November 17, 2017

Erin Rousseau, MIT: House Republicans Just Voted to Bankrupt Graduate Students (Michael Simkovic)

Following up on my previous post, Republican Tax Hikes Target Education

[U]nder the House’s tax bill, our waivers will be taxed. This means that M.I.T. graduate students would be responsible for paying taxes on an $80,000 annual salary, when we actually earn $33,000 a year. That’s an increase of our tax burden by at least $10,000 annually.

It would make meeting living expenses nearly impossible, barring all but the wealthiest students from pursuing a Ph.D. The students who will be hit hardest — many of whom will almost certainly have to leave academia entirely — are those from communities that are already underrepresented in higher education. . . .

The law would also decimate American competitiveness. . . . 

Graduate students are part of the hidden work force that drives some of the most important scientific and sociological advancements in the country. The American public benefits from it. Every dollar of basic research funded by the National Institutes of Health, for example, leads to a $1.70 output from biotechnology industries. The N.I.H. reports that the average American life span has increased by 30 years, in part, because of a better understanding of human health. I’d say that’s a pretty good return on investment for United States taxpayers."

November 17, 2017 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Of Academic Interest, Science, Weblogs | 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 11, 2017

From Texas Wesleyan to Texas A&M...

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

Republican tax hikes target education (Michael Simkovic)

The draft tax plan unveiled last week by House Republicans targets students and educational institutions for tax increases.  The Republican proposal would eliminate the lifetime learning credit (worth as much as $2,000 per year per student), tax graduate students on tuition waivers, eliminate the (already limited) tax deduction for student loan interest, and tax endowments at leading research universities. 

The plan would also eliminate the tax deduction for most state and local taxes.  If taxpayers react by demanding state and local tax cuts, this move will put pressure on budgets at K-12 public schools and at public universities.  It will also make it more challenging for local and state governments to fund police and fire protection and economically vital physical infrastructure.  A lower cap on the mortgage interest deduction for new buyers might cause property values to fall, further eroding local tax revenues.

Cuts to funding for education and local government will help defray the costs of major reductions in corporate income tax rates, tax cuts for passive income, and elimination of taxes on inherited estates larger than $5.5 million. 

In aggregate the Republican tax plan is expected to increase federal debt levels by more than $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.  Repaying this debt without future tax increases will likely require significant cuts to funding for Social Security, Medicare and the U.S. military.  These programs account for the overwhelming majority of federal spending.

Reductions in funding for education and infrastructure could hurt economic growth.  A few Republicans claim that the tax cuts will dramatically boost growth, but many acknowledge that this is unlikely.  In the 1980s, and again in the early 2000s, Republicans claimed that tax cuts would cause the economy to grow so fast that the ratio of debt to GDP would fall.  Those predictions proved to be incorrect.  Tax revenue lagged projections and the ratio of federal debt to GDP grew from from 30 percent in the 1981 to more than 100 percent today. 

November 6, 2017 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Of Academic Interest, Weblogs | 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

Best publishers of scholarly monographs in law?

More than 160 readers voted in our poll from earlier in the week, and here are the results:

1. Oxford University Press  (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Cambridge University Press  loses to Oxford University Press by 95–56
3. Harvard University Press  loses to Oxford University Press by 95–56, loses to Cambridge University Press by 93–60
4. Yale University Press  loses to Oxford University Press by 117–33, loses to Harvard University Press by 113–34
5. Princeton University Press  loses to Oxford University Press by 122–25, loses to Yale University Press by 70–67

University of Chicago Press was runner-up, trailing Princeton 81-51 (Princeton was essentially tied with Yale).   These seem to me like fairly sensible results--interesting how the two UK publishers dominate.  The mystery of the Harvard catalogue is how uneven it is, perhaps because it is bigger than, say, Princeton's or Yale's law catalogues.

October 19, 2017 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink