Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Curious how with the price of tuition, the average student debt isn't as high as one would think

I looked up my crap law school. It charges $55,000 a year in notreallyalawyer08/31/17
There's also cross-student subsidization in the form of scho malletofmalice08/31/17
They have also generally decreased enrollment. Instead of a downwardslope08/31/17
Are transfers really hard still? Back after my first year at notreallyalawyer08/31/17
When applications started cratering, they probably offered h ipesq08/31/17
About 4 or 5 years ago at my T3 alma mater they got rid of a flyer1408/31/17
In averaging, the large pool of low debt borrowers offsets t qdllc08/31/17
Also, we tend to discuss in terms of real debt - what it is wutwutwut09/01/17
Part of it is widespread tuition discounting as others have onehell09/01/17
notreallyalawyer (Aug 31, 2017 - 12:58 pm)

I looked up my crap law school. It charges $55,000 a year in tuition. When I went it was about $30,000 a year. I managed to wind up with about $118,000 from that (I have more from a semester at NYU LLM program before I dropped out). But it says the average debt is about $115,000. The tuition alone for 3 years is 165,000 not including room/board/books. How are they graduating with so little debt? I even got small scholarships from law review, or course performance but that was only a couple thousand each year.. Did I do something wrong?

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malletofmalice (Aug 31, 2017 - 1:06 pm)

There's also cross-student subsidization in the form of scholarship.

For example, instead of a 50k tuition for 2 people, you raise the tuition to 55k, and then give one of them 10k in scholarship, taken from the other person.

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downwardslope (Aug 31, 2017 - 1:13 pm)

They have also generally decreased enrollment. Instead of a 300 person class, there are 175 students. I assume there are fewer faculty members as well to pay.

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notreallyalawyer (Aug 31, 2017 - 8:14 pm)

Are transfers really hard still? Back after my first year at my crappy school, I was in the top 5% of my class and tried to transfer. I applied to NYU, Columbia and Michigan, and didn't get into any of them as a transfer student. I was hoping to use it as leverage to get my law school to offer me some scholarship so I'd stay.. Someone else in my class who was maybe a spot or two above me in my class was able to transfer into Cornell.

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ipesq (Aug 31, 2017 - 1:06 pm)

When applications started cratering, they probably offered higher scholarships to keep their incoming LSAT stats up.

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flyer14 (Aug 31, 2017 - 1:18 pm)

About 4 or 5 years ago at my T3 alma mater they got rid of a bunch of long-standing professors (many with 40+ year careers). They brought in some new faces, the majority of whom turned out to be adjuncts, especially for upper level courses.

Edit: I realize I didn't really address the OP. The answer to that is likely a combination of scholarship (both of the merit and non-white male variety), parents assisting with bills, money saved up, or working.

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qdllc (Aug 31, 2017 - 4:59 pm)

In averaging, the large pool of low debt borrowers offsets the small pool of very high debt borrowers.

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wutwutwut (Sep 1, 2017 - 10:53 am)

Also, we tend to discuss in terms of real debt - what it is as of graduation, accrued interest over the years included.

Most of the LS shills use "average indebtedness" to only include the amount borrowed.

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onehell (Sep 1, 2017 - 3:47 pm)

Part of it is widespread tuition discounting as others have said. Used to be they only had to give "scholarships" to people with LSATS at and above their 75th percentile, but now they need to do it just to keep their medians up. The result is that the average student is not paying full price.

Another part of it is that averages are inherently misleading. The average of 100,000 and 0 is 50,000, for example. Every school has a fair number of kids whose parents are paying in full and who will incur no debt whatsoever. Even among kids who do incur debt, most of these kids are suburban and upper-middle class. Their parents will at least subsidize even if they can't pay for the whole thing outright.

That parental subsidy is, BTW, probably the single biggest factor. We are, in many ways, still heavily reliant on what's left over from better times, i.e. baby boomer times. This has enabled us to kick this can down the road. But millennials are not going to be able to provide the same help they got to their own kids. Eventually this will start to become unavoidable because all the residual from the post WWII boom will finally have been spent, but for now, it is allowing the schools to report average debt loads below what the prices would seem to dictate.

There are plenty of kids who get no outside support and no substantial discount, and they absolutely do come out 200k+ in the hole. But they get buried in skewed averages.

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