Saturday, January 24, 2009

This Post Brought to You by Higher Tuition!

Just because everyone does it doesn't mean that it's a good thing. Please don't raise it again! UVA Law Blog / some columnist takes the novel stance that higher Law School tuition is bad:
[S]uccessive tuition increases are bad for students. While the Law School pursues valuable academic resources and plies top candidates with generous scholarships to maintain its prestige vis-a-vis its peer schools and in the legal market as a whole, higher tuition costs in the end will be borne by almost all the current students. As they are forced to borrow more money to cover the costs, the effects could be even more significant than ever before because of the poor economy and legal job market.
Just for fun - here is the percentage increase in tuition over the past few years (years mark the fall of a given academic year):
Year (IS) (OOS)
2007-2008: 9.9% 8.6%
2006-2007: 8.6% 7.9%
2005-2006: 8.5% 7.2%
2004-2005: 8.5% 7.0%
2003-2004: 9.5% 6.5%

Source: UVA Budget Office
While it's worth noting that the in-state rate was growing faster in the early years as a result of the LS's declaring financial independence from the state, now we are seeing out-of-state increases almost as marked (indeed, the same last year in real-dollar terms). One thing especially stands out - in percentage terms last year's tuition increase was higher than ever before (at least, in terms of the available data we were able to come up with - we concede there might be a higher increase outside of that range). And, obviously, it was also the highest increase in terms of absolute value as well.

There's got to be another way. Giving the Law School the benefit of the doubt and assuming that they don't increase the rate at which they are increasing tuition (as they did this year) but instead decide to keep it flat at the same rate as the increase from Fall 2007 to Fall 2008, here's what happens if we don't stop the tuition increase madness:
Academic Year (IS) (OOS)
2008-09 (current): $36,800 $41,800
2009-10: $40,423 $45,394
2010-11: $44,425 $49,299
2011-12: $48,823 $53,538
2012-13: $53,656 $58,143
2013-14: $58,968 $63,143
That means if current trends hold true, next year out of state people will be paying over $45k in tuition alone, and that current out-of-state 1Ls are seriously looking at the prospect of paying almost $50k in tuition. Of course, you should be able to get loans to cover the cost, but with the legal economy being tight and law firms are not looking to jack up their salaries anytime soon (indeed, the opposite) it's a tough pill to swallow.

Aside from the welfare of the students, there's at least some argument that keeping tuition in check (alas, I'm not naive enough to think that it could ever be lowered), would help the Law School:
Not only would [not raising tuition as much] help current and entering students and be greatly appreciated by them, it could also be a potential boon to recruiting: If UVA were to keep its tuition in check at a time when other top law schools are not, many top applicants would have an even stronger opinion of the Law School and its administration as one that truly cares about its students. Keeping tuition in check would represent, at least in relative terms, a scholarship to every single student at the Law School. . .
Besides, what is this, Law School for millionaires?

Related: Please Don't Raise Tuition Again [Law Weekly]
Suggestions On What To Do With Your PILA Grant

ADDENDUM: Cornell Law School can't appreciate good press - they just announced their tuition for entering students for next year: $48,950 (!!!)  When will the madness end?!

*While we don't have a linking policy, please don't scoop this post on any other blogs, TYIA. Also please stop pointing out the atrocious grammar, style, and content of our writing in the comments and emails, ty ty.*


Anonymous said...

It's pretty stark when you put the projections up there. As Einstein said, "the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest."

Anonymous said...

There is a document somewhere, I couldn't find it again, that lists the University's 10 year plan and one of the goals of the Board of Visitors was to stabilize tuition by 2010. We'll see if they stick by that.

Anonymous said...

And by stabilization, it specifically said for the law school. Not for the undergrad/other schools.

Rule 12 (f) said...

I would very much like to see that, if you are able to find it. Interesting all the same, thank you.

Anonymous said...

These figures especially hurt when I check out the big plasma TV in WB 101. Presumably, this giant TV behind the audience that no one but the lecturer can see, exists to allow the lecturer spot check his projected slides while talking without having to glance at the monitor on the podium or look over his shoulder. An incredible convenience I don't doubt, but one that could just as easily have been accomplished by a mirror.

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