman’s warning cast a pall over the Summit on the Future of Legal Education and Entry to the Profession, where law deans, professors and other interested parties assembled last week at Florida International University College of Law for two days to contemplate how to address legal education’s myriad woes. ...
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives in December advanced out of the committee a Higher Education Act reauthorization bill that would make several major changes to graduate federal loans. The bill would:
- Eliminate public service loan forgiveness, which allows law graduates in public interest jobs to keep their monthly payment manageable and see their federal loans forgiven after 10 years.
- Do away with income-based repayment, which lets federal loan borrows cap their monthly payments at around 10 percent of their income, and see their loans forgiven after 20 or 25 years.
- Cap federal graduate loans at $28,000 annually, instead of allowing students to borrow the full amount of tuition, living expenses, books and fees as determined by their individual programs.
Each of those changes would make a law degree more difficult for students to pay for, and undoubtedly some prospective students would opt not to enroll due to costs while others would be shut out altogether because they can’t secure enough loans.
Above the Law, Congress Plans To Take Away Your Student Loan Money — What Happens To Legal Education Then?