Could reforming the federal student-loan program be a way to halt the skyrocketing cost of attending law school? At the 2018 ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, the American Bar Foundation gathered a panel together to discuss the issue in The Perennial (and Stubborn) Challenge of Cost, Affordability and Access in Legal Education: Has it Finally Hit the Fan?
“If I have to put the blame for the title of this panel on any one place, I would put it on these student loan programs and the fact that they are basically unregulated, really, in terms of the amount,” said Barry Currier, the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education.
“The students can borrow as much money through those programs as they want,” Currier said. “So if Harvard Law School or New England Law School said, ‘Tuition at our school next year is $200,000, and living expenses are $50,000,’ the federal government wouldn’t say, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ They would say, ‘Where can we send that check for $250,000?’” …
Currier and Stephen Daniels, a senior research professor at the American Bar Foundation, both drew attention to a current bill that would impact the federal student-loan program and potentially cause havoc for law schools and law students. HR 4508, the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform Act was introduced in the House of Representatives in December.