Monday, March 17, 2008

This time Harvard's reducing tuition at the law school

You may recall a prior post concerning Harvard's tuition reduction for undergrad students. Stanford and Yale (and others with equally ridiculous endowments) matched shortly thereafter.

Today Harvard announces a new plan that would eliminate tuition for 3Ls who promise to work 5 years for non-profits or government.

I found the article unclear whether the tuition elimination would be in addition to their current form of LRAP. If these students ALSO have LRAP, Boalt no longer has a tuition advantage for people interested in those fields.

Assuming the pattern continues with peer institutions matching, how do you see Berkeley continue to compete?


Blogger Patrick said...


Happy Saint Patrick's Day.


(that's all i can offer)

3/18/2008 1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This move underscores how foolish Edley has been. He fought and fought to get Harvard-level tuition and in the process destroyed the public nature of Boalt. A few years ago, Boalt had a significant recruiting edge for public-interest-oriented students thanks to its lower tuition. Now that the tuition is pretty much the same as everywhere else, Boalt loses this edge, just in time for Harvard to become much cheaper. On Edley's part, this represents either a gross miscalculation or misplaced values. Either way, I doubt Boalt will still have a critical mass of public-interest students in a few years. But I guess students going into corporate law give more money as alums...

3/18/2008 6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How are we going to compete? are you people crazy? Is it presumed that every single person interested in public interest who comes to boalt was accepted at Harvard, but turned it down to come here? I highly doubt that. Maybe we can't be the best financially supporting program in the country- our endowment limits that. But top 5 ain't bad.

Stop whining and start proposing some major fundraising changes before you complain.

3/18/2008 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

last I checked, we were law students. our job is to pay tuition to attend a law school, whose job it is to fundraise.

3/18/2008 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boalt's appeal is really declining. I wish I hadn't come here.

3/18/2008 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bunch of whiners.

TJ, weren't you just complaining about the exorbitant cost of the LRAP in another post? Even IF all the PI kids went to Harvard (and see 7:26 for some good reasons why it is dumb to think that will happen), wouldn't the decrease in LRAP participation make you happy?

You can be grouchy about spending too much on LRAP. Or, you can be grouchy about failing to "compete" with other schools that do a better job. But you can't be grouchy about BOTH.

Sheesh. Now *I* am getting grouchy.

Next post, say something nice/fun/pleasant about our school. It IS nice to be here. Let's touch on that for a while.

3/18/2008 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Voice O'Reason said...

Harvard has all the money on the planet, and they are to be commended for spending a little of it in a socially responsible way. I don't think that makes Dean Edley "foolish."

If your ultimate goal is to do public interest work, there is a way to gain legal experience while receiving significant funding. I call it working for a firm for a few years.

3/18/2008 11:45 AM  
Blogger tj said...

11:06 - Although "whiner" may aptly describe me in most cases, it wasn't my intention to whine in this case (trust me, I'll let you know when I'm whining - it usually comes in the form of a much longer post, i.e. 49ers presentation).

My question at the end of this post asking whether we would be able to compete was not intended as a negative statement, but more as a thought provoking question to lead off the discussion.

I guess I haven't made up my mind on this issue. If I had to make up my mind at this moment, I'd say that Harvard is simply seeking a publicity stunt. I agree with the Stanford dean in the article that LRAP programs are better targeted at ensuring people stay in public interest.

What I can say, however, is that we're most definitely losing in the court of public opinion - we're covered in the media for budget shortfalls and raising fees while the Ivy's are flush with cash and lowering fees.

3/18/2008 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think our "public interest" graduates need to do a better job of getting money redistributed from those wealthy elites to our public law schools. C'mon "public interest" graduates!--figure out a legal argument that will allow us to drive a big truck over to Cambridge and take their money. LRAPs as far as the eye can see will be our salty reward.

3/18/2008 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harvard has way more financial resources than any other university. Of course they can give cheap education if they choose to do so.

Sadly, Boalt and other law schools don't have this option, and they must make do with what they have.

3/18/2008 4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Screw making do. Let's draft some legislation to tax those endowments and get our friends in the liberal media to promote it. Who's got a big truck we can use?

3/18/2008 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't understand all this annoyance at Harvard and the ivies and other private schools for having more money. yes, it's true they do - but it's not solely because of tuition. they are amazing fundraising machines that know a thing or two about instilling school spirit and getting their alumns to donate. what we really need is less of this self-entitled bureaucratic red-tape nonsense that seems to come with public schools that complain about lack of funding, spend millions on a ridiculous name branding issue and devote no real energy on fundraising.

but honestly what makes me really sad is that there is a real lack of any sort of Boalt pride or school spirit (sometimes i feel like the only Boaltie who is a fan of Boalt). Really without that, our endowment will never be able to rival the schools we want to compete with.

Boost school pride => boost alumni pride => boost alumni donations. Why not have class reunions where our alumni adopt a classroom or courtyard or hallway and fix it up, heck i wouldn't even mind something like this. But first thing's first, we really need to get a decent alumni network going.

3/18/2008 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone please start a new thread to discuss the recent BHSA race emails that came to light today? For those who don’t know, BHSA has been holding secret meetings, targeted at certain race groups, in an effort to rig the election. Someone put copies of the email in our lockers. Discuss…

3/18/2008 11:23 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

10:55, you must be a current Boaltie and possibly a Harvard grad (at least an Ivy). Allow me to shed some historical light.

As late as 2002/03, fees for attending a public California law school were around $12,000 per year. That's it. In those days, the Regents, deans, students, and anyone else could get away with saying, "LRAP? Who needs LRAP? Did we mention it costs $12,000????" Before that, it was even cheaper. There was of course the token fundraising (see, e.g., Brobek Room 105), token alumni events, and a bunch of other token stuff. But as you say, there was no real attachment to the school from anyone.

And then the economy turned.

Not to make light of the situation, but the little scandal with Dean Dwyer was the best thing that could have happened to Boalt at that time. Edley is a Harvard guy. In fact he's the first Dean of Boalt who is not homegrown. He understands the well-oiled fundraising machine that they have going on in Cambridge.

Even before assuming office, Edley ran around the state and the country catching up with prominent alumns. Hey I'm the new Dean, I want to make this an elite school and I need your help. Pocket books opened up. He had a vision, he had passion, and he was a Harvard man. As he toured the state a bit more, and learned the bureaucracy of the UC, he took a few steps back.

But most importantly, he has realized what Boalt, UCLA, Hastings and Davis should have realized about 25 years ago: we cannot rely on public funding. Period. Full stop. Those who complain about rising fees, (6:12), must live with their heads in the sand. The California Legislature doesn't give a rat's a$$ about you. It really doesn't. They will slash the UC bugdet like blonde in a Rob Zombie movie. This in turn means the Regents hikes the Professional Degree Fee (PDF) to cover the losses.

So Edley decided to soften the impact a few ways: First, while you can't really commit the Regents to any position, Edley has basically gotten them to agree to not raid the PDF to balance the UC budgets. So the increases in fees that you're seeing are all going back into Boalt. Why? Because we desparately need it. Second, alumni networking at Boalt is like Harvard compared to Cal undergrad and even UCLA undergrad. You won't see much of it until you graduate (or if you're an admit attending a reception hosted by some old school partner at some firm). Third, he's hitting up corps. Hey if Brobek can have Room 105, why not have some Google patent center or something?

With rising fees, we needed a revamped LRAP. That came a couple of years later. It sounds like they might be amending it some more. But Boalt's commitment to public interest/sector won't change overnight. As long as the increase in your fees are staying in the school, and being used to hire faculty, capital improvements, expansion, etc., alumni will give.

This is a long-winded of saying if you think Boalt's fundraising sucks now, you should have seen what it was like before Edley.

3/18/2008 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous, there's a lively discussion already happening at the Boalt blog that wont be mentioned here by name (tho N&B is included on its blogroll...)

3/19/2008 12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops, meant to say "anonymous 11:23PM" (re: BHSA email)

3/19/2008 12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple of points from a recent Boalt alum:

1. There have always been a handful of loud disgruntled Boalties, but they have never been representative. The quality of life at Boalt is far better than the competition.

2. Most Boalt alumni I know are very fond of Boalt and do more for each other than current students are likely to realize. Edley's efforts to improve the network and squeeze more dollars out of it are a productive step in the right direction.

3. It would be a HUGE step forward if Boalt would be more responsive to students' needs while they are still students. Especially by improving the CDO. Especially with respect to public interest & public sector jobs. For example, hiring more staff would quickly pay for itself in future alumni gifts.

4. As for Harvard stealing potential PI/PS Boalties, I'd turn them down again even with the new policy, but that isn't the point. We aren't losing PI/PS students to Harvard, but to the firms. A large majority of potential PI/PS students are seduced away by the firms by the time they leave Boalt. This has something to do with tuition and LRAP, but it also has to do with the inadequate resources devoted to helping grads find PI/PS jobs. It is almost a sure thing that a Boaltie can find a firm job before graduation (and probably by December of 3L year). PI/PS prospects are much worse, but they don't need to be. The end result is that because firm jobs become much harder to land if you start looking only when the PI/PS jobs don't pan out, risk averse Boalties end up in firms. We can fix this.

3/19/2008 10:38 AM  

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