Friday, May 4, 2012

Law school will cost the class of 2015 even more than we thought

A couple days ago we let you know about a new database created by the good folks over at the Law School Transparency project that helps prospective students estimate the cost of a J.D. including local living expenses. Today, Karen Sloan of the National Law journal has a follow-up piece in which she tells us that because of reporting errors by many law schools, LST's database was low-balling the true cost of a law degree.

It gets worse — organization underestimated law school debt

The news just keeps getting worse — at least as far as financing a legal education goes.

Law School Transparency has recalculated its estimates of the debt that law students stand to incur after discovering that a number of schools had low-balled the cost-of-living figures that they provided to U.S. News & World Report. On average, schools underreported those expenses — upon which the organization pegged its initial estimates — by $5,000, according to the Law School Transparency's executive director, Kyle McEntee.

Additionally, the organization made several mistakes in its handling of the U.S. News data, which contributed to the problems, he said.

Recalculating using the cost-of-living figures the schools posted on their Web sites pushed the debt estimates even higher. For the class of 2015 — that is, students who will enroll next fall — the new figure is $210,796 (compared to the initial estimate of $195,265). For the class of 2016, the new figure is $216,406 (compared to 200,595).

Those projections assume students rely on federal loans to pay the full cost of tuition and living expenses, and that students attending public institutions pay the higher, non-resident tuition rates. The estimates account for interest, tuition increases and inflation.

You can keep reading here.


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