A dean of a top 20 law school is actively promoting Income-based Repayment as an option that makes law school "affordable" for prospective students:
According to Berman, most of his students who take out loans now borrow solely from the federal government rather than from private lenders, which means that they will be able to take advantage of IBR and will therefore face less financial stress and have greater purchasing power than their predecessors did just a few years ago. “Loans for new students are much more favorable than ever before,” says Berman. “The government has responded to the debt crisis by providing much-needed assistance.”25 (soon to be 20 . . . operators are standing by) years of debt servitude courtesy of unwitting taxpayers are characterized as "much more favorable" terms than ever before. But wait, there's more:
Berman predicts that within the next 5 years or so student loans will be almost entirely federal loans with income-based repayment plans. The national aggregate student loan debt (the $1 trillion we mentioned earlier) is very intimidating, but for most borrowers, the most important issue is not the total debt figure, but the monthly repayment amount. If repayments are lowered based on income, then this will allow young adults to spend and save more of their present earnings rather than being forced to take on high credit card debt, which has been the current trend for many young adults. In speaking about the near future, Berman says, “I think you will see fewer things like bankruptcy and troubling credit card debt because the student loan payments will be capped.”Who says the system doesn't work any more?
The article does note that carrying a lot of debt that isn't being paid down does have bad consequences for mortgage eligibility and the like, but adds "income-based repayment plans wont send you into bankruptcy, and this is a real positive." Of course except in rare instances student loans aren't dischargeable in bankruptcy, which Dean Berman could have made clear to the interviewer, assuming the dean is aware of this fact (something the earlier quote about fewer bankruptcies brings into question).
Berman then says something truly strange:
“The aggregate student loan debt will remain high for a while, but we will start to see improvement thanks to these repayment plans in a couple years.” This is great news for students across the country, especially those looking to go on to professional school. Berman estimates that his students graduate with about $110,000 – $120,000 of student loan debt, [actually $127,360 for the class of 2011; note this is only law school debt] compared to the around $25,000 national average for undergraduates.How in the world is IBR going to, of all things, reduce aggregate student loan debt? People graduating with $150,000 in high interest educational debt (a conservative estimate of what GW's current law students will incur) are going to have to get and keep six-figure salary jobs if their debt loads under IBR are going to do anything but grow. (Around 20% of GW's class of 2011 got such jobs).
Berman goes on to claim that increased awareness about the availability of IBR may help reverse the decline in law school applicants, and then pats himself on the back for raising tuition "less than four percent" (actually 3.98%) this year. This puts GW's estimated cost of attendance at sticker for this year at $77,000, which projects out to about $270,000 if fully debt-financed under the government's great new loan terms, which as Berman points out include the bonus feature of not having to actually pay the money back. That's a relief, since only a small minority of GW grads would be able to do so. (Interestingly GW's financial aid page is now featuring IBR as the first option potential admits may wish to consider for paying back their debt).
Now some people might think that requiring the government to pay your students' educational debts for them indicates that you're actually charging far more for what you're selling than it's actually worth. I'm not sure what the standard legal academic administrative response to this objection is going to be (I suggest "oldthinkers unbellyfeel lawschool"), but I'm sure they're coming up with a good one.
Update: 201 members of the 3L and 2L classes at George Washington last year were transfer students. The school admitted 97 transfers in 2010 and 104 in 2011. Caveat emptor.
Well, people can always do what I did and simply not go to college if they can't afford it. After all, I turned out just fine ... ;) lol.ReplyDelete
What the Dean also fails to realize is that "Congress giveth, and Congress taketh away."ReplyDelete
I don't think the chances are high that IBR will continue to exist for the next 20 years.
A few decades ago a year of law school could be paid by one month of the median household income (Harvard) or summer work plus a part-time job, and despite all the innovations in technology GW charges $77K/year, which is 30K more than the median American household income.ReplyDelete
IBR should only be used by a small minority of students whose first job doesn't pay enough but whose income is expdected to grow.
What the good dean is pushing is horrible policy for the taxpxayers, the students, but incidentally is good insofar as it allows law schools to rake in millions of taxpayer-backed student loans every year.
Sooner rather than later the US government is going to get serious about lowering spending, and how on earth the economy is going to be in the future when hundreds of thousands of educated young people are saddled with high student loans and relatively poor job prospects.
Whether it is a Democratic President outflanking the GOP or the GOP itself, cynical and abusive feeders at the taxpayer trough are going to be cut off.
The good Dean should be planning for that contingency.
This is appalling. He sounds like the folks aggressively selling subprime mortgages to poor people, knowing the low introductory rates would dupe them into taking on the debt in the first place. Only law students won't have anything for the banks to foreclose on (and of course, can't discharge the debt in bankruptcy).ReplyDelete
There's a simple solution to this: charge law schools back for the numbers of students who end up in IBR (or in default), in much the same way employers see their unemployment insurance rates go up when their former employees collect UI. For every x number of grads in IBR for more than 1-2 years, the law school will see % reduction in their federal funding.
"I don't think the chances are high that IBR will continue to exist for the next 20 years."ReplyDelete
Especially not if the Rethuglicans own both houses of Congress.
"this way to the egress!"ReplyDelete
How does IBR work for the unemployed? This is a serious question.ReplyDelete
And I found a related article: "What Are the Problems of Law School Tuition?"
I love how these Deans like to talk about the nation's problems like it is some sort of hypo, instead of a real problem.
1) IBR as a preferred policy, rather than a last ditch alternative used by a few law school students per class is a rape of the American taxpayer.ReplyDelete
2) The ABA is deliberately useless. The Federal Government should calculate what percentage of each law school graduating class goes directly onto IBR. They should then cut all federal funding from say, the 25 worst offending law schools. The law school JD glut would be much reduced.
When you're unemployed your payments under IBR go to zero.ReplyDelete
If you incur ~$150,000 in debt and fail to get a six figure job, then IBR will let you maintain a subsistence level income for 25 years. On the 25 year expiration date, the balance is forgiven as taxable income, leaving you with a lovely tax-bomb courtesy of fedgov.ReplyDelete
IBR is not designed for these large amounts of loans. IBR was not planned for the level of debt that law students graduate with.ReplyDelete
What makes me mad is that this dean is happy to sell IBR to keep the tuition high, as long as he makes his salary.
^ A tax-bomb which may also prove uncollectible.ReplyDelete
Why do people assume IBR will go away? Obviously it's really expensive but hasn't Income Contingent Repayment (also really expensive) been around for many years? The programs seem fairly similar although I think payments are slightly lower under IBR but I believe both feature loan forgiveness at the end of 25 years (20 soon for IBR I suppose).ReplyDelete
This is anon @ 7:50 responding to 7:53,ReplyDelete
Yeah, at least the tax-bomb is dischargeable in bankruptcy.
The dean's claim that bankruptcy will go down represents ignorance and/or lack of critical thinking on his part. If more students go on IBR, there will be more tax bombs and more bankruptcies.
The loan forgiveness and the bankruptcies all have to be tax-financed by good ol' fedgov. So taxpayers are subsidizing the whole mess. They should be outraged. If we, as a society, believe in justice as a fundamental right and thus want to insure adequate legal representation to the (presently) underrepresented, this is the exact wrong way to do it. Send those tax dollars to the public defender/prosecutor offices, not to law schools to enrich those already-privileged. Medical training is heavily subsidized, in part through teaching hospitals, for which state attorney offices can be a rough analog. Give them more funding.
Also, do a simple calculation. Calculate how much money you're lending to a school's students. Calculate how much has been paid back and estimate how much will be paid back. Schools for which the difference is negative no longer receive federal aid full stop. It's called rational government. It's called, society/taxpayers don't blindly hand over their dollars with no clue whether there will be a positive return on investment.
7:50/8:04 here againReplyDelete
When fedgov is simultaneously staring down trillion dollar budget deficits and (potentially) hundreds of billions in loan-forgiveness, it will have a tough choice to make. Taxpayers won't like the sound of cutting "educational assistance," nor will they like the alternatives of cutting medical care or social security. So, we'll see.
IBR rapes the taxpayer. It is horrible.ReplyDelete
It distorts the market, encourages too many people to go to law school, depresses wages, subsidizes law schools, and increases tuition. When you're in a hole, quit digging.
There is near consensus that: (1) there are significantly more lawyers than jobs; (2) there are too many law schools; (3) law school tuition is ridiculously high.
Only in America, when faced with these facts, is the solution to subsidize law schools with government-funded IBR loans. INSANITY!!!
I guess so, but they could also make IBR less costly by increasing the % payable under it. Right now it's 10% or 15%(?) of AGI above the poverty line. That's very generous, they could definitely make up some lost revenue by increasing that amount.
And thus increase the size of tax-bombs that are discharged in bankruptcy? Fedgov won't get those tax dollars either.
This seems to imply that GW is no longer a serious law school. Percentage of students on IBR or in default should factor into a school's ranking because that means that the graduating students from that college are unable to obtain positions to handle the debt incurred.ReplyDelete
8:17 (first one),ReplyDelete
I'm probably missing what you're getting at. In other words, take 10-20% of gross income instead of AGI above poverty level. More money would be paid in and the tax bomb would be smaller.
Someone had a theory that said that after the loan is forgiven after 20 years of IBR, the tax bill on the forgiven amount can be discharged in bankruptcy 2 years later. Is that true?ReplyDelete
IBR should be on a workman's comp model -an insurance model where the higher the risk the higher the premium. Thus a professional school with bad income outcomes would have to pay a higher premium into the IBR insurance fund - of course this might drive GW into bankruptcy or to cut its tuition so as to lower its risk and that would be so sad...ReplyDelete
Well, the tax bomb is only relevant to the extent that you're "solvent" (debts are not exceeded by assets) in the year of forgiveness. What's to stop you from handing your retirement account to your spouse (or not having one), and taking a new mortgage out and a title loan (on your vehicles) in year 25, then using those monies to pay back your new debt immediately after the discharge? Thus, liabilities exceed assets = no tax bomb, pay off all those debts a month later, BOOM.ReplyDelete
Edit, also you would need to make sure you had separated all assets through whatever means necessary in your state (marital property agreement, divorce on paper then remarry, etc . . . )ReplyDelete
"At least the tax bomb is dischargeable in bankruptcy"
Were you listening in your bankruptcy course - Most federal, state and local taxes are not dischargeable see 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1)
I remember reading a BR case where some guy was in a permanent vegetative coma and his student loans weren't discharged even.Delete
(8:26/8:27) My above posts are in no way meant to endorse this tool bag's theory that law school should drown us in six-figure debt, and that it's all "OK" because we have IBR. And I'm also pissed that Congress will punt on any real debt reform until 23 or so years from now when the first IBR hens come home to roost.ReplyDelete
IBR will be breathtakingly expensive. Barclays issued a report a few weeks ago in which they estimated the losses to the fed government from IBR (and defaults) over the next eight years (through 2020) to be AT LEAST $225 billion. That is more than the total amount of student loans owed in the year 2000. Hell, it's half the amount of outstanding loans as recently as the end of 2008 (when the total was "only" $440 billion).
So, $225 billion to help "entitled Millenials" lower their college repayment slightly. That will play well with Middle America, the Teap Party, and deficit hawks. I seriously doubt IBR will last long enough for the pub interest folks on the 10-year plan to take advantage of it.
MacK, I am not 8:04am but the tax bomb may be dischargeable, but it is not as simple as 8:04am suggests. The debtor will have to wait at least 3 years after reporting the forgiven debt as income to the IRS.ReplyDelete
It seems to me that IBR is a euphemism for peonage. To be on IBR, you cannot get married or you will "income out." You will not be able to own a home either. And when it is all done, you will be in your 50s facing bankruptcy proceedings. All for what? For a 3 year furlough that will enrich the filthy law school deans and professors? If you are smart, you would pass on this "deal."
A lot of folks don't understand IBR, but Dean Berman has been kind enough to explain it in plain language.ReplyDelete
It's a back-door bailout for law school deans and faculty.
IBR will go away. Why subsidize attorneys when there is no need for them? What a waste of human capital.ReplyDelete
There should be a (well, one more to add to the pile, really) caveat for prospective students prior to committing to law school to give them more perspective: "IBR will set you up paying debt for 20-25 years. That is equal to monthly payments from the very earliest memory you have as a child up until right now. Think about that very carefully."ReplyDelete
I see your point about moving assets. A few things:
1) Premature draining or movement of a retirement account can subject you to a tax penalty;
2) If you take out a loan and retain the collateral, you don't end up with liabilities greater than your assets...your new liabilities are balanced by the collateral (net change is zero);
3) Hiding assets to avoid taxes is in many circumstances illegal.
Finally, I'll say that because IBR (which is required for loan forgiveness) bases your payments on your income, if there is any debt left over to be discharged then you are not very likely to have a lot of real estate, a large retirement account, or any of that sort of thing to leverage.
Loan forgiveness is there for people who can't afford to pay the loan. If they can't afford to pay the loan, how likely are they to be able to afford a large tax payment?
I'm pretty sure social security can be levied. Fun to think of your retirement safety net with holes in it when you are in your 20s!Delete
8:46, all good points, I forgot to clarify that I was assuming that a person would have transferred their house to a spouse as separate property, and made all their retirement contributions into vehicles held only as the spouse's separate property. Of course if you're not married, or cannot separate such assets, you're screwed. And I completely agree that these people won't be able to foot the tax bill, and 3 years after they get the tax bill, they'll file bankruptcy to discharge that. We'll have a bunch of 60-75 year old destitutes with not assets. FML.ReplyDelete
Damn. All of my worldly assets are worth not more than a few thousand bucks if that. I doubt that will change much over the next 20 years.ReplyDelete
No one would marry someone like me with my kind of debt load. My credit is shot due to the debt to income ratio.
My loan grows by two thousand dollars a month under ICR.
I will be more like 70 years old.
What a mess.
The Congress has the ability to move huge amounts of money around so as to change things. They just don't want to do it.
Why don't you incorporate yourself as a bank?Delete
As far as Congress, how much did the Fed buy in toxic assets, guarantee? How much did the freaking TARP cost? Why didn't they just pay off outstanding student loans and home mortgages, thus eliminating toxic assets instead of moving them from shady bank's balance sheet to the taxpayers' balance sheet. Then we could all get back to ridiculous consumption.ReplyDelete
What about "earning out" of IBR? (in the same way you can earn too much to deduct your student loan interest). Say a middle ranked graduate of GW goes on IBR in their twenties, and at thirty finally gets a moderately paying mid-law gig. Do they still qualify? At what point will they be found to have earned too much to qualify?ReplyDelete
And if they do, are they suddenly hit with a principal that has compounded interest on it?
What about the Rick Santelli problem? Why does someone on IBR get to only pay a small amount while someone who is in active repayment has to shell out a a quarter to a third of their disposable income? At some point, someone is going to rant about "loser" lawyers who borrowed six figures so they can be better than everyone else, and then can't pay their loans.
I graduated in the late 90's and "consolidated" my loans into a 25 year payment plan. Here I am, 15 years into practice, and I'm getting monthly statements showing that 100-200 dollars a month is going to my principal. At this point, I've paid the almost total amount of the loans in interest. It sucks, and I'm one of the very lucky ones. IBR seems much, much worse.
Here's how you can turn the tables on everyone in the ivory tower and burn the system, and make some money. As soon as Colorado, or George Washington, or Cooley, or Rutgers-Camden do anything, anything misleading, start a qui tam.
Campos ex rel United States v. Colorado.
In fact, start a law school clinic where students get real experience with qui tam actions! Misleading statements to get IBR money.
This is far worse than what the drug companies do marketing drugs for off label Medicare use. And they pay billions. Say it with me, "Qui Tam Action."
What can be said about the law school scam that hasn't been said at this point? People like Paul Berman clearly have no conscience so shame won't affect them.ReplyDelete
"Only" a 3.98% tuition increase! At a time when the objective, real-world value of a GW law degree is closer to $0 than the utterly insane amount they are charging their students...it's sickening.
Thank you, that's helpful. So I guess the difference is the sheer volume of loans now compared to years past under ICR making IBR significantly more expensive.
Moral hazar. Hahaha. I can't say that without laughing considering the big-bank bailouts.
IBR is about law schools, not law students.ReplyDelete
The schools do not care about you 0Ls. They care about getting theirs. They can easily take candy from babies like you because you don't really know any better, and the bill doesn't come due until you've left campus.
Can't do that because some (many law graduates) would be unable to afford basic living expenses after paying out a percentage of their gross income.
Fedgov just has to ask: does loaning money to this school's students result in a negative return on investment? If the answer is no, the lending stops.
"Concordia law school to open this month in Boise"ReplyDelete
Can somebody please tell me this is a bad joke?
Sorry, if the answer is YES, the lending stops.
Prof. Campos, do you have a prior entry that details the requirements & risks of IBR? [Also, the two types of programs, which are often confused; the differences between them.] I'm sure there are folks just coming to the blog who would find this helpful.ReplyDelete
If so, a link to it would be helpful. If not, perhaps you could post one.
Is GW becoming the next Touro or even Cooley?ReplyDelete
Actually you can. Child support in many states is 19% of gross income plus a share of health care and day care costs and plenty of people manage to pay that amount.
My only point is that I think they'll try to find ways to tweak the program before completely cutting it.
I just can't understand why we don't have millions of young people marching on DC. What we need is a million man march on DC protesting the current state of student loan debt, lack of jobs, education cost etc. You can say all you want about the boomer generation but they certainly used to know how to protest and protest loudly. I guess it's just part of the special snowflake syndrome.ReplyDelete
Because people carry shame privately.Delete
STFU, 9:54. Were boomers medicated into zombies, doped up on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds? No, they weren't. So just STFU.ReplyDelete
Two thoughts, neither of them pretty.ReplyDelete
First, this post and the post on the Hastings budget a few weeks ago demonstrate the total intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the leadership of the law school industry. Intellectual bankruptcy because, faced with an existential challenge, they literally cannot think of anything to do other than what they have been doing. Moral bankruptcy for all the reasons mentioned here and one other not mentioned. This plan, and the Hastings budget, are actually very rational responses to the situation but only if their purpose is to run out the string on the con a few more years until current senior faculty and admonistrators reach retirement age. They cannot possibly be long term solutions. Not even Dean B can possibly believe the federal government will go on lending hundreds of thousands of dollars that will never be repaid indefinitely. But it might continue it long enough for Dean B to make it to Margaritaville.
Second,there is a downside to IBR that has not been mentioned. It's true that what Congress gives Congress can take away. (Although I really don't see the point; ending IBR is not going to enable people with no money to pay off their loans.) But it's also true that what Congress gives Congress can attach strings to, and sooner or later Congress will decide that borrowers are worthy of IBR only if they engage in certain occupations Congress decides are worthwhile. Anyone who was subject to the Viet Nam era draft is familiar with the concept. At various times if you went to college, got married, had children, went into certain occupations etc. you could avoid the rice paddies. Otherwise . . .
In fact this is already happening. There is already a program offering early discharge to borrowers doing "public service" work which has the effect of locking government employees into their jobs. If they stay ten years, they are off the hook; leave and they will be paying student loans into their fifty's. So much for having any say in your own destiny.
Your post demonstrates that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
IBR, which had noble intentions, was never meant to be what it has become, which is what you describe in your second paragraph.
I LOVE IT:ReplyDelete
"but for most borrowers, the most important issue is not the total debt figure, but the monthly repayment amount."
This is exactly what you hear from a car salesman. Don't look at the total price of the car. We'll make this work for your monthly budget. Also, these floor mats, normally retailing for $495, are actually just $249.99, which is just $4.99/month over sixty months.
You load sixteen tons, what do you get?ReplyDelete
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go,
I owe my soul to the company store.
Most young people aren't marching on DC because most young people are living relatively productive lives. There's a lot of jobs middle class jobs still available for people looking and IBR is mostly set up for fringe cases. The only people who would consider IBR are people who want to be poor for the next two decades of their career. Who would enter into a system that caps your annual wages in order to be subsidized?ReplyDelete
I'm confused, yes the government may lose $225 million on loans that default after 25 years, but doesn't the interest paid servicing the loan offset these losses even despite any overhead costs?ReplyDelete
Even $500 a month over 25 years is still $150,000. In may cases IBR will be higher than this -- especially because there will be inflation making the minimum payment higher.
Sure the government technically "lost" on these defaulted loans, but they more than paid back their costs -- this is generally speaking how insurance operates.
Did you read the article? The Dean is advertising IBR for more than fringe cases. It is becoming a default position.
$225 BILLION, not $225 million. And that is just the estimate through 2020, when only a very small number of public interest folk will be eligible for forgiveness.
Damn it... I don't have any debt, but the fact that this continues to go on scares me enough that I'M considering leaving the country before everything crashes down and MY taxes shoot through the roof to pay for it.ReplyDelete
Jesus - these guys will say whatever they have to say to bring more 0Ls into the fold.ReplyDelete
"Get them to sign on the line that is dotted."
To put $225 billion in perspective, the cost of the International Space Station was only $150 billion.
@10:20, pardon the typo on my factor of 100 on the money.ReplyDelete
It still doesn't go to my point about the fact that although the loan doesn't get paid off, it isn't like the government lost money on the situation. Over 20-25 years virtually everyone will have paid the govenment more than their loan cost initially (including servicing).
Like I said above, the government profitability from this is more like insurance companies than like bankers, that is the beauty of non-dischargable debt.
Dean Berman should be ashamed of himself, deeply ashamed, although I have a feeling he may not be capable of actually feeling shame.ReplyDelete
This is a truly disgusting state of affairs.
The total debt level goes down because when the amounts are forgiven, "POOF!" the total goes down! So just wait it out till the forgiving starts! Sweeeeeet!ReplyDelete
-Berman the economist
For all the commenters who have left well-reasoned but scathing comments on the original article quoting Berman: very, very nice job. :)ReplyDelete
I love how at this point whenever one of the law school scammers spouts off his or her utter nonsense in an online forum, the well-informed scamblog readershit quickly piles on to dismantle the bullshit. Keep up the good work.
Whoops--"readership," not "readershit," obviously. ;)ReplyDelete
"Jesus - these guys will say whatever they have to say to bring more 0Ls into the fold."ReplyDelete
Yup. Law School Dean as Mephistopheles.
"Of course you can afford to attend law school! There's just one minor formality we must dispose of first -- just sign right here, and that JD degree will practically be yours already."
There are people making investment returns from other people being in prison. Sociopaths are everywhere.ReplyDelete
10:20 poses a valid question as to whether that $225 billion is an actual loss or if it's just lost revenue (revenue here being the "gain" on student loans to the extent the amount of interest due exceeds the initial principle + cost of capital + admin costs).
I tried to find the Barclays report but didn't have any luck.
It's important to remember that fleecing by rapacious academics on the backs of their debt-strapped students is not restricted to law schools. Check out NYU's ~$5B Greenwich Village expansion plans, spearheaded by university dean (and former HLS law review editor) John Sexton.ReplyDelete
Wall Street bankers got nothin' on these guys.
Now they are planning to take over K-12 education too.Delete
You were off by a factor of one thousand, not one hundred.
"Further, Barclays warns the fiscal burden of defaults and income-based subsidization through 2020 is currently being underestimated by at least $225 billion."
Whoops, it won't cost $225 billion. It will cost $225 billion OVER AND ABOVE whatever the government originally thought it would cost (a number I don't have offhand, but I rather imagine it is substantial as well).
"Here are some points Barclays makes about the debt, referencing the Federal Reserve and the National Center for Education Statistics:
■The growth of federal student loans outstanding in the past decade ($583 billion) is larger than the size of the government’s TARP bailout package ($431 billion).
■Borrowers who graduated had a default rate of 3.7 percent in 2009, while those who dropped out had a default rate of 16.8 percent, and … a larger portion of the student loan debt is falling on those who will not receive the financial benefits of earning a degree.
■Barely half of all borrowers were making payments as of the third quarter of 2011; 47 percent were either still in school or in deferral, forbearance or grace periods.
■Given the weak labor market and increasing dropout rates, there is little reason to think that … future delinquency rates will be lower than the current national average (14 percent for all borrowers).
■Currently, 15.5 percent of the outstanding student loan balance is held by borrowers 50 and older, and 4.2 percent is held by those 60 and older; and these age cohorts hold an even larger share (16.9 percent and 4.8 percent respectively) of the total past-due student loan balance. The average debt burden for borrowers over age 60 is $18,250.
■The median education debt belonging to households in which the head of the household is retired increased by 62 percent between 2007 and 2009.
■When combined with forecast growth in issuance, we estimate that the government will lose around $65 [billion] on student loans in the coming decade from subsidy rate re-estimates alone.
■Between now and 2020, we think that IBR [the new income-based repayment programs] will cost the government a total of $190 [billion, due to write-offs]."
IBR is simply a way for the proles to obtain what they never should have aspired to obtain in the first place. There is plently of fruit that needs pickin' in California. Marie Antoinette would say "Let them eat peaches." But once the Romans started with the corn dole, they could never end the bread and circuses. Ending IBR would incite a rebellion. It may be modified in some of its less essential particulars, but it will never be repealed.ReplyDelete
I know report exists and I've various summaries like you've listed, I was interested in seeing the full report to the extent it's available. The summaries aren't really responsive to my question.
I love the 1984 references. The whole system (not just the educational scam) seems more and more Orwellian each day.
I'll take a crack at your rhetorical question. I humbly propose that the Inner Party response will be:
"IBR ensures that legal education is not just within the realm of the rich, and ensures that those who enter lower paying jobs can do so and manage their debt loads. As Dear Leader Chemerinsky observed, law schools cannot fight rising costs, but we're doing our best to make law school within reach of all who want to pursue such a noble profession that has benefited so many and represented the rights of all. Pay no attention to the man behind the Press Release Curtain."
This is outrageous. The estimated cost of attendance at GW law, including living expenses is $77,000 per year. Not accounting for interest that accrues during law school, a GW graduate will have $231,000 of debt upon graduation. At an average interest rate of 7.3% the student will need to pay $1,405.03 PER MONTH just to keep the balance steady at $231,000. If this student earns $40,000 per year, the student's IBR payments will be $291.00 per month. So each month the balance of the loan will grow by $1114 dollars. In order to "break even" under an IBR model, the student would need to earn over $129,000 per year. If the student landed a big law job at $160,000 per year, the student would pay $1791 per month, equivalent to a 25 year payment plan.ReplyDelete
Even a cursory exercise in basic mathematics renders the Dean's comments absurd. The Dean can't be this stupid.ReplyDelete
He didn't get the job because he had basic math skills.
Could someone explain the significance of the number of transfers at GW?ReplyDelete
IBR also is effectively inflation proof. Historically debtors cheered on inflation. Nominal wages rose, but nominal debt was locked in at fixed interest rates.ReplyDelete
Now, debt is locked in as a percentage of income. Just turn over 15% of all of your AGI for the next 20 or 25 years.
Transfers are part of a game by the law schools to increase their $$$$ supply by taking lower ranked students at full tuition without having to report their lower scores. Sort of stinks if you suddenly have 25% more people in your class in the face of scarce jobs, not to mention that the school is not taken as seriously in hiring.ReplyDelete
This is too bad. GW is a physically beautiful place in a really beautiful part of a beautiful city. It has unbelievable facilities. Unfortunately all of this comes at a price. The bottom line is that some of the law school facilities should be closed down and the money and space used where there is more need. The med school at GW is one of the hardest to get into and is really small. They should try to halve law and double medicine because that is where the demand for the service is today.
Always be closing.ReplyDelete
Too bad JD Painter is on vacation. He could provide us with his experience with IBR.ReplyDelete
This shows you the difference between the ABA and the AMA. The ABA lets you open as many schools as you want without regard to the supply and demand of attorneys.
Medical schools open in a trickle. The number of graduates from US medical schools is not nearly enough to supply teaching hospitals enough residents. That's why some hospitals have to reach for foreign medical graduates. There's no question that the AMA could encourage the creation of many more medical schools to provide more US graduates, but that would only increase the supply of doctors of potentially adversely affect their incomes.
Because it is DC, the opportunities are a little better than in other cities. Some people from GW will start with low salaries but recover later on. Probably more so than in other cities. While in other top schools, 10 to 15% of the class who started in non-clerkship, non top 250 firms will recover, I would think in DC the numbers would be somewhat higher because you have the federal government. I would guess that 45% of the class might do well from GW long term.ReplyDelete
JD Painter has given up. He put his face and name out there forever and made a damn fool out of himself.ReplyDelete
It is all hopeless. He tried to talk about it and no one listened.
Debt forever or leave the USA
@12:55 Help me out here. How does being located in DC cause GW grads to have better opportunities? They're still competing against a lot of students from T14. Does a student applying for a job in DC get a bump from a prospective employer solely because the student went to law school in DC?ReplyDelete
Isn't the AMA violating the antitrust act by restricting medical schools?
I have never heard a dean sound so much like a used car salesman. "We're raising prices by less than 4%--during the worst economic recovery of all time! Don't worry about the total amount of the loan, focus on the low monthly payments! Don't worry if you can't afford even those payments, because the government will pay the tab!"ReplyDelete
The bloggers don't even have to cry "scam" any more because the deans are using such forthright scam-speak. This is pathetic.
If the AMA actually does what has been suggested above (August 2, 2012 12:54 PM.), how is that any less of a scam than what the law schools do?ReplyDelete
What ultimately matters is the number of residencies which is basically controlled by the Fed gov via Medicare. Unlike law, you can't practice medicine w/o getting into one. So really the number of MDs who can practice is ultimately determined by residency slots not number of MD grads per se.
Interestingly, in some countries, it works sort of like that for law. I've heard that in some countries, you need to get into some sort of internship before you can fully practice law.
All true. Just read story that in Michigan they are building med schools like crazy but no money for residencies!Delete
Re: "earning out of " IBR, I don't believe you can, but at a certain point your expected payment is going to be so high that your debt will be paid off long before the 20 years. And yeah, you're gonna be paying that whole nut with all the compounded interest on it. What a great "deal". Re: DC being a beautiful city, those of us who have lived there can only laugh. And re: GW being a top school within DC, it just isn't. Georgetown is the top school in DC and they graduate huge classes, many members of whom are already struggling to find work in DC. Then you also have all the top schools from everywhere sending their grads in to work for the feds. The only advantage to GW's being in DC would conceivably be the opportunity to do good summer or part time work while in school, but I'm guessing many of those opportunities have dried up as well. GW seems to be a great example of a "trap" school at this point.ReplyDelete
Many DC area law students work as clerks at law firms (large and small) during the academic year and have somewhat of a leg-up in eventual hiring. I know of many student clerks who found positions this way.
AMA Annual Meeting is going on as we speak in Chicago.ReplyDelete
Anything I can try to bring to their attention?
A new law school is opening in Boise, Idaho.
Will this be the final law school to be accredited by the ABA or merely the first of a new wave of diploma mills to open?
if you withdraw from school AFTER student loan living wages have been directly deposited into your account, can you still live off of those wages while not enrolled in school? I understand that if you withdraw by a certain deadline, you receive a 100% refund - or, more accurately, the school gives the tuition money back to the government. but do you necessarily have to give the government back your loans, or can they just add that 7k to your debt?ReplyDelete
this could be a worthwhile strategy for those afraid of dropping out because they are otherwise dead-broke - and it would be nice to withdraw after school actually starts to fuck with their expected enrollment a bit..
i havent read any of the comments yet, but i remember GW Law on ATLReplyDelete
I am sitting here with a Penn State graduate who just received a letter from the law school dean. The letter announced that Dickenson is accepting one-third less students.ReplyDelete
interested in the answer to 2:02's question as well..ReplyDelete
I don't think the chances are high that IBR will continue to exist for the next 20 years.ReplyDelete
I graduated in 2011 with 75k of law school debt, no undergrad debt. I have no other debt.
I anticipate that IBR will eventually show up on the political radar, and, when it does, the student-borrowers rather than the system will be blamed. It will then be revoked.
Even though I make the rare $80k in our bi-modal profession, I now pour every extra penny I have onto my loans even though I qualify for IBR (which I am technically on, though I voluntarily pay about a $1,000 a month).
I do not want to be caught in an impossible position WHEN (not if) IBR is revoked.
As a result, I have ZERO discretionary income, NO Cable, NO vacations, I drive a shitty car. Hopefully though, in a few years I shed this beast.
I have zero faith in IBR. No one else should either.
Per the BC Law alumni mag, class size will be reduced by 20 or 30 this yearReplyDelete
Being at GW in DC is surely an advantage if you want a legal job in DC. Sure the most prestigious firms will hire from the T14 or T3 but that does not mean that there are not other great jobs in DC. By being right next to the jobs, GW students have some built in advantage.ReplyDelete
No this is not true. This is an illusion. GW has to compete with T6 grads who want DC. The market is extremely difficult. I would bet that most if not all of GW's transfers don't end up in jobs in DC.
Did JD Painter guy qualify for IBR? Could others who are on IBR please comment?ReplyDelete
GW grads end up as doc review lifers. I know several personally. Very smart people too.ReplyDelete
I am a GW student. GW is dominated by the T14 in DC. Obviously, GW only outplaces peer schools (BU/BC/Emory/WUSTL/etc.) in DC, and additionally outplaces American, George Mason, and Howard.ReplyDelete
The GW regional bump is way smaller than others in the 15-25ish rankings.
Also, GW grads are not all doc review lifers. Those below median don't even get that. Median to top 1/3 are doc reviewers, top 1/3 to top 16% get midlaw/gov/etc., and the top 15% pay off their loans in 5 years after running themselves ragged and burning their soul to a crisp at biglaw.
Just proves the point that GW should half the size of the law school.ReplyDelete
That's so unfortunate. When I graduated 11 years ago, I went to work for a federal agency where several of my coworkers were GW grads. There was even a Catholic grad or two, in addition to many G'town grads and random other top school grads. But it does make sense that those opportunities have dried up now that everything is so much more competitive. GW used to be a 'good school' but there just really aren't enough jobs for everyone anymore it seems.ReplyDelete
You cannot get IBR if you are in default.
That is what i thought. Which is a stupid requirement, people in default need IBR more than anyone. It isn't as if their loans, like JD painterguy's are ever going to be repaid.ReplyDelete
IBR and all the "assistance" exist to essentially bailout servicers and lenders and allow the higher education industrial complex to not collapse. The only reason it hasnt yet is the tax-payer backstop. This is corporatism at its worst. Not too much different than Mussolini and Italy in the 1930s.Always remember, laws in this country are funded and passed to protect moneyed interests and not students. There is a reason why money in politics ain't such a good thing...ReplyDelete
There really is a limited regional effect in DC because all of the T6 and indeed the T14 market their graduates there - and to the extent that there is one, it mostly benefits (a) Georgetown and (b) federal government types in evening programs from branches of the government where a JD and lawyer status is a plus - since they are already employed they can go to pretty well any evening program and use education benefits.ReplyDelete
In the past (like 40 odd years ago) GW and American benefited from racial/religious/social segregation in DC - there were in effect 4 college/law school systems - (a) going away to college (Harvard, Yale, Princeton); (b) protestants who did not go away went to American Methodist University (now American (the call sign WAMU for the public radio station is the only relic along with the seminary)) and GW; (c) Catholics (who did not go away to Notre Dame or elsewhere) went to Georgetown and Catholic U (minus the catholics who went to protestant or non-denominational schools); and (d) blacks went to Howard and Antioch (now UDC).
This whole segregation started to collapse in the 50s though the 70s as DC protestants started to go to Georgetown - and blacks were increasingly able to get into the non-black schools. The result for GW is a drop in status, but nothing like American's decline. Until the 90s though Catholic U was regarded as very catholic - that seems to have ended.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
I have to say something here:ReplyDelete
I defaulted in 2009. A private company "vendor" or rather a collection agency hired by NY State Higher Education Services placed my loan with the William D. Ford Federal Program/Direct Loans.
So default was my path to not I "B as in boy" R, but I "C as in Charlie" R.
By "brokering" or acting as the middleman, GC services added a collection fee of 18.5 % or forty thousand dollars to my principal balance, plus some other fees, causing my loan to go from 210K to 260K.
I expalined all of this on the radio show that everyone thought was so stupid. The only thing the editors left out was the name of the collection agency. (GC Services)
Default got me out of the hands of Sallie Mae, and I thought the Direct Loans Government program would be more fair. However, as I have said so many times on my blog, ICR does not stop the interest, which gets compounded.
My loan is now quadrupled, and over 327K.
It is in forbearance and I have paperwork that explains that because of the forbearance my loan will have another forty thousand dollars added on by feb of 2013.
I could scan and post that letter, but no one gives a shit, so I am not going to try anymore.
Not too long ago, I was told on the telephone by someone with the US dept of ed that my loan is growing by seventeen dollars a day, and when I asked if the loan could potentially grow to over a million dollars she said "Yes"
Not a day goes by when I do not say to myself multiple times: "I'm ruined"
As to whether or not somneone can get into IBR after default I do not know.
I also tape recorded, with consent my telephone conversation with GC services in 2009 because I felt that something was very wrong about that 40K collection fee.
But you'll see. All of you will find all of this out yourself in time, and let's see if you don't crack up a little.
Seriously have you considered renouncing US citizenship and moving to Canada? That's what I would do.Delete
^^ I mean, I got into ICR (C as in Charlie) through default.ReplyDelete
I do not know if one can get into IBR (B as in Boy) after default.
New Zealand, Panama, Argentina, Columbia - they all sound nice. Later in life you can offer to settle for pennies on the dollar if you ever want to return.ReplyDelete
If I were a debt-free young man I would seriously considering leaving anyway. In fact, I still think of getting out.
Costa Rica or Canada would be my choices.Delete
All of the law schools have declined. Anecdotally, a good percentage of the 30% that does not get BigLaw or a federal clerkship at the T4 schools at 9 months is screwed. We just do not know exactly how many people we are talking about. GW is a fine school, but the legal business has just gone bad, in addition to all of the law schools producing too many grads. Even the T4 with their better placement rates need to slim down by more than 20% to place everyone at 9 months. If we were to go farther out from graduation on employment statistics for the T4 included, the numbers would look worse and worse.ReplyDelete
@ 3:23 pm - I started out with 200k in law school debt. No amount of money I make (living extremely frugally as you say) can possibly keep up with the amount of interest on said debt so I don't bother I just use IBR. I will have a big tax bill down the line but am having to trust that if IBR is revoked it will be starting with future students. For some people there is just no other way.ReplyDelete
@ 6:13 PMReplyDelete
Emigrating to Canada is not easy. You have to be reasonably young and healthy, plus have something else such as scarce skills or a big wad of money to invest.
You mean that law degree isn't a scarce skill?Delete
oh look...a GW transfer from TJLS....ReplyDelete
5:41: What is the T4? Just say "I'm talking about Columbia."ReplyDelete
bottom 30% T4 can always get always get a tax LLM at NYU Law. triple down on that education!!!ReplyDelete
Why should the indebted law school scamee pay a higher interest rate than the too-big-to-fail banks pay the FED (.5%) on borrowed funds. They are more tapped-out than he is.ReplyDelete
A dude could borrow $200,000 at one-half of one percent, not go to law school, invest the money in Treasuries at 2% and pocket the $3,000 a year difference. Rinse, repeat. I like it.
I can confirm JD painter guys experience with ruinous fees being tacked on after you default.ReplyDelete
I made a few payments on my student loans, had financial problems, and then defaulted.
4 or 5 years later, I got my life back in order and wanted to start paying. My payments were $1,460 a month. No negotiation, no nothing, pay it or don't. I needed to pay it so I could get "rehabilitated" and to get my credit report in good standing in order to sit for the bar.
Fast forward 5 years later. I'm looking at my loan balance and I've paid $60k. Something is not adding up. Turns out my 1st years payments were just "penalty" payments. They didn't count towards interest or principal AT ALL.
That is a $17,520 penalty that I paid for defaulting.
There should be penalty for default.
But $17k seems a bit much to me. Maybe pay $1,000 penalty.
Unjust is how I would phrase it. You can't bankrupt out of these loans.
I now have paid what I originally borrowed. I still owe over $80k.
They are going to get their money one way or the other...
@ 7:39 PMReplyDelete
Only if you think being able to tie your shoes is also a scarce skill.
Poor GW Dean Paul Berman:ReplyDelete
"The home was sold [for 1.28 million] by Paul Berman and his wife, Laura Dickinson, as trustees of the Berman-Dickinson Family Revocable Trust."
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/2012/07/07/20120707ariozna-phoenix-area-priciest-homes-sold-past-week.html
To pay off six figure debt, yes it is easier to pay it down with a six figure income, but many have paid it down without having a six figure income (use an online loan calculator to understand how to accomplish making monthly payments without seeing an increase in loan principal). In another comment I'm reading someone is claiming that loan debt will go into one's 60's or 70's--yes it can but only if that person make certain life choices which supports loan going into their older age. For most folks with a paying job and understanding basic budgeting and finances, the loan at most will be a 20-year inconvenience. Whether or not IBR is chosen, their will still be a big tax bill to pay. For those lucky enough to qualify for IBR and thus are lucky enough to claim some of their student loan repayment amount as tax deductions, be happy you have these options.ReplyDelete
@ 9:33 - well, Dean Berman & spouse are going to find that $1.28 million is NOT going to get him a lot of house in the metropolitan DC area.ReplyDelete
It's one area of the country where house prices DIDN'T crash in 2008, and they've continued to go up since then.
Why the heck would you pay 60k to "rehabilitate" your credit score?
Just use a strawman, or your wife's credit score to finance whatever you want.
Or, in the alternative, use cash for everything and live in the underground economy. (Perfect way for evading the shitty IRS too)
Why the HECK would you pay 140k to these law school scammers?
I'll never pay 1 dime to sallie mae.
I drive a 100k car, and I'll soon be purchasing a condo. (None are in my name. But who cares? I get to use them and I purchased them with my own money)
Good luck finding me. You shitty debt collectors!
This stuff is really sickening. Don't these deans have a clue? Are they listening? Maybe living in those mansions on $500K a year causes your ears to plug up.ReplyDelete
Honestly, I don't how much more I can read of this stuff. The complete cluelessness - I just don't get it.
@ tdennis: Alas, Tricia, not surprising. Penn State is the kid who arrived late at the kegger only to have a squad car pull into the driveway before he finished his second beer or got to first base with the girl he just met. He's currently legging it out the back door in his socks.ReplyDelete
@10:14PM - I'm all for people avoiding debt slavery by going off the radar or living in another country, but if you're truly driving around in a $100,000 car while actively avoiding paying any of your student loans, then you're part of the problem.ReplyDelete
The true victims of all of this mess are those hard-working grads who WANT to pay their debt, but who are UNABLE TO DO SO because of the lies law schools told, or the bad economy, which has led to people becoming trapped by their debt. We want to pay it off, as agreed, but the rules of the game make it difficult or impossible to do so. And this must be addressed.
Little anecdotes about people like you who choose not to pay their loans while enjoying a nice lifestyle damage any chances of regular student debtors getting help. The media, politicians, and reform opponents will dig up cases like you and use them examples of how none of us need help and how there's really no problem at all. I'm fine with anyone avoiding their student debt but renting a small home, driving a beater, and working in a regular job, but I'm actually rather disgusted with the idea that there are people out there who are living extremely nice lifestyles and paying no student loans while there are countless people like me who are working our asses off to pay our debt and making the sacrifices to do so.
Your failure to repay directly impacts the interest rates that everyone else pays in this nasty little game. Try to show some humility, rather than ramming your irresponsibility down our throats while we end up paying higher interest rates because you're unwilling (and not unable!) to pay your share.
@6:15 - to follow up on what you are saying, wouldn't a possible solution be to allow some borrowers to refinance their student loans at a lower interest rate? all i hear about is how interest rates are at a historic low but what good does it do me? I have almost 200k in educational loan debt locked in around 7%. i realize that isn't a bad rate for an unsecured loan but i am actually making a good income (granted not doing legal work) and am struggling to pay down these massive loans which accumulate around 15k a year in interest. i have a high credit score. why not let some people, people who are less likely to default, refinance their student loans? the whole system is a wreck. you can't treat everyone the same. also, i suppose, and i just thought of this, to some extent you could argue that my student loans, since they are not dis-chargeable in bankruptcy are effectively secured loans - secured by my income for life.ReplyDelete
I have never had an interest rate lower than 8%.ReplyDelete
With Sallie Mae it was 9%
In the end, maybe a bubble of some sort will have to burst in order for anything to change.
The student lending industry has been referred to as a "Phantom Industry" and isn't that still the case now?
If one reads through all the comments here, there seems to be a lot of ideas, but no real explanation or understanding for how everything came about, and how to fix it.
For that matter, some (maybe not the commenters here) will still insist that there is no SL Debt bubble, and there is no law school tuition bubble.
Maybe a real explanation for what has been and is going on now will be the work for historians in years to come.
IBR is a life buoy, and thank you very much, but while treading water I couldn;t help noticing that the Titanic seems to be going down, and by golly the water is freezing!
@ 7:00 AM the current rate on fed grad loans is 6.8%. the rate on undergrad loans is currently at 3.4%. why the big difference? i have no idea. anyway, yes the ship is sinking. anyone paying 9 plus percent on student loans is really screwed.ReplyDelete
I'm in my final year at GW and the bloom is definitely off the rose re Berman. The students liked him in the beginning, but it did not take long for most of us to figure out that Berman is full of sh_t. He's like a snake oil salesman from the 1870s. Unlike our last two Deans (Lawrence & Maggs), he could give a crap about the students. A total fraud.ReplyDelete
A refi would be a perfect short-term (and long-term) answer for many of us who have taken on the debt, but just need help. Put government rates down to 0% (or close to zero, with perhaps a nominal rate to cover admin costs), and let us pay back the money instead of wallowing in endless interest payments. This is perfectly possible, perfectly reasonable, and nobody should complain. It's not like we're rich people who will just use our lower interest rates to put more money in our bank accounts - we're recent grads and we'll spend the extra money we save in the real economy, rather than wasting the money paying back economically-useless interest payments.ReplyDelete
Food for thought. Forget the silly cries of "debt forgiveness", and perhaps we should just focus, as a group, on reducing the interest burden for our current loans.
Apply to spend your 3rd year at UDC as a visiting student ($8000 tuition). GW Law allows you to spend 3L at another school. Yes, you have to apply for it - but tell them they either approve the credit transfer or you're taking a year leave of absence.
Don't give Dean Berman your tuition dollars.
Your thoughts are too wise and pragmatic for anyone in this society's government to take seriously.
Move overseas ASAP.
@3:23 PM (Aug 2): Though still used by very few, IBR is a highly touted benefit. It is extremely unlikely it will be "taken away" from existing borrowers. Congress could wise up and realize that law schools, for-profit schools, and (eventually) all higher ed institutions are the true beneficiaries, not the students, and eliminate it on a going forward basis, but very unlikely to be taken away from those already using it.ReplyDelete
At minimum, there will probably be eventual changes (an income threshold, particularly for forgiveness, changing ratios, making "public servants" pay longer, etc.), but these will be fought tooth and nail by the higher ed lobby and will take forever. Plus, again, they are very likely to occur only on a prospective basis.
Hope this is helpful.
GW Law - what a joke. LawProf's post about Professor Neil Buchanan a while back was great too.ReplyDelete
Is it not a bit hypocritical for Law Prof to criticize GWU. He is a tenure track professor at a school that has employment numbers far worse than GWU and a lot of the schools in the country... 55%, which is just as bad as Hastings which he criticized much earlier. The debt levels of the school is roughly the same though at 206k for a non resident and around 180k for a resident.ReplyDelete
DJM's school a little better employment but same debt.
So basically they are benefiting from this system. What this all amounts to is Campos writing a law review article that will be published...in law reviews that he thinks are pointless helping him make tenure.
Here is a link to his working paper...
^^^^ GW Prof. Neil Buchanan and/or Dean Paul BermanReplyDelete
Actually I am a transfer student to the school and I also noticed that Campos is anti-transfer for some reason. And no, not from TJ.ReplyDelete
I was into the law school scam, but I just kinda feel that he is also exploiting it.
As Professor Leiter wrote...wouldn't Campos be justified in resigning. I mean how does he deal with the dual role of professor at a relatively crappy school and critic?
Would you tell how many students involved in this program.ReplyDelete
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The reason IBR makes sense is that there is very little job stability in the legal field (i.e. you don't make partner, you get bounced, you become a career doc review lawyer). So to the extent you can save as much money as you can with IBR upfront, you should because you might not have a job tomorrow morning.ReplyDelete
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