Saturday, June 20, 2015
The ABA Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education yesterday released its final 62-page report with three recommendations:
- Help students take full advantage of the current federal loan programs by mandating enhanced financial counseling and "plain English" disclosures of loan repayment programs;
- Serve transparency, accountability, and better planning by mandating that the ABA collect detailed data for each law school on expenditures, revenue, and financial aid (including discounting information and proportions of need vs. merit-based aid) and make all of the data publicly available; and
- Develop new ways of balancing responsible curricula and pedagogies, cost-effectiveness, and alternative revenue streams by strongly encouraging and supporting experimentation and innovation among law schools.
The ABA House of Delegates will vote on the adoption of the task force's recommendations at its Aug. 3-4 meeting in Chicago.
National Law Journal, ABA Task Force: Bring Law School Costs Down:
Law schools should provide students with better debt counseling, report more information about their revenues and expenditures, and experiment with ways to make a law degree more affordable.
Those are the three key recommendations from an ABA task force that spent a year examining the financial realities of becoming a lawyer and how rising costs are affecting students.
ABA Journal, ABA Task Force on Law School Financing Calls for Reforms
The 62-page report, more than a year in the making, documents the decline in law school enrollment; the rise in inflation-adjusted tuition; the widespread and increasing use of tuition discounting; the weak legal job market; and the growth of student borrowing and debt loads.
But the task force also notes that many of the financial challenges facing legal education largely affect higher education in general. And it cautions against one-size-fits-all solutions or reflexive actions in a dynamic and evolving environment.