Last week, the American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education released a report with several startling statistics on law school enrollment numbers, financial aid, employment rates, and debt levels facing students after graduation.
The findings of the Task Force reaffirm that enrollment numbers are down and tuition and borrowing rates are at an all-time high.
For example, from the 2009 to the 2014-2015 academic year, 30% fewer students enrolled in a private law school and 18% in public law schools, and to compensate this decline, private law school tuition rates increased by 29% while public law school tuition rates increased by 104% from the 1999 to 2014-2015 academic year.
That being said, financial aid and merit-based funding also rose. According to the report, less students are paying full tuition costs.
For example, in private law schools the rate of students paying at a non-discounted rate dropped from 57% to 38% between the 1999 and 2013-2014 academic year, whereas in public schools the rate declined from 58% to 40%.
In fact in Jack Silverstein’s review of the Report in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, he claims that with the enrollment numbers down scholarship spending went up stating that “from the 2004-05 school year to the 2012-13 one, private schools increased grant and scholarship spending by 44 percent, with public schools rising 99 percent.”
Aside from these and many more stats, the report also provides a call-to-action plan that will be voted on by the ABA’s House of Delegates this August at their annual meeting held in Chicago.
William C. Hubbard, President of the ABA, believes that most of the recommendations provided by the Task Force will be well-received by the voting delegates this fall, especially those surrounding increased accessibility to loan repayment programs and debt counseling, as well as more transparency in releasing data surrounding accreditation and the overall expenditures and revenue of law schools.