A few weeks ago,Law School Transparency’s robust report on the state of legal education made national headlines. The report essentially provided that hard and in-depth data behind what many have already known: For-profit law schools are feeding on people unlikely to pass the bar exam. The report came on the heels of Arizona Summit Law School reporting a 30% July bar exam pass rate for its class of 2015. Yet law school tuition—especially at for-profit schools—continues to soar.
The report pointed to the growing debt crisis and how for-profit schools are graduating students who funded their entire degrees on Federal student loans and, essentially, are not likely to pass the bar. And now some members of Congress are taking notice.
“We need to move away from a system that results in too many law school graduates twisting in the wind,” Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in an e-mailed statement that was reported by Bloomberg Businessweek. Grassley also noted the schools putting graduates in situations where they will likely be defaulting on Federal loans isn’t good for the students or the taxpayers, citing the ‘problems illustrated’ by Law School Transparency’s report.
Businessweek also reported on statements made by Senator Dick Durban, a Democrat from Illinois, at a congressional meeting on student debt last week. “Now that we’ve taken the cap off what you can borrow for graduate courses, they have decided they are going to just charge to the heavens in terms of tuition for worthless, worthless law school degrees,” Businessweek reports Durban saying at the meeting.
Later, Durban went on to say when he asked the presidents of the for-profit law schools why they are charging so much to go to law school, the schools responded by saying, “Because we can; the students are applying and they’ll pay whatever we tell them,” Durban said at the congressional meeting reported on by Businessweek.
Kyle McEntee, the executive director of Law School Transparency and a graduate of Vanderbilt’s Law School, says responsibility to keep for-profit schools from accepting students likely to fail the bar also falls on the American Bar Association. McEntee told Businessweek that the ABA needs to start enforcing a “standard” of keeping schools from accepting students “who aren’t capable of passing the bar.”
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
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