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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Are Law Schools in it for the Money?
Following a recent New York Times expose on law school merit scholarships, a universal push for transparency has emerged. The scholarships, many law students argue, are an elaborate money-making scheme for the law schools. Potential law students are lured through the doors with the promise of merit-based scholarships, so long as they can maintain grades above a pre-stated average. The law schools then make it virtually impossible for students to maintain the minimum GPA, causing many students to lose their scholarships after the first year of law school. By then, the student who has invested a full year in school is unlikely to drop out simply because their financial aid has lapsed. The law school then benefits to the tune of two full years of paid tuition from the failed scholarship recipient.

The law schools argue that the contract terms are clear. Keep pace academically, and the scholarship money will flow. The consequences of a drooping GPA are no surprise. But students complain that there are no objective markers for grading. More importantly, they'd like to see statistics. How many merit-based scholars are actually 'able' to maintain the minimum GPA? What financial incentive do the schools have for rewarding good academics? This issue might fade more easily into the background if it weren't for a simultaneous push for transparency in other aspects of law school data. Across the country, students, faculty and politicians are pushing law schools to be more candid with statistics on post-graduate jobs, debt to income ratio of law school graduates and so on.

No matter which side of the argument you choose, one thing is certain. A law degree is undoubtedly valuable, but placing a viable price tag upon it is no easy task.


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