November 29, 2017

Republican Education Bill Would Boost Profits for Private Student Lenders and Raise Financing Costs for Students (Michael Simkovic)

House Republicans recently voted along party lines in favor of a tax bill that specifically targeted higher education institutions and students for tax hikes, while providing large tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals.  The Wall Street Journal reports that House Republicans are proposing an additional higher education bill that would make the terms of federal student loans less flexible and less generous and limit federal student loan availability.  Specifically, the bill would eliminate Public Service Loan Forgiveness and reduce the availability of flexible repayment plans for all borrowers. It would also cap maximum borrowing from the federal government at a lower level.

These measures, if enacted, would be a boon to private student lenders like Sallie Mae, who would be able to both increase their prices and increase their market share as federal student loans become less competitive and less available.  Consequently, expected financing costs for students will likely increase, to the detriment of both students and educational institutions.

According to a study by the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Education, loans to graduate and professional students are the most profitable in the government's portfolio--even after income based repayment and debt forgiveness.  Capping loans to these attractive borrowers may reduce the overall profitability of federal student lending, and pave the way for arguments for more cuts to federal lending in the future. 

The bill reportedly will also reduce regulation of for-profit college sales and marketing, and provide greater funding for 2-year degrees and apprenticeship programs.  Labor economists who have studied 2-year degrees and apprenticeship programs typically find that these programs provide relatively low benefits (in terms of increased earnings and employment) compared to 4-year college degrees and graduate degrees, even after accounting for differences in the costs of these programs and differences in student populations.  Thus, increasing funding for apprenticeships while reducing funding for 4-year degrees and advanced degrees is likely to impede economic growth.

These educational priorities, may however, provide Republicans with political advantages.  Political scientists and pollsters have found that as education levels increase--after controlling for income, race, sex, and age--individuals become more likely to identify as Democrats and less likely to identify as Republicans.  The association is particularly pronounced among scientists and others with graduate degrees.  

November 29, 2017 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Science, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink

November 28, 2017

New York Bar results from July 2017 exam

Blog Emperor Caron collects the results.  Syracuse continues its outstanding performance, noted last year.  And St. John's sees a big improvement.

November 28, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

November 21, 2017

University of Illinois, Chicago exploring possibility of acquiring John Marshall Law School

Story here.  UIC has a medical school, but no law school, while John Marshall is a free-standing law school.  If the acquisition occurred, it would be the only public law school in Chicago, and, assuming there was some tuition discount for state residents, it would put particular pressure on private law schools in the city like DePaul and Chicago-Kent.

November 21, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

November 16, 2017

Valparaiso Law School to begin winding down operations (at least in Indiana) due to financial pressures

That seems to be the import of this somewhat cryptic announcement.  Those with more information may post that in the comments; submit your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.

November 16, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ten law schools will now accept the GRE

Blog Emperor Caron has a round-up.  I hope and expect more will.  This is a particularly good development for JD/PhD students, who in the past had to taken two different standardized tests.

November 16, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

November 06, 2017

LSAT takers up more than 10% in September/October compared to last year

That's on the heels of a nearly 20% increase in June test-takers.  It seems clear that not only has the decline in law school applications bottomed out (it has been stable the last two years), but now seems poised for a non-trivial increase.   Law schools would be wise not to expand too much, though, especially with the ABA policing more carefully bar passage rates.   But stable or increasing enrollments means that law schools can invest in faculty lines again, which we're already seeing this year.

November 6, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 31, 2017

ABA issues notices about possible non-compliance with ABA standards

Blog Emperor Caron collects links to them all, but they differ quite a bit.  The notice to Buffalo reflects record-keeping issues, I suspect, while those to Appalachian and Thomas Jefferson, for example, seem far more ominous.

October 31, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 30, 2017

Tuition-discounting at law schools

There's a lot of it, unsurprisingly, according to a new study (which included data from only 36 schools, however).

October 30, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 19, 2017

California Supreme Court declines to lower Bar pass score

The Court explains its decision here.  Tellingly, they don't even claim that it's necessary to keep the score where it is because that is essential for competent legal practice.  The decision is certainly a blow for the vast majority of California law schools that had lobbied for a lower pass score, more in line with other jurisdictions.

October 19, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 28, 2017

The second FAR distribution came out today...

...with only 55 new applicants for faculty positions.  Altogether, there are fewer than 500 candidates seeking law teaching positions this year, one of the lowest totals I can recall.  There are some indications that hiring is up this year--or at least interviewing--but it's too early to say for sure.

September 28, 2017 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink