Paul L. Caron

Friday, October 10, 2008

Law School Financial Aid Rankings

Nj_cover_3In the October 2008 issue of The National Jurist:  Which Law Schools Give Away the Most Money?, by Karen Dybis:

The National Jurist took a close look at which of the nation's American Bar Association-approved law schools give away the most money to incoming students.  The result is a list that identifies the Top 50 law schools in terms of grants and scholarships compared to tuition.

  1. Thomas Cooley: 93.9%
  2. Toledo:  61.4%
  3. Liberty: 51.2%
  4. Northern Kentucky: 50.4%
  5. La Verne:  49.0%
  6. St. Thomas:  43.6%
  7. Akron:  43.2%
  8. Connecticut: 41.2%
  9. Howard: 41.3%
  10. Hamline: 39.3%
  11. Whittier: 36.0%
  12. SMU: 35.8%
  13. Western new England: 35.1%
  14. Ohio Northern: 34.3%
  15. Alabama: 34.2%
  16. Iowa: 34.1%
  17. Nebraska: 33.2%
  18. Indiana-Bloomington: 32.6%
  19. Wake Forest: 32.3%
  20. LSU: 31.9%
  21. Tennessee: 31.7%
  22. Ave Maria: 31.2%
  23. Arizona: 31.0%
  24. UDC: 31.0%
  25. Capital: 30.8%

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"Half of the class pays less than 7% of the their tuition"
- I'm not really sure if that number is accurate, or even close to what is really going on at that school. And your "logical conclusion" does not seem to follow the actual cost of attending Cooley vs. other schools in Michigan. Please look at the cost of Michigan State College of Law, Michigan, University of Detroit Mercy, all of which have a much higher rate of tuition than Cooley with significantly lower financial aid. Although some students will pay a higher cost, does that necessarily mean they are receiving an unfair burden? They probably did not receive a robust scholarship b/c they performed poorly on the LSAT and/or have a low GPA. So, instead of simply denying them the chance at lawschool, they are offering them an oppurtunity, albeit an expensive one which they consent to. Also, In Michigan the top half of the class does not have rosy job opportunities, especially so at Cooley, you might try the top 2%.

Posted by: mantis | Oct 11, 2008 6:25:07 AM

This data does not paint as flattering of a picture as you and National Jurist make it seem. They calculated these numbers by comparing the dollar amount of the median student's scholarship to tuition. E.g. at Cooley, half of the class pays less than 7% of their tuition. But the money to run the school has to come from somewhere. Given that they have next to no endowment, the only logical conclusion is that the students who pay are paying the educations of those who don't in addition to their own educations. Even more troubling, if only half of the class pays tuition and if they're paying enough to run the place, tuition has to be about 100% too high.

This is what people don't get. If a law school gives out a ton of scholarship money and they're not dipping into the endowment, in order to do so, they must transfer wealth from the bottom half of the class (whose job prospects aren't so rosy) to the top half. Hardly bastions of opportunity.

Posted by: John | Oct 10, 2008 6:41:01 PM