Paul L. Caron

Friday, May 31, 2013

U.S. News Law School Efficiency Rankings

2014 U.S. NewsRobert Morse (Director of Data Research, U.S. News & World Report), Which Highly Ranked Law Schools Operate Most Efficiently?:

U.S. News has developed a new, exclusive list showing which law schools are able to produce the highest educational quality, as determined by their place in our Best Law Schools rankings, but spend relatively less money to achieve that quality. ...

U.S. News measures financial resources in part by taking into account how much a law school spends per student on instruction, including faculty and staff salaries, library, supporting services and other expenditures, such as financial aid. The financial resources ranking factor is a direct measure of the size of each law school's yearly budget expenditures per student compared with other law schools, and it has an 11.25 percent weight in the Best Law Schools rankings methodology.

The new list is based on the concept of operating efficiency, defined as a law school's total budget expenditures per student divided by its overall score – which U.S. News uses to determine its overall numerical rank – in the 2014 Best Law Schools rankings. This calculation reveals how much each law school is spending for each point in its overall score and thus, its position in the rankings.

The less a law school spends relative to other schools as correlated to its overall U.S. News rank, the more efficient it is in producing a quality education compared with other schools. ...

Only schools that were numerically ranked in the top 100 in the Best Law Schools 2014 rankings were included in this analysis. The table below shows the 25 law schools that scored the highest on the operating efficiency measure, sorted by those that spent less per student to achieve a relatively high rank.

Law School

US News Rank

Spending per Student

Spending per Student for Each Point in US News Overall Score

Louisville  68  $28,151  $654.67
Rutgers-C.  91  $26,858  $688.67
G. Mason  41  $38,684  $703.35
Wisconsin  33  $42,415  $731.29
Rutgers-N.  86  $30,236  $755.90
Wm. & Mary  33  $44,104  $760.41
N. Carolina  31  $45,232  $766.64
Tennessee  61  $34,792  $773.16
Nebraska  61  $35,228  $782.84
Kentucky  58  $36,407  $791.46
Georgia St.  54  $38,099  $793.73
Houston  48  $39,761  $795.22
Hawaii  80  $33,025  $805.49
Alabama  21  $53,469  $810.14
G. Wash.  21  $53,495  $810.53
Arkansas  68  $35,041  $814.91
Missouri  76  $34,437  $819.93
Virginia  7  $69,704  $820.05
LSU  76  $34,909  $831.17
Utah  41  $46,512  $845.67
Florida  46  $45,654  $861.40
Georgetown  14  $64,734  $863.12
Wake Forest  36  $49,318  $865.23
Emory  23  $57,323  $881.89
Ohio State  36  $50,269  $881.91

(Hat Tip: Francine Lipman.)

Law School, Legal Education | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference U.S. News Law School Efficiency Rankings:


As a graduate of Louisville, I'd have to agree with the "low spending" on each student. It shows at the school for sure. I wouldn't have minded a few extra thousand for better facilities (after all, once you hit the 6-figure mark, what's an extra 5 grand?).

Posted by: Grad | Jun 3, 2013 7:31:22 AM

I look forward to more methodologically sound rankings from US News.



Posted by: Unemployed_Northeastern | Jun 1, 2013 10:42:55 PM

If you look at outcomes per dollar of tuition Rutgers would probably do well also.

Posted by: michael livingston | Jun 1, 2013 3:35:30 AM

You might want to make explicit that they are measuring efficiency in reference to expenditures *as related to US News score/ranking*, not efficiency in achieving educational quality (although US News does its best to elide the distinction between these two concepts). In other words, they are ranking which schools obtained the highest score in US News as compared to their expenditures. That is a strange measure of efficiency to me and creates some truly perverse incentives, but let's actually be explicit about what they're measuring so that students aren't deceived.

Posted by: Anon | May 31, 2013 1:49:51 PM