Friday, January 20, 2012

Tuition, loans, and loan reform

There's been some argument in several threads about the extent to which taxpayer-guaranteed loans (which until two years ago included private loans) have fueled tuition increases in higher education generally and law school in particular.  An otherwise perceptive commenter who has made lots of valuable critical remarks about neo-liberal orthodoxies regarding rational markets and the like makes what in my opinion is an extremely implausible claim that law school tuition hikes are a product of cuts in public subsidies to universities rather than of access to subsidized loans.

This seems to me to be obviously wrong, for the simple reason that there's been a massive tuition run-up at private law schools, which have never had their tuition subsidized by public money.  Consider that, in 1995, it cost $29,700 per year in tuition to go to Cornell's law school in 2011 dollars, while in 2011 it cost $53,500.  I bought a new Honda Accord in 1995 for $26,000 in 2011 dollars. The same trim line of the car today would cost me about $24,000 -- and I would be getting a markedly superior car to the one I bought in 1995.  Are Cornell law students today getting a far superior education to the one their predecessors were receiving 15 years ago?

It's true that cuts in public funding for higher education have had an effect on tuition at public law schools, although not nearly to the extent that tuition has risen at those schools. At my law school in 1995 resident tuition was $6,485 in 2011 dollars, while it's $31,110 today.  Out of state (unsubsidized) tuition was $21,538, again in 2011 dollars, while today it's $37,582.  In other words, in-state tuition today is 50% higher in real terms than out of state (quasi-private) tuition was in the mid-1990s.

In fact the whole notion that unlimited federal (or prior to 2010 unlimited federally-guaranteed) loan money doesn't have a deeply distorting effect on the price of higher education is belied by a simple thought experiment.  Today, anyone who is admitted to any ABA-accredited law school can, no questions asked, borrow more than $200,000 to go to that school, if, like many such schools, that represents the cost of three years of attendance.  Now imagine that the typical new graduate of the typical ABA-accredited law school approaches the federal government or a private lender and asks not for $200,000, or for $100,000, or for $50,000, but for $20,000, in the form of a business loan, in order to capitalize a new law practice.  Obviously without collateral this loan application will be rejected out of hand.  In other words, our national lending system will not lend 10% of the cost of getting a law degree to someone who has already successfully gotten a law degree and passed the bar for the purpose of allowing that person to start extracting the supposed value of that degree, while that system will lend, under present regulations, literally any amount of money any ABA accredited law school chooses to charge, to someone who is merely attempting to get into the position of the "successful" new law graduate.

Anyone who doesn't think this truly preposterous situation isn't a if not the primary driver of the cost of legal education needs to think about it some more.

None of which is to deny that many other factors also distort the price higher education in general and legal education in particular.  There's a lot of evidence that higher education is to some extent a Veblen good -- that is, it's a form of conspicuous consumption with an inverted demand curve, in which people pay higher prices because they're higher.  Furthermore, the "rational consumption" model of education is beset by extremely powerful information problems.   How does one judge the quality of what one is buying in this context? You can't take a university or law school education for a test drive, and making purchasing decisions on the basis of outputs is, as we've seen, fraught with difficulties as well, some of which are a product of intentional misrepresentation, but many of which would exist even in the absence of it.

Loan reform must also take into account the extent to which higher education and (to a much lesser extent) legal education are public goods, that ought to be subsidized for the benefit of society as a whole, as well as issues of economic justice, in a society that features increasingly vast disparities in wealth, and everything wealth can buy.

No one, in other words, should consider loan reform either a magic bullet or something that will be easy to bring about.  But that it's absolutely crucial is clear.

184 comments:

  1. A lot of the discussion about law school costs basically goes:

    Students want more skills training.
    Students want lower costs.
    Clinics are super expensive.
    LOL! Students don't know what they want!
    QED, when's the next school funded meet'n'drink?

    LP, any idea what makes clinics more expensive than a seminar? I understand that small class sizes drive up costs, but that's a cost they share with seminars. Are there other expenses clinics have, and if so, any idea on how much those expenses are?

    For how much profs talk about clinics being expensive, I've never seen one actually present data about the costs. It's like the concept of evidence is lost in law schools.

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  2. It's absurd to argue that uncapped subsidization does not lead to increased prices. It's simple common sense.

    But then again, most attorneys have no undergrad economics education... mostly things like political science, sociology, or in the case of one of my former classmates, a degree in dance.

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  3. As I see it, the economic challenge of clinics is that their cost:revenue ratio has a low ceiling.

    In other words, you can't put more than X students in a clinic for every instructor, and there is a limit to how many clinics an instructor can teach.

    By contrast, a seminar professor would typically also teach a lecture course with 50-150 students in it -- if not that very semester, then probably the same year. So the seminar itself is expensive (high cost:revenue ratio), but the tenure-track seminar professor is able to generate lots of revenue for the school in other classes -- large lectures -- whereas the clinical professor is incapable of delivering that same amount of revenue in any current context.

    Seminars make economic sense as treats that make professors and students happy and improve USNWR rankings; having *more* clinics, beyond whatever minimum is required from a marketing standpoint, provides little marginal advantage.

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  4. My clinic was the same price per credit as any other class...

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  5. 6:49 again

    Simpler way of saying it:

    The "seminar professor" is a tenure-track prof who teaches 2-4x as many students annually as the clinical professor. In this sense, he provides more services and generates more revenue than a clinical professor.

    LawProf will correct me if I am wrong, but the professor who teaches a seminar will teach approximately one seminar and one lecture course per year, for a total of 70-170 students (about 20 for the seminar plus 50-150 for the lecture). The clinical professor teaches probably 40 students a year.

    Once again, it's simple economics/business. So is, I might add, LawProf's point about loan subsidies. As the adage has it, if you subsidize something, you will tend to get more of it.

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  6. @6:52AM
    That's because students who only took 100+ person lectures were subsidizing your clinic. Do you think each marginal student in a huge corporations class costs the school $1000 or $2000 or whatever they charge per credit?

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  7. Is there anything stopping a clinic instructor from teaching a lecture class?

    I'd think most would be perfectly capable of teaching crim pro, evidence, T&E, etc.

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  8. BL1Y: That would undermine the hierarchical structure of law school faculties. Also it might lead to questions such as "why are the people teaching crim pro getting paid twice as much as the people teaching in the criminal law clinic?"

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  9. That was something else I meant to ask about.

    The average instructor pay is $57k, average full prof pay is $137k (2006 data).

    If there are added costs with a clinic, are they more than the salary difference?

    I also assume that clinicians are not scholars, thus freeing up the 120 hours a week scholar professors spend on research and writing.

    But really, do you have any info on what clinics cost? (Doesn't seem like anyone does.) Or any idea what a clinician's workload is like? Would it be feasible for someone to teach a 5 credit clinic and a 2-3 credit lecture in the same semester?

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  10. Why not cap federal loan eligibility to the consumer price index? There is no reason why education costs should outpace inflation. If private law schools cannot afford to properly train students at $25,000 a year in 2011 dollars, they need to become more efficient. I remember how construction in the Brooklyn Law School atrium was delayed because the dean was waiting for a shipment of finely imported European marble. Totally obscene, wasteful, and unnecessary.

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  11. BL1Y:

    Respectfully, you're making the mistake, if I may say so, of not looking at this like a business.

    Tenure-track profs teach high-revenue (i.e., large) classes and they produce scholarship, which is what the law school hiring market values most highly. Clinical profs can only teach a small number of students each year and provide something the market values a lot less (clinics).

    Sure, clinical profs *could* teach evidence and so on, just as associates *could* argue motions and meet with clients etc., but there are solid (which is not to say principled) reasons those are the exception.

    -6:49

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  12. I mean is finely imported European marble in an unneeded law school really the best use of federal dollars when there are sick people in this country who are uninsured and unemployed people who are desperately trying to find work who are expiring off their unemployment benefits? Rome burns while the emperor fiddles and dances.

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  13. What's a solid reason for clinicians not teaching lectures?

    I know it cuts into the demand for tenured profs, but that's just an explanation for why the tenurati would want to stop it, not a solid reason against it.

    And yes, I'm not looking at it as a business, I'm looking at it as someone involved in the reform movement asking why can't we do things better.

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  14. is finely imported European marble in an unneeded law school really the best use of federal dollars

    The government says so. Or at least the Fed did when it quantitatively eased a few billion dollars into the accounts of the too big to fail banks.

    We're all Keynesians now.

    Unfortunately, debt is not a substitute for an actual economy.

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  15. sorry, meant to link this.

    We're all Keynesians now.

    It's on topic at a macro level. Cheap debt, bubble, crash.

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  16. @ LawProf:

    That hierarchical structure is the key. As a professor roughly equal in rank to a clinical professor (i.e., very low on the totem pole), I am not permitted to teach substantive classes in the spring or fall. Why? Well, the one time I brought it up I was told by the academic dean, "We only want tenure-track people teaching those important classes." In other words, they were just... better than me.

    Of course, they aren't. They are perfectly happy to have me teach substantive classes during the summer when everyone else is on vacation. (Oh, sorry - I mean "working on scholarship.") My substantive classes get much better student evaluations than the tenured folks who don't give a shit about teaching, and when my "superior" "colleagues" deign to speak to me about the subjects we teach, it's clear they don't know anything more about the topics than I do - and in many cases they owe much less.

    But mine's not a scholarly position, so my opinion doesn't matter at faculty meetings, and I get paid much less than the tenured folks. (With my most recent raise, that's $108K starting this year - which isn't chicken feed, but it's obviously a small fraction of what a lot of law faculty make.)

    Of course, I'm still living a decent life, in part at the expense of our law graduates, so I'm hardly a victim in this situation. But students should know that the very worst professors - the ones who don't seem to do much of anything and who regard students with indifference at best, loathing at worst - they are the ones who generally wield the most power and profit the most from the system. That's true at my school, anyway.

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  17. At my law school, probably half of the seminars are taught by adjuncts who, while extremely well-known and respected practicioners in their fields, are paid a fraction of what full tenured profs make.

    The main "cost" of clinics is that you would have to have 10 of them (clinics at my school are about 12 students) to get the same number of seats as a single large lecture class. The space, equipment, staff, and salaries start adding up at that point.

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  18. @bored3L:

    7:52 here. You have no idea how little the "fraction" is that those adjuncts make. Before taking my current full-time gig at my law school, I was an adjunct. We were paid less than $5K per semester for a 3-unit class. Full-time faculty making $200K or more per year have to teach four of those classes, and usually two of those four are classes with 10-15 people. The more diligent of the faculty will have those 10-15 people write ONE (never more than one) paper. The less diligent don't want to grade 10-15 papers, so they won't.

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  19. In addition to adjuncts getting very low salaries (I'd seen about $1800 per credit hour advertised, which matches up with your experience), I'm assuming there's huge costs savings in terms of benefits and overhead. Adjuncts probably don't get office space, health insurance, and I'm guessing they're hired as contractors and have to pick up the full cost of payroll taxes.

    You can't stock your law school with adjuncts though, no matter how much it would bring down costs. When it comes to the student:teacher ratio, a tenured prof teaching 6 credits a year counts 5x as much as an adjunct teaching the same number.

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  20. Maybe we're just monkeys without a fully developed conscious. Those with the least development feather their nests the best. Sure, a lot of people get caught up just trying to follow and succeed in the system, and feel guilty fot it, but even those can't help feathering. Basically, we're screwed. I know this isn't helpful. I'm just a depressed recent graduate/fully employed lawyer thinking about the sick and unemployed and messing with my iPhone (which has a pretty disgusting way of being made). There is no way out from being a hypocrite. It seems like to most enjoy the pleasures of humanity you must dehumanize your fellow humans. Anyway...just another day. I know I'm not a victim, thanks.

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  21. The underfunding of public universities is important because it removes the anchor from the market and thus allows the rampant run-up in tuition. It works the same way as a public option in the health insurance market.

    Cornell simply couldn't sell at $50k/year if there were a $10k/year option. When the public competition is $43k/year, you'll take the $7k premium; but nobody's going to pay five times as much as the public option. But so long as they're within a narrow-enough band, there's no incentive for the private not to keep charging as much as it likes, and make someone or another plenty of money.

    Now obviously nobody would charge that much either if people couldn't pay it. But it'd be much better policy to subsidize the school, contingent upon low tuition, than to subsidize the students.

    (I'm not even going to get into the obvious implications about the stupidity of vouchers at the primary-school level.)

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  22. I was going to jump in here but BL1Y, Law Prof and the anonymous commenters at 6:49 and 7:52 have it covered. 120-person classes, even when taught by a professor making $200K per year are more profitable than clinics taught by either lecturers (non-tenure-track) or adjuncts. If law schools allowed non-tenure track faculty or adjuncts to teach the big lecture classes, it would cause people to start to wonder why the tenure-track professors are being paid 2 to 4 times as much as the salaried non-tenured and threaten the hierarchy. I think one of the big problems law schools face (or will face if loan reform ever happens) is how to provide the practical training that students and employers claim to want while keeping costs down.

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  23. It would be much better for the government to fund public universities than to subsidize students. While everyone wants to jump on the European bandwagon in terms of training, they should think of that aspect of their system as well. But Americans have already spoken on the subject of taxes to fund higher education. They're agin it.

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  24. Cornell absolutely could sell at 50K/year because it is a Veblen good. People believe that Cornell would not be able to charge that much unless it was prestigious and it's graduates could get good jobs (and Cornell at 50K/year is probably sill a good investment).

    Would this apply to schools ranked 50-100, or 100-150? Well, I know a lot of private UG schools can get away with charging 50K/year when there are low-cost state options available because they are considered more prestigious. I know a girl who, in high school, her acceptance with a full scholarship to a lower-ranked private school with a good reputation for practical education in the trash so her parents would buy her an education at a higher regarded, more selective (but still not Ivy or a school that would get her into top consulting or banking jobs) private institution. This same girl would have probably spat at the free tuition at our state's flagship uni.

    I think this would apply to law schools as well. Obviously, nobody would take Cardozo at sticker over Michigan just because Michigan is a state school if Michigan charged less. But people do attend New York Law School over CUNY on the basis that is a private school although CUNY has much lower tuition and they both have equally poor job prospects.

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  25. "Since the early 1980s, the rate of increase in the price of college has far outstripped price increases in other sectors of the economy, even health care. Over these years, median family income increased by 127%; college tuition and fees by 375%."

    http://measuringup.highereducation.org/commentary/collegeaffordability.cfm

    The time frame mirrors exactly the start of the cuts to the budgets of public college education.


    The student loan and grant system significantly predates the cost increase by decades (almost 20* years) . The increase starts in the 1980s with the first round of budget cuts. Correlation is not causation, but you are going to have to do something more than call it preposterous to ask why the increases do not correlate with the student loans, but instead correlate with the the budget cuts. Its interesting to note you start for some reason with the 1990s.

    *"The Educational Opportunity Grant Program, 1965, which was created specifically for low-income students who couldn’t afford college. No repayment was required.
    The Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL) Program, 1965, which is also still in effect today. It’s name was changed in 1988 to the Federal Stafford Loan Program. This program provided more money for student loans through banks or lending agencies, to offset rising education costs."

    1. Data regarding tuition and state budget cuts:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=tuition+increases+and+budget+cuts&hl=en&gbv=2&ei=bJQZT8M5icfQAeSn_K4L&sa=N&oq=tuition+increases+and+budget+cuts&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=0l0l0l565377l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0ll0l0

    The articles on tuition increases and budget cuts are too numerous for me to count. So, I simply provide the results of a Google search rather than once again pulling up specific links which I suspect will not be read.

    2. Congressional Report on the subject of tuition and budget cuts:

    http://www.nyu.edu/classes/jepsen/costreport.html

    It covers the cost structure as of 1998, and, nothing has changed excepted the amount of debt, and the shift to the individual to solve the problem.

    It found no proof that Pell Grants increased cost, which one would expect given the arguments over government involvement. It found no conclusive proof about student loans.

    This report was commissioned by the Republicans, who were trying to prove at the time the same thesis that you are trying to push now.

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  26. The answer to the crisis is going to have to be some sort of loan reform that caps the amount you can borrow at something like 100k and limits the number of loan slots available to law students while providing a heavily-subsidized 2 or 3 percent interest rate, not running interest during school, and doing away with the ridiculous origination fees.

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  27. Health care finance is a great example of how American received wisdom distorts debates. I will first discuss the health care finance reality and then return to comparative analysis of education abroad.

    Public health care is exactly the opposite of the claim made above about the Public Option. Public health care is actually cheaper than private. For example, Medicare (despite dealing with older and sicker patients) costs slightly less than private care (which covers younger and healthier patients).

    The health care systems in Japan, Canada, and Europe are cheaper than the U.S. In Japan, for example, the public health care system takes up 7 percent of GDP. In the Canada, I believe its less than 10 percent. In Europe, with a number of 400 million, its about 10 percent. In the U.S, the cost is 18-19 percent of GDP. This is true although the outcomes are worse int he U.S. for patients. This is true despite attempts to address the issue by looking at race, class, life style habits, etc. We are 39th in the world in terms of health care outcomes (health of the patient). The vast bulk of the cost of the health care system in fact - comes from the private sector growth of cost.

    Yet, for some reason, people persist in claiming the exact opposite of what comparative analysis tells us to be the case.

    The same must also be seen with the claims about American education. Why is American education so expensive? We focus on just America. But , a valuable understanding of the situation can be gained through comparative economic analysis. Why is American higher education so expensive compared to university education abroad?

    The answer can not be "public funding" since the systems abroad engage in more public funding than the U.S.

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  28. "The answer can not be "public funding" since the systems abroad engage in more public funding than the U.S."

    There's a difference between public funding (with a cap, set by a legislative body) and unlimited public funding with no cap whatsoever, as we have with the current student loan situation.

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  29. Instead of just talking tuition increases vs. budget cuts, why not look at the total cost, over time, of providing a college education to each student. What was the average total spent per student by universities 30 years ago vs. the total cost spent per student today?

    For instance, I just looked up a local public university. It has a 2011-2012 total revenue budget of $277 million with a total enrollment of about 24,500 students. That works out to about $11,000 spent per student per year. Now, what is the inflation-adjusted amount spent per student per year 30 years ago? I guarantee it's lower than that, but I don't have the stats available.

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  30. In a world where Newt can successfully argue his character should not be in question, what hope is there?

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  31. Law Schol Applications for Fall 2012 Drop More Than 15%.

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/law_school_applications_for_fall_2012_drop_more_than_15_percent/

    Cooley is really going to have to start digging deeper into the LSAT 130 range.

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  32. "Cooley is really going to have to start digging deeper into the LSAT 130 range."

    Do we dare dream that this is their waterloo?

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  33. I don't think the "anchor" argument is borne out by the facts. 25 years ago Michigan, Berkeley, UVA and Texas law were, for residents, dirt cheap in comparison to elite private law schools with similar reputations. These schools are located in two huge states and two pretty big ones, meaning that they should have, if the anchoring theory is correct, been able to hold down tuition at comparable private schools, or in the alternative, recruit much better classes than such schools. That wasn't the case, and partially as a consequence elite public law schools (and some not so elite) have all essentially privatized their tuition structure over the last 15-20 years.

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  34. "The number of applicants at this time last year represented about 48 percent of the ultimate count."

    So they'll still be able to fill all their seats when it's over. I wish there was more segmentation of the data to determine whether the drop occurred among people with higher or lower numbers. My intuition says that better applicants are more likely to have other options besides law school and have the good judgment to stay away.

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  35. Does anyone here have any ideas on real-world actions we can perform to effectuate loan reform?

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  36. "So they'll still be able to fill all their seats when it's over."

    At some point, possibly soon, they won't. There's not that big a reserve of zombie retard law school applicants (140 LSAT and below) out there . . .

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  37. For the rise of college tuition in general I'm inclined to blame mostly the cutbacks in state funding and the rise in health care costs. For law schools, especially private law schools, they're probably just following that general trend because they can get away with it.

    http://www.nyu.edu/classes/jepsen/costreport.html
    That study, at least, says that there's no evidence that widely-available student loans are the cause of tuition increases.

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  38. LawProf,

    One data point that disproves your very reasonable (but ultimately possibly wrong) argument is foreign LLM students.

    We had plenty of them at NYU, I want to say 300-400 each year as BL1Y can confirm. However, as far as I know they were not getting US loans. The ones I spoke with were definitely not getting them. Rather, they were using their parent's life savings - literally the life savings of a family from a 2nd or 3rd world country - to pay for the education.

    Thus, if students from poor countries can scrounge enough money to fill seats then what makes you think that the same won't happen for US students?

    They could easily fill the loan gap by e.g. (a) getting their parents/aunt/grandparent et al. to cosign, (b) borrowing from the former, (c) the former taking out a mortgage . . .

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  39. P.S. They don't exist solely at NYU. While NYU "discovered" this revenue stream as is their style, other schools have hopped on board. I think even Brooklyn Law now has a foreign LLM program!

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  40. 9:40: Good point -- I suspect we're going to find out. A counterpoint is that students at non-accredited law schools (who aren't eligible to receive federal loans) pay much lower tuition than students at fourth-tier schools (who of course are). Naturally there are many confounders at play in all these comparisons.

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  41. Foreign LLMs really screw up graduation. Ugh, so many of them.

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  42. Didn't these schools go to the private model because of the withdrawal of support from state governments? That is what Michigan said. If so, how does that refute the "anchor" theory?

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  43. I went to a school with top LLMs as well. Most of it was paid by: (a) Scholarship to attend; (b) State programs back home sponsoring them in the U.S.; or (c) employers. The issue is larger than law school cost. The issue is the cost of the American educational system. Why does it cost so much compared to abroad where there is public financing? Charles above links how this works. It works through the process of seeing what every else is doing, and everyone else is overwhelmingly public institutions, rather than private.

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  44. The anchor theory is that Cornell can't charge five times more than public schools of comparable quality. The problem is that for a very long time Cornell was charging five times more than several public law schools of comparable quality.

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  45. @ 8:50 - if health care cost is so much cheaper and better than in the U.S., you should move to one of those places.

    Last time I checked, Japan has been in a 20 year recession, and the governments in Europe are poised to go bankrupt.

    As for Canada, I've been hearing stories of Canadians coming to the U.S. for medical treatment because the wait list is so long under their government-controlled health care system.

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  46. To be fair, the tuition subsidy allows the US to have what is - by far - the world's best education system. The level of research done by US higher education absolutely dwarfs that of any other country.

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  47. "As for Canada, I've been hearing stories of Canadians coming to the U.S. for medical treatment because the wait list is so long under their government-controlled health care system."

    Who is this Canadian exactly? I saw a movie where Americans are going to Cuba for medical treatment because they can't get it here.

    I can give you a citation. Your turn.

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  48. "I went to a school with top LLMs as well. Most of it was paid by: (a) Scholarship to attend; (b) State programs back home sponsoring them in the U.S.; or (c) employers."

    How do you know this, did you survey every LLM student? If we're going to criticize law schools for fudging data when it suits them, then can we at least not do that exact thing ourselves?

    I would venture that you did not even attend a school with foreign LLMs. What school are you talking about, so we can confirm your assertion?

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  49. he tuition subsidy allows the US to have what is - by far - the world's best education system. The level of research done by US higher education absolutely dwarfs that of any other country.

    research = quality?

    What about student outcomes?

    I guess education of students is a necessary evil for funding research.

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  50. If a public school the quality of Cornell were in NY, would it affect Cornell's prices?

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  51. "What about student outcomes?"

    American education graduates dominate the world, in every field. Sure, there are also plenty of bitter and angry losers who, rather tha admit something is wrong with them want to blame the school, but that doesn't take away the former's success.

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  52. $50K a year for Cornell? While Cornell law may not be comparable to a Yugo, it is not a Lambourgini. Cornell is more like a Subaru Impreza. In other words, not worth the cost.

    I have no dog in this fight so I won't comment further on the fact that the education bubble will be bursting very soon.

    As a pracitical tip, let me say this about Foreign LLMs. I once hired a foreign LLM. He was originally from Nigeria. I don't remember his unpronounceable name. At the office, I use to call him "Prince 419." Prince 419 lasted 3 weeks at my firm. His English was terrible and his writing was atrocious. He paid $50K for his LLM from an elite law school. Clearly, the LLM program is gravy for the law schools as they will take anyone in their program. Prince 419 was so ignorant that he tried filing an unemployment claim after working for me for 3 weeks. I also found out he submitted altered parking receipts for reimbursement. He even had the nerve to list me as a reference, which was not a smart move. Beware of foreign LLMs.

    1:13PM from 1/18

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  53. 8:57

    The point I am making is that the entire scam blog movement is missing the point. The point is not student loans. The debt is a symptom rather than the problem itself. The cure is solving the cost issue. Not the symptom that is caused by the underlying problem. The point is the need to restore public financing of education, and to restore seeing public education as a public good. Without that, all these solutions are beside the point if they are going to rely on market arguments and rationality. If you restore that financing, no one gets into the debt that they are getting into now under the present student loan financed system. People are trying to reach that issue through he student loan debate in a very round about way that's not directly on point. Its also one that promotes the idea of less education rather than education done smartly. The point is that the arguments here are very crude instruments to reach a very different outcome. Law Prof's goal is to reduce the cost of college education, and, rather than hitting that topic head on, he focuses on financing with the hope that it will have the outcome Law Prof wants. Why not just go for the issue that's really bothering everyone? The cost. Would any one be here discussing this if the tuition wasn't so high? If not, then the direct question is what caused the increase in tuition. Not how one financed that cost. Since the later, requires additional steps and assumptions to get at the cost.

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  54. A sincere series of questions for LP or anyone. In terms of how much a student could borrow, were things dramatically different in 1995? Did they only have access to Stafford Loans at the time? When did the Grad Plus loans emerge on the market? Finally, if I recall, even just 5 or 6 years ago, CU laws tuition was notably lower than it is today. I believe in 2005 one could attend the law school for about $10,000. Was the student loan market dramatically different even just 5 years ago? Thanks for the reply.

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  55. 9:53

    I am starting to realize the problem here is ignorance. Whereas Law Prof offers some good, if ultimately wrong arguments, some of you are not even trying.

    Japan is in a 20 year slump due to a speculation bubble coming out of the private sector. The same with Europe. Well, that and the response being a neo-Hooverite focus on austerity as a cure the problem without addressing the underlying banks that caused the problems in the first place.

    What has that got to do in your mind with public education or health care? The cost are cheaper. The outcomes are better. This is not subject to debate. You can easily look them up.

    The reasons, in other words, for the problems abroad is that they started to emulate the U.S. rather than because the public programs of education and health caused the problems you are trying to link without providing why you think they are so-linked.

    I mean- by your logic- this means the U.S. bubble as the conservatives like to argue here was caused by the government too rather than because of speculation. Warning: recent research directly implicates the reason for the bubble was speculators in the market trying to make a quick buck by flipping properties for profit.

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  56. A Foreign LLM from a top 14 school also washed out after 4 weeks. She would come in very late, leave early, go to the gym for two hours, and complained that we treated her differently because she was foreign. Also tried to shuffle what little work she was assigned in the first weeks to other associates and claim that her supervisor directed her to do so.

    Interestingly the head of the department is her nationality and gender.

    She "resigned."

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  57. I agree that the main goal needs to be to reduce the cost of higher education in general, and of law schools in particular. The point about subsidized loans is that they raise the cost of education. If you want to lower the cost, you have to try to LOWER THE COST. Increasing public *subsidies* for education at this point would by itself do nothing but RAISE the cost. I agree that it's important to subsidize education, but it has to be done in a way that doesn't exacerbate the existing problem. Telling law schools they can charge whatever they want and the government will loan that much to students to pay what law schools are charging is the worst possible subsidy imaginable. It's basically an invitation to law schools to steal.

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  58. Actually I've grown tired of neophyte discussions of global finance. There was a hilarious line about how "The game of Risk is a quest for global domination played by people who can't manage their own lives." I think that line should be changed to, "Global finance is a topic debated by people who can't manage their personal finances."

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  59. Whether or not a cheap public school would pull down the costs of private schools misses the point.

    The goal should be to create affordable options; it doesn't matter if you eliminate expensive ones.

    However, I wonder if the anchor goes the other way. Do expensive options encourage competitors to raise their price because they see that's what people are willing to pay? Price leadership and all that.

    Oh wait ...woah, if this is true, if schools do engage in price leadership, you know what that means?

    Some law schools are... Leaders of Society!

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  60. I agree with BL1Y, which is why Duncan Law School had a point in their argument with the ABA over accreditation.

    If there were "community college" law schools charging $3,000 tuition per year, then the Cooleys of the world would go out of business and their Deans and the retired judge brennan could no longer collect half a million dollar salaries at the taxpayer's expense.

    But the ABA won't accredit you if you charge only $3,000 per year tuition.

    The ABA is quite possibly the most incompetent (either unintentionally or "crazy like a fox" incompetent) organization ever.

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  61. It would be interesting to see more data on the finances of law schools. Do they actually have costs that would justify this sort of tuition increase? (including ridiculous expenses like expensive unnecessary buildings) Or is the extra money just going straight into endowment and administration salaries?

    For public universities in general, I know that salaries have mostly held steady and endowments are way down because of the recession/collapse. But is it different for law schools?

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  62. Sure, there are also plenty of bitter and angry losers who, rather tha admit something is wrong with them want to blame the school, but that doesn't take away the former's success.

    Make a wrong step and you're just an indebted corpse knocking against the side of the boat. That's a great way to run a civilization.

    Nothing to really discuss then. Everything is awesome.

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  63. The university of Tennessee is a lower cost option than Duncan.

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  64. "The university of Tennessee is a lower cost option than Duncan."

    There goes that theory. Why can't U of Tenn. increase enrollment?

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  65. "Make a wrong step and you're just an indebted corpse knocking against the side of the boat."

    I have been reading your comments Mr. Malloy, which often attempt to be dramatic or poignant, and I must say you are an incredibly untalented and frankly creepy writer. Thank whatever law school flunked you out because, at the end, merit matters. Please accept that you weren't good enough and society can't function if "not good enough" is given a job.

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  66. LawProf: I think it would be helpful if we could compare the rise in tuition to changes in the budgets of law schools. You've documented that we pay dramaticly more in 2011 dollars for the same educations. Where did all that money go? Is it in the form of legions of administrators or shiny new buildings? A comparison of where law schools spent their money today as opposed to 1980 would be useful.

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  67. "If there were "community college" law schools charging $3,000 tuition per year, then the Cooleys of the world would go out of business and their Deans and the retired judge brennan could no longer collect half a million dollar salaries at the taxpayer's expense."

    I'm not sure this is the case. There has been a huge public backlash against public universities, colleges, and community colleges over the past 30 years. The rise of for-profit education and the existence of 40K/year LACs colleges is a prime example of how the public education system is losing the culture battle (I'm assuming people take advantage of free tuition programs at state unis). Also take the example of CUNY vs. NYLS I gave above. Why do people continue to pay Harvard prices for NYLS when cheaper CUNY offers the same job prospects?

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  68. Shiny new buildings is a part of it. For example Fordham Law School, which already has a beautiful building OPPOSITE LINCOLN CENTER, felt it wasn't good enough and they've spent a fortune building an even more beautiful building.

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  69. *dramatically, sorry

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  70. 10:30: That's a good question, which I'll try to break down in a post.

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  71. 10:30 here, I'm primarily interested in public schools. I could care less about the elite private schools because, as mentioned above, they are Veblen goods. The less prestigious privates might also fall into that category, but would anyone still go to George Washington, Emory, or Fordham if good public schools with similar admissions profiles were much less expensive(somewhat of a diversion from my original question on law school budget changes)?

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  72. When you break down the budget, will it be based on real budget numbers from a school with which you are familiar?

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  73. Just a thought - can any of you folks do one of these tasks you assign to lawprof, and email him the results? It's incredible that a group of supposedly unemployed people with plenty of time and internet access feel they are LawProf's supervisor, and that they assign him tasks and give him followup instructions.

    How much of your problems are due simply to the fact that you're lazy?

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  74. 10:37: People still attend NYLS and Touro despite the low-cost alternative of CUNY.

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  75. 10:44: Possibly, or in the alternative I'll just do what law schools do and make up whatever numbers suit my interests.

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  76. Well. If you are referring to my post at 10:44, I was following up on his statement that he was going to do a breakdown of law school budgets. It would seem that on this topic a person who is in the academy would have more useful information, or access to it, than a graduate or one who just has an interest in the subject. I suppose Law Prof will speak for himself and tell us if this is too much for him.

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  77. Thanks 10:30, I am actually going for "creepy."

    And for "not good enough," I seem to get paid very well.

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  78. @LawProf--I guess we have the answer.

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  79. Perhaps off-topic, but what is on-topic 70 comments deep around here? I spoke with one of the guys I graduated law school in May on the telephone this morning. Applying to anything and everything all this past fall, no law job. Now looking to his undergrad & pre-law school career of engineering for some kind of stability moving forward in life. Four interviews since Jan 1. Brutal.

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  80. Crux, what school or level of school and where was he in the class more or less?

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  81. By the way, it was a serious question. You have diiscussed the rise in tuition at Colorado. It would be interesting to have a school-specific analysis of budget allocations--changes in them-- during the time of the increase. Is that wrong?

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  82. Bored 3L: 10:30 here again, my thinking is that we should compare high-cost private schools to "low-cost" public schools with the same admissions profile. I don't know what the numbers are for CUNY, Touro, and NYLS, but I'm not really interested in expensive TTTs that people attend because they can't get into cheaper, more selective schools. This is completely separate from my inquiry into historical changes in law schools budgets, why would people go to an expensive private school like Emory (USNWR #30-$43,392) as opposed to U of GA (#35-$15,760), both of which are in Atlanta? Is it just social signaling and is there a price point where the social signaling is not worth it compared to a similar, cheaper school? Again, this excludes HYS as they are true Veblen goods.

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  83. 11:35: I think it will be more useful to discuss general trends than to analyze the precise budgetary situation at a particular school, which is always going to be somewhat idiosyncratic (although of course the details of a specific situation can throw light on the overall trends).

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  84. Law Prof:

    I am the guy making such a big issue out of cost containment.

    I am not suggesting that reform of the student loan system isn't a good idea. In fact, I would subject both public and private loans to bankruptcy with an extremely favorable standards for students; push for a pay as you go IBR program, where each year you pay in reduces your principle as being paid off by the percentage of the years one must be in the program and would eliminate any potential negative tax consequences; etc.

    However, I think its also crucial that such reform not buy into the notion that there is something wrong with education per se. Education should not be seen as a commodity. Its a public good. It should be cheap. That's the core argument. Its a public good because education benefits society. Individuals should not be burdened with a huge amount of debt because of the public good of an educated population.

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  85. @ Lawprof JANUARY 20, 2012 11:33 AM: Fourth tier, accredited law school. He was, I believe, around the second quarter in class rank. May have been top third, but I'm not exactly sure of the number other than not top-ten and not bottom-half. Nearly 10 years engineering experience, UG degree from well known school in field.

    He told me today, "You know, in another year or two once I get back on my feet, I'll look back and laugh at this. But I had a few dark moments in December when the loans came due..."

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  86. Nice reply format Crux. You're an HTML master.

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  87. And a note to the many anonymous commentators - I realize many of you do not wish to attach your name to these conversations or go through the effort to create an alias by generating a throw-away email account. But, you may retain your anonymity while still fostering a more coherent conversation if close your comments with a signature name or some kind of alias. Thanks.

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  88. Thanks for the info Crux. And I too don't understand why people won't pick a pseudonym and stick to it.

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  89. I understand your point. But a lot has been written already about general trends in higher education, particularly on the subject of rising costs. I would bet many of your readers could hit upon and describe some of those trends without much effort. What would be more illuminating, and unique, would be to have an in depth (within reason) look at how the cost structure of one particular place evolved over time. I mentioned Colorado because you teach there now. I know nothing about you but what you have said on this blog. I think I remember you saying that you have taught other places. Perhaps one of the other schools might provide a useful answer. I think your last point is right, idiosyncrasies of one institution can shed a light on wider phenomena.

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  90. 11:40: Well, NYLS and Touro are both high-cost private schools at about 40k/year, and CUNY, at about 12/k per year, is a low-cost public school. So you have three schools, all with equally crappy job prospects and equal admissions profiles, but two with much higher tuition. This comparison is valuable because all three schools are feeding into the same market (NYC region) and the students who attend these three schools generally hope to work there.

    The problem with Emory vs GA state is that people will justify attending Emory because of perceived national placement. If one wants to practice NYC biglaw, Emory at sticker will give you a higher chance than GA state although both are pretty bad choices if you are NYC biglaw or bust. If you just want to practice in Georgia, it would be stupid to attend Emory over GA (with scholly) or GA State. Given what I know about Emory's student body (admittedly could use input from Emory students), most of those students want to practice outside of Emory and attend on the assumption that the degree is portable to the rest of the south or beyond. Students attending NYLS or Touro might believe the high-cost of the school is justified by better placement in the NY Metro area.

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  91. Good point about the comparison b/c NYLS, Touro and CUNY.

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  92. 3L: 10:30 again, thanks, I had not considered the perceived "portability" aspect of the private schools. The question then becomes, why would students or parents believe this to be true. Do private schools outside the elite institutions (wherever you draw the line at "elite"), really have that much more cache than a similarly situated public institution? Since Crux has made a very good point about anonymously posing, I'll start signing off as Templar.

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  93. Templar: Some reasons off the top of my head:

    -Greater lay prestige likely to trickle up to hiring
    -Better alumni network (part of the assault on public education has been the idea that private schools have a more cohesive alumni network)
    -More prestige among peers (a very short term outlook, but let's not pretend short-term, cocktail party prestige is not important for students or their families)
    -Wealthier upper-middle class/rich classmates
    -At the UG level, lower teacher/student ratio and smaller overall class sizes

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  94. I am the guy who started all of this discussion about cost containment versus student loans. You can call me BruhRabbit.

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  95. Uhh it's Brer' Rabbit. Anyway, Emory says a little over 30% of its grads practice out of Georgia--18% in the Northeast. I know that Emory undergrad attracts a good number of students from NY,more than people might think.

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  96. 3L: excellent observations. Thanks for letting me pick your brain.
    Templar

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  97. It can be Bruh Rabbit as well. Look it up.

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  98. Or even Brother Rabbit...

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  99. Brer or Bruh - Oh Brother!: The Effects of Shifting Language and Popular Culture on African American Heritage.

    18 Mich. J. Race and Law 68

    Look it up.

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  100. My sense is that there are a variety of factors that have driven the cost upward. Law Prof mentions two in his post: subsidized loans and the fact that law school education may be a Veblen good.

    Allow me to add a third: the absurd US news rankings system. Law schools pretend that they do not pay attention to the rankings, but the rankings have influenced how virtually every law school manages itself. Without raising tuition, it is very difficult to increase expenditures per student or decrease faculty to student ratio (two important factors in the rankings). Incoming student numbers are also affected because the more tuition you charge, the more scholarships you can give to students with high LSATs and GPAs.

    Schools that have held the line against tuition increases deserve credit because in so doing they are making a conscious decision that rising in the rankings is not as important as providing a quasi-affordable education.

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  101. GREAT NEWS EVERYONE!

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/law_school_applications_for_fall_2012_drop_more_than_15_percent/

    “The caveat is that we are very early in the cycle,” [LSAC spokesperson] Margolis says. “So these numbers change considerably.” The number of applicants at this time last year represented about 48 percent of the ultimate count.

    There are now 31,000 applicants. If that represents half, then we're looking at 62,000ish for this fall. That's APPLICANTS, not students. Fewer than 62,000 will choose to actually enroll.

    The implications here are stunning. As I recall, there are around 55,000 seats in each 1L class. That means that if more than 7,000 applicants choose not to attend, there will be empty seats this fall! If those empty seats fall disproportionately to TTTT's (lookin' at you Stooley), we may soon see some schools close!

    I had previously thought we were five to ten years from this point, but happily, it appears I was wrong.

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  102. LawProf, since Emory has been mentioned in the comments, what do you think of Professor Sara "Get over it" Stadler? Here is someone who grew up in a connected family (wasn't her daddy a State Attorney General or General Solicitor?), probably didn't have to incur any kind of student loan debt, is esconsed in academia, making a comfortable salary on the backs of lemmings and then tells the graduating class to get over it and go to Cornhusker country and set up a solo shop? Is she an anomaly or the typical law professor who is indiffernt to the plight of law students?

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  103. Michigan in the house!

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  104. 1:46,

    I graduated from Nebraska. I hope no one followed Sara's advice and actually moved to Lincoln/Omaha/Kearney/Grand Island because let me assure you, there are no jobs there for Emory grads. At graduation, only about 1/3 of my class had jobs.

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  105. I used to think Emory Law was a good school until the graduating class elected Sara Stadler as their graduation speaker. Either that class contained a majority of idiots or the class suffered from classic Stockholm syndrome.

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  106. Exciting news GORP!

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  107. Didn't these schools go to the private model because of the withdrawal of support from state governments? That is what Michigan said. If so, how does that refute the "anchor" theory?

    JANUARY 20, 2012 9:45 AM

    When I attended Michigan law in mid 70s they complained - bragged? - even then that they received no state aid (this claim was commonly set forth in law school fundraising materials). I had and have no means to see if that claim was true, but given that MichLaw had a nice endowment it made sense. Of course it also ignored indirect aid such as by way of tax exempt status. But the point is my belief that state funding reductions in Michigan probably had little or no effect upon MichLaw, save possible internal money grabs by the Univ at large in assessing the law school for central services, etc. Tuition increases, and reductions in the differential between in state and out state, occurred based on what the market would bear, not based upon state funding reductions.
    Boomer Here

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  108. Here is my thought experiment: if US guaranteed student loans where completely ended what would happen to law schools and law school tuition?

    If federal loans were ended, maybe half of all law schools would close and (except for the super elite schools) the tuition would fall drastically at the surviving schools. If students and their families had to pay cash, only a small fraction of potential students would attend law school and law school attendance would fall dramatically. It really should be completely obvious that only government loans enable the extremely high tuition rates.

    Many law students may be very naïve, foolish et cetera but that never excuses the law schools from taking advantage of their “stupidity”. I agree that most employees at law schools actively ignore the damage that they are doing to many students. From the deans to the staff, their financial interest points them to rationalization and denial.

    The loan process itself is part of the problem. At least at the undergrad level, with my kids, the loans are sold as “financial aid” as if it was somehow like a grant. Borrowing money in general to too easy psychologically and has an unreal aspect to it. My dad used to say that “it is easy to borrow money but hard to pay it back”.

    It is preposterous to think that providing public money to public law schools would do anything other than increase employee pay and provide fancy new buildings.

    I doubt if the Veblen effect is much of a factor in law school tuition prices. There is already a well established ranking system of law schools that is generally accepted by the law business and students. Harvard is number 1 regardless of how much it charges. The Veblen effect comes into play for purchases where the buyer has very little information about the quality/rankings of a product or service and therefore a higher price implies a higher quality.

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  109. MisterB, That's an incredibly ambitious goal. How do you expect to achieve it by doing nothing but commenting? Make your next step some real world act designed to bring about and end to federal student loans.

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  110. But I took the person supporting public funding to be arguing that public institutions should be real public institutions with the state providing the money and, consequently, having the capacity to hold down tuition and influence operations otherwise.

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  111. Crux at 11:56 and LawProf at 11:58 - Maybe they're just trying to stay ahead of their creditors. As to the request that you undertake an in depth look at how cost structure over time. Colorado is suggested. Bad idea. You're in enough trouble as it is. William Ockham

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  112. 1:44,

    Re: US News Ranking. I sometimes wonder whether Morse and his crew should just drop the employment percentage in their ranking and replace it with tuition (lower tuition = higher rank).

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  113. Hey Anonymous: did I say ending student loans was my goal?

    I think that freezing the level of student loans would be a possibility. Once you have a system in place such as the student loan programs you can’t just end it all at once.

    What are you doing to change matters?

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  114. 2:34

    "But I took the person supporting public funding to be arguing that public institutions should be real public institutions with the state providing the money and, consequently, having the capacity to hold down tuition and influence operations otherwise."

    That's exactly what I am saying. That public institutions should be real public institutions rather than profit centers, or businesses, as they have come to be seen by those who run them, and an idea which has slowly seeped into the public mind since the cuts started back in the 1980s.

    We don't even realize how much our perception of education has changed. The reason why education once was so cheap in America for students was that it was seen as a public good rather than a commodity being purchased by consumers.

    Despite the belief in markets as all powerful, the reality is that the fact that governments abroad still treat education as a public good also has the added impact of making it cheaper than the market based approach. Not everything is given towards a market based approach. Things like education, health care, etc. seem to be better suited for a public approach.

    Yet, this discussion is not only not on the table, it is barely understood or on anyone's mind. It is very clear from comparative economics it should be. It is also more directly related to the goals of ending debt.

    Best regards,

    Bruh Rabbit

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  115. Follow up

    The comments discussing ending public loans without curtailing private loans are nonsensical.

    If you don't end private loans, you are encouraging a system that is tantamount to legalized loan sharking.

    Under any stretch of the imagination, public loans are far preferable to private. If you going to discuss dealing with one, without the other, you aren't serious.

    It is precisely these comments that strangely (or not so strange if you are conservative) argues for ending public loans or capping them without addressing private loans.

    The only time I hear mention of the private loans is when someone like me makes a big deal about them, and bankruptcy reform is discussed as an after thought.

    Best regards,

    Bruh Rabbit

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  116. 2:34 Even though I prefer Bre'er over Bruh, we are in complete agreement about the need for public institutions to play the role they are supposed to play. We see abdication on that front all throughout our society. It is tragic.

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  117. Education is not always a public good. My friends with no education are better off than me, 1000 times better off than me. There is no reason for the state to finance education, except for extraordinary people.

    Otherwise, the market can regulate things quite well. In a free market, no one, absolutely no one would lend a poor kid 200k to go to Touro because they would know said kid would probably not be able to pay off the loan. Touro would have to offer a much cheaper program to offset this, which would make things better for everyone except the professors and administrators at Touro.

    The state has no business making value judgments as to what constitutes “good” in this context. Why is learning useless liberal arts material superior to learning a trade? My friend became a plumber after he dropped out in the 10th grade. He is doing just fine. I am fucked for going to school, and I am debt free.

    Yet, by governing the discussion at a centralized level, “good” will defined to suit the interests of those who have the ability to define the term. The market is better suited to take into account the different situations that different individuals present. The state will finance one set of skills, even though those skills might be outdates, while foregoing newer skills that are in demand because those doing the defining of “good” have an interest in doing so.

    The market fails, sometimes, at information asymmetry, but the present system exacerbates that problem, and the system you propose does nothing to remedy it, and presents a whole host of new problems.

    We are going to subsidize education for whom? What is the standardized test cut-off, if any? What are you going to teach? How will you know what is in demand in a given period? We are going to train lawyers when plumbers are in demand? If you subsidize it, how does the subsidy eliminate the fact that many people who will not obtain value from the effort of obtaining a degree will still pursue it? Why should this be permitted

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  118. I think the main issue skipped here is that LawProf drove a Honda Accord?!?!? How...very...practical. Not at all what I suspected for a legal academic living off the hog of a subsidized salary ;)

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  119. Pink Caddy: That detail jumped out at me as well.

    I mean, LP is tenured, has been for a while, right? Colorado doesn't have a huge cost of living, and the average salary for a full prof is roundabout $140-150k.

    He's not pulling in Dean bucks, but he's had several books published. Maybe he just likes the Accord?

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  120. Completely agree with 2:28 on Veblen pricing. Not much match here really. Also, to Bruh Rabbit - obviously social change is necessary but we're talking about practicalities here and that kind of appeal to social change and the thinking of ordinary americans, well, thats all good and hopefully it happens but Im not waiting around for the revolution to start. We need practical changes starting yesterday. Loan reform solves so many ills from the get go.

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  121. IIRC, the Accords started looking cool beginning in 1994.

    I think Honda/Acura had their best years in the 90's. They need to bring the NSX back.

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  122. re: Veblen good, as more HYS grads leave with $200,000K in debt with no job prospects, it will be a matter of time before we see the "Inside the HYS Scam" blog.

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  123. To understand the effect of no credit standards (money for everyone!) and no limit on the amount of the loan (all the money you want!) on law school prices (tuition) see the subprime decade. Between the late 90's and 2007 the average real price of homes nearly doubled. Same with the number of new houses produced. Then when the spigot turned off prices crashed 30% to 50%. In the areas where the subprime mortgages were most particularly focused, the lower end of the market, the rise was greater and the crash more profound. And this like, student loans and tuition, was almost entirely a product of government insured loans. The core of this policy served a worthy policy, allowing low and middle income Americans to to move up from renting to owning their own homes. But this policy failed by its own standard. The low interest rates and minimal qualification standards reduced the cost of servicing a loan up to 30%. But the increased demand for houses caused by the availability of subprimes quickly doubled the price of houses and size of the loans that financed them. A 30% decrease in loan costs, offset with a 100% increase in prices meant the that the price of owning a houses for lower and moderate income people went up 70%. The overall rate of home ownership, which had gone from 63%-64% up to 68%, reversed. This all happened before the general economic crash. And then all the other horrors of the subprime era came on line. How is this different from the government loan/law school tuition crisis? People racked with debt forever, their lives ruined. Empty housing tracts and swarmes of unemployed and unemployable lawyers. For both of which there may never be a market. On a related subject I heard a interesting ditty. Referencing the Wall Street practice of mixing conventional mortgages and subprime mortgages, putting them in one pool, creating a security and selling it as bond, the following question was asked. What do you get when you mix three quarts of spring water with one quart of sewage? Four quarts of sewage. William Ockham

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  124. LawProf - you clearly need to answer the Honda Accord conundrum.

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  125. My law school has the J.D. bulletin's from the 1940's to the present online. The size of the full-time faculty has doubled in the last 30 years (while the size of the student body is about the same.)

    Prior to the mid-60's most of the faculty were part time' modernly is there an ABA standard prohibiting the majority of faculty posts being part time?

    s/ Cotton

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  126. "it will be a matter of time before we see the "Inside the HYS Scam" blog."

    Yeah that's likely. Schools with an effective 0.01% acceptance rate being called a scam. (0.01% if you include all the people who want to go there but don't even bother applying because they have no chance)

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  127. Does anyone else find it a telling detail that Mr. LawProf chose the humble Honda Accord when others in his position undoubtedly went for the European import variety of candy? I'm pretty sure I could have backwards engineered whom among my former professors was a caring, competent mentor, and whom was a condescending, arrogant jackass by their choice in automobile alone.

    And, @ BL1Y JANUARY 20, 2012 3:57 PM: If he was living in Boulder, I would think the standard of living was, well, insane even back in 1995. It's like Manhattan or San Francisco in that little insular pocket of real estate. But, still, somehow I think the salary would have made the view at least tolerable (/snark).

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  128. Well, since you and I have corresponded on this (people complaining can call me MacK) - professor, that is the issue I have been raising against the complainer about withdrawal of the public subsidy. The student loan system has enabled the rocketing of college and graduate school tuition. Without it, schools would have been compelled to limit tuition increases to the rate of inflation as early as the 1980s.

    The more disturbing aspect (yes flame me as MacK) is that the profit motive that student loans effectively represent has caused law schools to admit people manifestly unsuitable to the practice of law - and by the way I am not saying "poor." Rather what I am saying is that after 20+ years of practice I have concluded that you should want to practice law - not enter a nice middle class sinecure - to be allowed to be a lawyer. Too many peopler were admitted to law school who should not become lawyers - and many have stellar grades and sky high LSATs - but they should never be lawyers. The profession is being ruined by them - and I say this as someone whose billing "rack rate" is over $800 per hour. And yes, we hire, but only people whose credentials meet our requirements - and that is not HLS (actually we probably would see HLS, Yale etc. as a strike against. Bets associate I ever had was from Catholic University of America - before it climbed the rankings - worst was Chicago - when it was at the peak.

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  129. Mack again - just a second. A law-school semester is 13-14 weeks. A decent course is 2 hours of class. Based on my teaching that means 28 hours in class + 70 hours of prep, grading etc. At my hourly rate that is over $75k worth of my time. And these dipsh!ts expect me to subsidize their cushy earnings with $70k of uncompensated time ( except for $5-10k) which I could sell ... I mean this comes out of personal time if I do it ....

    And they will sneer at me for not being an academic lawyer - but rather someone with a queue of clients willing to pay my astonishing rate (reasonable in light of what I save/make for the client.) They can perform a physiological absurdity with themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Professor Campos:

    Barring any unlikely changes, I am about to be plastered all over television with one million TV viewers in the audience.

    Pretty Damn soon.

    I have a prominent link/ recommendation to visit your blog in my blog list,

    and I hope you are OK with that.

    If not, e-mail and let me know.

    Love the Honda analogy. They are great cars!

    If I had the money I would be driving one!

    ReplyDelete
  131. what do u mean jdpg?

    ReplyDelete
  132. Does anyone else think there may be some responsibility here to make sure jdpg is going to be okay?

    ReplyDelete
  133. I've read most of Esquire Painting, and to quote Marcellus Wallace, he's pretty fucking far from okay.

    Besides, maybe he just means disrupt a GOP debate with a love letter to Anne Coulter or something. Who says I'm not optimistic?

    ReplyDelete
  134. Does someone here know him IRL? Nando? Please check up on him.

    ReplyDelete
  135. I think he's going to try to kill himself on television. Or do something like that.

    ReplyDelete
  136. 9:53 said "To be fair, the tuition subsidy allows the U.S. to have what is - being fair - the worlds best education system. The research done by U.S. education dwarfs that of any other country." All true. But what does the production of 25,000 unemployed and unemployable attorneys each year have to do with finding a cure for cancer, a vaccine for AIDS, parsing the genome or locating the higgs boson particle? William Ockham.

    ReplyDelete
  137. WO, Did you notice the six previous messages?

    ReplyDelete
  138. A follow up on the above. More specifically, if the average student loan of our umemployed graduates is $100,000 that's $2.5 billion into the black hole never to return. $3.5 billion if you calculate that those 25,000 graduates spent $150,000 each for three years of law school. Of opportunity costs I wiil not speak. For perspective, the National Cancer Institute's budget last year was $5 billion. As my calculator is still out, there's this. A 140 LSAT, probably the lowest score that gets anyone into law school, converts to a 115 I.Q. So all of those 25,000 unemployed attorneys are more than a standard deviation above the mean intelligence. The core of our productive population. Unemployed as attorneys and toxic to non-legal employment they are lost to the intelligent workforce. William Ockham.

    ReplyDelete
  139. 1:25 - Yes and I'm hoping that they don't mean what I'm almost sure that they do mean. W.O.

    ReplyDelete
  140. Did anybody manage to touch base with JDP? I haven't been on line for the last 12 hours and just saw this.

    ReplyDelete
  141. I tried to touch base with his school to see if they had any contact. This does not sound good at all.

    ReplyDelete
  142. JDPG,

    Just in case you are actually thinking of the worst, please consider the following.

    First, please talk to someone. There are crisis lines and centers you can call. There are people who care and will listen.

    Second, you will not get media attention. Journalists have a policy of not covering suicides, especially those done for political purposes. The reasons are obvious- they don't want to encourage the behavior. Killing yourself will not advance the cause. We need you to stay with us and fight with us. You are no good to us if you are gone.

    Third, you're going to hurt a lot of people. I have been following the scam blog movement long enough to know there are many that care about you.

    If you are still thinking you are going to do it, please just promise that you'll wait a couple of days and really think it over and that, most importantly, you'll talk with someone about it.

    Praying for you friend.

    ReplyDelete
  143. I've touched base with JDP and everything is good (or as good as can be under the circumstances).

    ReplyDelete
  144. That is good to hear.

    ReplyDelete
  145. Thank you for following up with him LawProf.

    ReplyDelete
  146. Jeez, is there no free professional help that JD painter guy can get? I wish I knew how to help him. It scares me that he seems to be planning something. Making a plan is a definite step towards actually doing the act. On his blog he has a clip where he plays music after saying you may have seen me on TV. I thought he meant he was being interviewed.

    Maybe a better way for JDPG to go is to try to file for bankruptcy, based on his inability to repay. When he gets denied from relief, then he could go forward with his story. I think people are right that TV will not pick up his story if he kills himself.

    ReplyDelete
  147. Now that we know JDPG isn't trying to off himself on live TV, can we get him to have the first thing people see going to his blog not be a link to TTR?

    ReplyDelete
  148. "I wish I knew how to help him"

    You know exactly how to help him. Send him some money you cheap asshole.

    ReplyDelete
  149. I'm glad to know he's okay as of now. But my gut tells me that he's in trouble. He could make a video of his suicide, and it would probably go viral. No anti-suicide policies on the web I know about. Money in and of itself most likely won't cure his emotional problems, but it's a great way to show people care. How could we set up a way for people to send him even $5? It would be money and a gift.

    ReplyDelete
  150. JDPG, set up a paypal account.

    ReplyDelete
  151. Duh. I should have thought of that. That's a great idea. But it might not work if we expect him to set it up. Can someone who is in touch with him set it up?

    ReplyDelete
  152. What is he retarded? he has a hugely complex blog going he can set up a paypal account.

    ReplyDelete
  153. 10:36 and 10:34 on today's blog: You don't know how suicide works, which is amazing in this day and age. It could be that the blog started out as a blog and now is a suicide note. You don't tend to set up a Paypal account through a suicide note. And, yes, a person thinking of committing suicide can appear to be inappropriately seeking attention. As for being burdened, how more burdensome do you imagine it would be if you had even the slimmest connection to someone in your similar situation did kill himself? If you don't think that would affect you, you might be surprised, and if it truly wouldn't affect you then are you would tend to resemble the cruelly out-of-touch law industry this blog is against.

    ReplyDelete
  154. Should read: "If you don't think that would affect you, you might be surprised, and if it truly wouldn't affect you then you tend to resemble the cruelly out-of-touch law industry this blog is against."

    ReplyDelete
  155. "Can someone who is in touch with him set it up?"

    Faux sincerity "i care" asshole who keeps pretending to be unable to help, YOU CAN contact him and set it up.

    3 . . . 2 . . . 1 until next "I'm better than you because I care, but alas there's nothing I can do, sigh." post from 10:44.

    ReplyDelete
  156. If the many people who are closer to him refuse to do this, yes, I would contact him to set it up. I will try Nando first. Thanks for your dope slap.

    ReplyDelete
  157. " I will try Nando first. "

    Anything to avoid him eh? What a douche.

    ReplyDelete
  158. I'm the person who said I wish I knew how to help him. I meant that in the context of my previous sentence that asked about free mental health services for him. My post was at 7:03.

    I would gladly donate a few dollars to help him out. I think he needs counseling and way more support than I can give but if some money will help, I will donate.

    I wonder if it would help anything if a bunch of people called Touro and brought their attention to this issue. Maybe put some pressure on them? I would call.

    ReplyDelete
  159. To reiterate: I've been in touch with JDP and the assumption that his message in this thread was some sort of veiled suicide threat or otherwise disturbing is wrong. He's talking about something else entirely.

    ReplyDelete
  160. This is 10:58 -- I'm in. I'll call the Dean's office and the provost of the university, if there is one. Monday morning. And when a Paypal account is set up, I'll put in my $5. And, I send my best wishes to anyone else who's got suicide even slightly edging into their thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  161. Dear LawProf -- Good to hear. We'll see what Nando says.

    ReplyDelete
  162. This is 10:58 -- I'm in. I'll call the Dean's office and the provost of the university, if there is one. Monday morning. And when a Paypal account is set up, I'll put in my $5. And, I send my best wishes to anyone else who's got suicide even slightly edging into their thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  163. "To reiterate: I've been in touch with JDP and the assumption that his message in this thread was some sort of veiled suicide threat or otherwise disturbing is wrong. He's talking about something else entirely."

    Once again law students can't distinguish between imagination and reality.

    ReplyDelete
  164. Law Prof was cconcerned about him,too.

    ReplyDelete
  165. JDpainterguy -- Glad to know you're okay.

    ReplyDelete
  166. more law school scam drama

    ReplyDelete
  167. 10:29 -- Maybe it was hollow drama without substance and maybe it wasn't. I'm happy to know he says he okay. That means more to me than hanging back and assuming that all of this was just for show.

    ReplyDelete
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