Saturday, June 12, 2004

Study Groups & Tuition

Since reading OneL, I keep thinking about study groups. During my undergrad, the closest I got to being part of a study group was a course on Wittgenstein - there were only 4 registered students - but it seems like the information in law school is more condusive to study groups.

My uncle, who graduated from a small law school in Minnesota (and went on to own a medical school), thinks that study groups could be useful for tough courses. My girlfriend shared her experience with study groups: one or two students do all the work while the others sit back and reap the benefits. My Fordham friend was in one study group this past year. They formed the group at the beginning of term but didn't start to meet regularly until closer to exams. What do you guys think about this? Are there readers out there that are already planning their study groups for Sept?


Another stressor facing law school students is tuition. On EZBoard's Queen's page, Abyscat posted a link to current tuition rates at Queen's. He writes:
It was surprisingly hard to find this information--perhaps they feel they have something to hide? Anyhow, the number is $9848.49, including all activity fees, etc. It's actually about $1000 less than I was expecting. I suppose we have Dalton to thank for this....

Yes, based on the 2003-2004 Prospectus we received with our acceptance letters, the figures quoted on the website are low. In fact, the "tuition fee" of $8,961 is the same figure quoted in the Prospectus under "tuition" for the 2003-2004 academic year. So basically, it appears as though they didn't raise the tuition to $10,663 as they had planned. Another figure that caught my eye was the $787.49 for a "Student Activity Fee." Did anyone else notice that law school students pay the most? Is that the money Queen's uses for our weekly wine & cheese parties? ;)

OK Class of 2007, how much are we looking at then long-term? Based on Queen's numbers, the total estimated costs of a year of law school are between $18,316 - $22,206. Let's go with $22,000, add $2000 each year for tuition hikes and inflation, and times it by 3 years: total possible debt is $70,000. (Did I calculate that correctly?) That's about $52,000 USD. Here's news for you: "as of 2002, the average U.S. medical student carried $104,000 in student debt upon graduation." So the maximum burden we face is roughly half of the average American medical student. Yes, I know, medical students are not law students. But I'm guessing the debt load of American law school students is pretty similar. That said, the average starting salary of a UofT Law graduate is $50,000 while the average starting salary of a Yale Law graduate is $76,464. More than anything I think we should be thankful we're getting our degrees while Canadian law schools are still affordable.

Word(s) of the Day: Ex Post/Ex Ante (BTW, this def comes from a great site for expanding your legal lexicon.)


At 2:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Based on Queen's numbers, the total estimated costs of a year of law school are between $18,316 - $22,206. Let's go with $22,000, add $2000 each year for tuition hikes and inflation, and times it by 3 years: total possible debt is $70,000."

Are tuition fees grandfathered at Queen's? If so, then you wouldn't have to worry about tuition hikes.

At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a clarification about tuition in Ontario: Before coming down with their Broken Promises Budget (as the media is calling it), the Ontario Liberals did a nice thing for us prospective students by freezing tuition at 2003-04 levels for at least the next two years. So it looks like we'll be paying exactly $9848.49 for the next two years (assuming activity fees don't change).

Regarding US vs. Canadian tuition situation: I can't agree that we have it easy in Canada. As you said yourself, salaries upon graduation are generally higher in the States, so (at best) an American student is no further behind their Canadian counterpart after graduation despite accumulating more debt.

But rather than comparing the US vs. Canadian situation, I think it's better to ask whether tuition costs too much. Using your number of $60000 (not including debt accumulated as an undergrad), this works out to a loan repayment of $500/month for 10 years assuming 0% interest! This is no big deal for a Bay Streeter pulling in $100k, but for a small town will-writer or a legal aid lawyer, it's going to hurt.

At 4:37 AM, Blogger BasiaBernstein said...

Legal education is the education of individuals who intend to become legal professionals or those who simply intend to use their law degree to some end, either related to law


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