preLaw - Fall 2016 - 34
On Bernie Sanders' Senate website, there's
a page called "Student Stories: High
College Costs." Not surprisingly, some of
the hardship tales come from lawyers.
"I went to law school because I wanted
to help people and communities who are
underserved by the law," wrote a Brooklyn
woman who has $134,000 in debt. "I am
currently paying back my loans on an
income-based repayment plan with a 7.3
percent interest rate, which means I am
not even making a dent in my debt. ... I
will be in my 50s before I get out of debt."
Little wonder college debt has been
such a big issue in this presidential election, and why many young people flocked
to support Sanders and his goal of reducing those costs.
What do legal educators say?
They agree with the Bern. Many
administrators say that reducing student
debt is a priority, and they are taking steps
to do so.
However, some schools do this better
than others. In our annual ranking of Best
Value Law Schools, there remains a clear
field of consistent leaders - schools that
not only keep debt low but also score high
in employment success, which are two of
the key factors we use to determine Best
The leading schools may change slightly in order, but they still command most
of the top spots. University of Nebraska
College of Law, for instance, leads the pack
for the second year in a row. University
of Kentucky College of Law finished second, after coming in fourth last year. The
University of Alabama School of Law tumbled all the way to sixth - from fifth.
All of the above-mentioned schools
have students graduating with an average debt well below $100,000. This year,
University of Nebraska's average debt was
$58,744, which is lower than its average of
$62,985 last year.
"It is crucial to me as an administrator
that we keep tuition and debt low so that
students have many career choices when
they graduate," said Richard Moberly,
University of Nebraska's interim dean.
In addition to debt and employment
success, preLaw magazine also takes into
account the schools' tuition costs, bar passage success rates and cost of living in the
surrounding communities to determine
the Best Value schools. (See page 37 for
Best Value methodology.)
Certainly, top-tier schools such as
Harvard Law School and Yale Law School
provide a good chance of success and big
paychecks, but competition to get into
By Mike stetz
those schools is fierce. And, not everyone
wants one of the Big Law jobs that make
those expensive educations a good bet.
Best Value seeks to honor schools that
do what law schools are meant to do: provide a good education at an affordable
cost, with graduates being well prepared to
land jobs ...
University of Idaho College of Law made
one of the more substantial jumps on our
list, going from an A- last year to cracking
the top 10 this year. One factor was debt
reduction. Last year, debt was $92,732.
This year, it fell to $81,993.
That was no accident, said Dean Mark
Both his administration and the previous one made it a priority to get debt
down, he said.
"It's been a concern of mine for quite a
while," Adams said.
Students who have high debt may
have limited career options, he noted. For
instance, they may have to take a job in
the private sector, where the pay is better, even if that's not their dream job.
And debt makes it harder for students to
photo by Craig ChandLer; photo Courtesy of university of tennessee; photo by MeLissa hartLey
School debt has been a major issue this presidential year.
The Best Value Law Schools seek to graduate students
without major debt burdens - a goal they say is critical.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of preLaw - Fall 2016
Table of Contents
preLaw - Fall 2016 - Cover1
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preLaw - Fall 2016 - Table of Contents
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