July 31, 2012
Applicants Using Scholarship Offers To Leverage Admission to Law Schools
The Wall Street Journal is reporting on the latest trend hitting law schools looking to fill the seats with quality students. Apparently schools are upping the amount of scholarship money they are offering applicants who possess high LSAT scores and/or GPA averages. This essentially acts as a rebate on high tuition rates that schools are loathe to reduce. The report indicates that the desirable students are able to pit schools against each other for the best possible deal.
This is quite a change from a couple of summers ago when Senator Charles Grassley and others were criticizing the ABA for not reacting to what some had called a bait-and-switch approach to scholarship money. That would take the form of a money offer of financial aid contingent on maintaining a particular GPA in law school while quietly using a grading curve to lower the number of students receiving money in the second year and beyond. One other strategy law schools are using to entice quality applicants is to use flexible deadlines to entice some applicants to join the entering class. Well Senator, I guess the invisible hand of the market has shifted the bargaining power to the students who have aggregate scores that can affect law school rankings.
In the meantime, it seems that the lowered demand for seats in a law program have shifted to some extent to a higher demand for seats trade schools. CNN Money is reporting that young people just entering the job market and those who experienced a lay-off are attracted to trade school programs. The advantages are that the programs are short, around two years, and the jobs at the end of the program pay a decent salary of in the $50-60 thousand range. Some may be as high as $80,000 depending on the field. There is, apparently, a shortage of skilled workers in some areas of manufacturing. Law may be a learned profession, but people have to make money to survive. [MG]