Paul L. Caron
Dean




Tuesday, March 1, 2016

2015 Law School Survey of Student Engagement: How A Decade Of Debt Changed The Law Student Experience

LSSSE 2National Law Journal, Law Student Debt and Stress Levels on the Rise, Survey Finds; Blacks and Latinos Expect to Owe the Most:

A full 44 percent of law students expect to graduate owing more than $100,000 in student loans, according to a new survey of nearly 22,000 students. Fully 67 percent of those hefty borrowers anticipate they will leave law school with more than $120,000 in debt—up from 63 percent in 2011.

The latest iteration of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement, a student satisfaction survey conducted annually by Indiana University's Center for Postsecondary Research, focuses on student loan debt over the past 10 years and how that debt impacts law students while on campus. The survey, which included responses from 80 campuses, found that debt levels are increasing, are contributing to law student stress, and are hitting minority and lower-income students the hardest.

“Debt levels have a direct impact on the student’s experience and their ability to focus on their studies without being distracted,” said Aaron Taylor, a law professor at Saint Louis University School of Law and the director of the survey. Half of respondents reported experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety while on campus, and 51 percent of those students said debt and financial concerns contributed to their stress. Only academic performance, academic workload and job prospects were cited more often as stressors. ...

The survey also found a widening gap in anticipated debt over the past decade between those with LSAT scores of 155 or below and 156 or above. In 2006, 16 percent of respondents with an LSAT score in the lower grouping expected to owe more than $120,000, compared to 37 percent in 2015. By contrast, only 20 percent of 2015 respondents with higher LSAT scores anticipated owing $120,000 or more.

Despite the finding that debt levels are on the rise, the survey identified a bright spot for legal education: Overall, today’s law students reported greater satisfaction with their entire law school experience than students surveyed in 2006 and 2011. In 2015, 84 percent of respondents rated their law school experience as either good or excellent, up from 80 percent a decade ago. That’s surprising given the narrative of law school in crisis, Taylor said.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/03/2015-law-school-survey-of-student-engagement-how-a-decade-of-debt-changed-the-law-student-experience.html

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Comments

Gee, fewer lawyers. How can America survive?

Posted by: Ivar Ivarson | Mar 2, 2016 5:23:57 PM

It's not surprising more recent students are showing higher satisfaction overall, considering the decline in the rigorous academic standards of yesteryear.

Posted by: Wordygirl | Mar 2, 2016 5:59:57 AM

Quote: “Debt levels have a direct impact on the student’s experience and their ability to focus on their studies without being distracted,” said Aaron Taylor, a law professor at Saint Louis University School of Law and the director of the survey.

They could do what a lot of us in generations past did—get a job while in school. They'll be too busy to lose "focus" or get "distracted." They could also fight against the reasons college costs have been rising three times faster than inflation, particularly administrative bloat and fancy amenities.


Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Mar 2, 2016 5:35:55 AM

I'm still waiting for The Costco School of Law to open its doors

Posted by: Dave K. | Mar 1, 2016 3:38:50 PM