[UPDATE: Seton Hall’s average graduate debt datum is now accounted for in this post, lowering the number of non-reporting law schools to 13 this year. Without altering the substantive points of the post, please consider the necessary changes having been made.]
The record was 14 last year, which was still too high.
Each year U.S. News ranks law schools based on how much debt their graduates take on. The figure excludes accrued interest, but it’s probably the best estimate of the cost of attendance at a particular law school. It’s also, unfortunately, the only source for this information as the ABA does not publicize it in the 509 Information Reports. Here’s this year’s list of absentees and their debt levels in their last reported year:
- Arizona Summit – $190,471 (2015, can be found on the school’s Web site [Interestingly, no one took out private loans…])
- New England – $132,246 (2014)
Seton Hall – $127,075 (2014)
- Faulkner – $122,187 (2014)
- Missouri (Kansas City) – $103,038 (2014)
- Southern Illinois – $67,966 (2014)
- Appalachian – $114,740 (2013)
- Atlanta’s John Marshall – $142,515 (2013)
- Florida A&M – $96,934 (2012)
- La Verne – $112,628 (2013)
- Rutgers-Camden – $93,990 (2013)
- Southwestern – $147,976 (2013)
- Texas Southern – $99,992 (2013)
- WMU Cooley – $122,395 (2013)
I’m excluding the three Puerto Rico law schools and Widener Harrisburg because U.S. News usually does too. In point of fact, Belmont had 119 graduates last year, so it probably should have been included as well, but I’ll be lenient today. I’d hate to see the record broken.
These schools account for
3,361 3,076 graduates out of 43,118 (excl. Puerto Rico), or 8 7 percent of the total.
The unweighted average private law school graduate debt rose from $124,638 last year to $
127,740 127,743 this year ( 2.4% 2.5%). For public law schools: $88,287 in 2013 to $89,471 in 2014 (1.3%). I haven’t QC-ed this year’s figures, but I’m confident they’re right.
Other amusing facts:
- Kudos to Barry and District of Columbia for correctly reporting their graduates’ debt levels this year. In 2014, both schools reported what must have been their graduates’ debt for their final year.
- I’m curious why some schools saw large leaps in debt, e.g. South Dakota (45%), Arkansas (Little Rock) (33%), Baylor (30%), Elon (22%), and Pace (20%). It doesn’t appear they blatantly misreported last year, but these are odd fluctuations, particularly given that some of these schools saw 15% drops in debt disbursed last year.
- Big ol’ raspberry to Howard for reporting what must be its graduates’ final year of debt: $24,021. Last year, it reported $123,485.
- Although the ABA hasn’t “acquiesced” yet, it’s nice to see Hamline’s numbers reported. I expected them to not appear.
That is all.