Friday, October 11, 2013
In a recent interview on Bloomberg Law, Dean Nicholas Allard of Brooklyn Law School criticized the use of merit scholarships to raise law schools' U.S. News rankings. He believes that the funds that law schools use for merit scholarships would be better used for need-based scholarships.
The ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education recently came to a similar conclusion. Last week, I heard Chief Justice Randall Shepard, the head of the Task Force, speak about the Task Force Report at the Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Conference in Denver. He spoke at length about the misuse of merit scholarships.
I agree with Dean Allard and the Task Force; it is wrong to use tuition money of needy students in order to try to move up in the U.S. News rankings. The students who receive the merit scholarships are the ones who are obtaining the high paying jobs upon graduation, while the students who are subsidizing these scholarships are obtaining lower paying jobs. Law schools want their graduates to take public service jobs and help the poor and disadvantaged upon graduation. How can they do so when they are burderened by heavy debt?
Let's eliminate the merit scholarships that use tuition, and either lower tuition for everyone, or create more need-based scholarships.