Law Schools, LSAT, Money

Could the Decline in Law School Applicants Mean Tuition Cuts Are On the Way?

Hot on the heels of the news that administrations of the LSAT are down 16% from last year, we now know that the number of students applying to law school has also declined. But just how bad are the numbers? Let’s just say that applicants and applications for this cycle have “dropped precipitously.”

It would seem that people have finally gotten the message that going to law school won’t necessarily guarantee financial success, much less a job as a lawyer. These days, prospective law students are more in tune with reality, and they obviously don’t like the pictures of law school doom and gloom that have been displayed prominently in the mainstream media.

But that doesn’t mean that people are going to stop applying to law school, or even that they should. So, for these prospective law students, does news of fewer applicants mean that tuition prices will drop, too?

Before we begin to speculate about possible tuition cuts, let’s get some more information about the drop in law school applicants. The LSAT Blog has the scoop:

Applicant numbers are down 15.6%, and applications submitted are down 13.6%, according to data submitted through 3/30/12.

(LSAC states, “Last year at this time, we had 91% of the preliminary final applicant count.” As such, we can project that this cycle will have ~66,696 applicants and ~484,576 applications.)

Combined with the decline in law school applicant and application numbers in the previous cycle, there’s been a major drop-off over the past 2 years.

So with this kind of sharp decline in applicants, logic would dictate that tuition costs would decline sharply in response, right? Wrong. That proposition was suggested by the Chicago Tribune at the end of last month, but instead of listening to reason, law school tuition is still on the rise.

For example, over at Duke Law School, whose U.S. News ranking remained the same, tuition was raised by four percent, bringing the grand total to $50,750 for next year. At Northwestern Law, whose ranking also remained constant, the tuition hike has been capped at the rate of inflation — three percent — for an increase to $53,168 per year. And at schools whose rankings have continuously dropped, like Wake Forest, according to tipsters, tuition has gone up “$4K+ over the last two years.”

Ha, and you thought a drop in applicants would mean a drop in tuition. When it comes to law school, you really get what you pay for, and what you’re paying for is an overpriced slap in the face.

Law School Applicant Numbers / Applications in Steep Decline [LSAT Blog]
Chicago Law: Law schools seeing fewer applicants [Chicago Tribune]

Earlier: Declining LSAT Test Takers Could Spell ‘Death Spiral’ for Bottom Law Schools

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