March 02, 2018
February 28, 2018
February 20, 2018
...according to LSAC. This won't mean a 30% increase in applications, of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a 10% bump in total applicants this year. This year has already been the best year to be on the law teaching market in at least five years, and I expect if we do see an increase in qualified applicants to law schools, we will see an increase in hiring of new law teachers next year as well.
February 07, 2018
House Republicans propose to open floodgates to federal funding of low-quality for-profit, online degrees (Michael Simkovic)
House Republicans recently proposed to increase federal funding for the worst performing parts of higher education and reduce federal funding for the best performing parts.
For-profit ("proprietary") brick-and-mortar and online educational programs tend to have low rates of student completion, relatively poor employment outcomes, and relatively high student loan default rates compared to private non-profit and public institutions. For-profits' typically poor outcomes may be at least in part because for-profit programs typically spend far more on sales and marketing than traditional non-profit programs. This leaves fewer resources available for instruction and support services for students, or research that can help build an institutional reputation and connections with employers. Paying profits out to investors also drains cash and limits how much can be spent on instruction in any given year.* Short-term programs at for-profits are the only category of higher educational institution that have been shown by peer reviewed research to increase their prices without increasing educational quality upon gaining eligibility for federal aid.
Default rates of for-profit programs used to be even worse in relative terms, before rules were implemented to deny eligibility for federal student loans to the worst performing for-profit institutions.
A new House bill sponsored exclusively by Republicans, H.R. 4508,** threatens to open the floodgates to federal funding for for-profit and online education of dubious quality. According to the CBO, the bill would:
"Amend or repeal restrictions on institutional eligibility for federal student aid for certain types of schools, the largest of which would repeal the definition of distance education and eliminate the cap on the percentage of revenues that proprietary schools can receive from the Department of Education. . . .
Distance Education. H.R. 4508 would repeal the current-law requirement that online programs provide students with regular, substantive interaction with faculty. CBO expects that if programs do not need to meet that criterion they could more easily expand and scale up, resulting in higher enrollment. . . .
Short-Term Programs. Current law requires programs to offer at least 600 clock hours of instruction for students to be eligible for Pell grants. To be eligible for student loans, a program must offer at least 300 hours and have a student completion and placement rate of at least 70 percent. . . . H.R. 4508 would extend aid eligibility to students in short-term programs [and] there would no longer be any requirements about placement rates. . . .
Gainful Employment. In October 2014, the Department of Education published final rules related to gainful employment, setting benchmarks related to student income and federal loan debt that had to be met by programs at proprietary institutions...H.R. 4508 would repeal . . . gainful employment [rules]."
Indeed, it will be much easier to expand enrollment without the need to spend any money providing students "regular, substantive interaction with faculty," who can answer student questions, connect them with employers, or teach them.
January 25, 2018
January 24, 2018
Retired attorney Bruce Craig would welcome hearing from law professors interested in the following issue (you may reach Mr. Craig at brucecrai-at-gmail-dot-com):
As a former assistant attorney general (Wis.) I litigated against a number of pyramid schemes starting in 1968 and ending, for all practical purposes, in 1979 when the FTC ruled in favor of Amway. Now retired, living in New York, and still involved with this issue to a limited extent.
Since 1979, and Reagan, Amway has become a $9 billion/yr world-wide operation, the overall industry's annual revenues about $150 billion. Qualified estimates indicate that the loss ratio of participants in these operations exceeds 95%.
Not only has this made the pyramid owners billionaires but, as a direct result, it has also funded a political and governmental machine that has fundamentally suppressed any meaningful enforcement or legislative oversight. This is primarily the result of the victims of these schemes being politically invisible to both sides of the aisle and ignored on the basis they didn't work hard enough. Victims seldom file complaints as they feel they were part of an illegal process and involved family members and friends.
The press has primarily focused on disputes between Wall Street titans and not on the ethical and legal underpinnings which have enabled this to happen. Unfortunately, it appears the legal academia has not examined this as well.
At present, there is no formal legal distinction between pyramid schemes and "Multi-Level Marketing", with limited enforcement only after the fact. This phenomenon has enabled those not yet sued to claim they are legal MLM and not illegal pyramid schemes.
Given the significant and continuing massive losses, incurred by those mostly in the lower part of the middle class. This note is to inquire whether legal scholars might be interested in exploring the issue. From a philosophical standpoint I've noticed that the investment and financial communities seem to ignore the underlying damage caused by those listed on the NYSE.
This is far beyond my competence, but I offered to share this with the community of legal scholars and legal theorists, some of whom might be able to help.
January 18, 2018
The full document here. I may say more when I've had a chance to digest it. Signed reader comments welcome (full name required, valid e-mail address); submit comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.
January 10, 2018
January 02, 2018
Jerry Organ (St. Thomas) collects the data. The decline in the applicant pool during this time has presumably put prospective students in a stronger negotiating position, which probably explains the decline in the offers of scholarships contingent on academic performance.