Paul L. Caron

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Muller: Law Schools With The Worst Debt-to-Income Ratios Among Recent Graduates

Following up on my recent posts:

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Are Poor Debt-to-Income Ratios Among Law School Graduates a Sign of Institutional Challenges?:

I recently blogged about debt-to-income ratios among recent law school graduates from Department of Education data disclosures. ... I suggested a “good” ratio would be less than 1.0 (i.e., total debt is less than total entry-level salary), which is a good rule of thumb for college. ...

I wanted to look at the other end—what do particularly poor debt-to-income ratios tell us? Actually, quite a lot. I noticed that several of the schools with the worst ratios had faced what I identify as “adverse situations.” First (identified in the chart as *), schools that have faced multiple years of sub-75% ultimate bar passage rates, which places them at accreditation risk under the ABA’s new ultimate bar passage requirement. Second (**), schools that have lost their ABA accreditation recently and become state-accredited. Third (***), schools that have closed.

I sorted the chart by the worst debt-to-income ratios, those schools with such ratios of 3.0 or higher (i.e., median reported debt is at least three times the median reported income).


Virtually all of the law schools at the top of the list have faced adverse situations.

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