Americans have lamented the skyrocketing cost of college tuition for years, yet its meteoric rise continues unabated. No matter how outrageously expensive it gets, it just keeps on rising, since our society’s credential-mania means that people with less credentials than their competitors are assumed to be lazy and unambitious, even if the course of study leading to the required credentials teaches obsolete skills or useless information.
Around 1960, law school tuition was less than a tenth of what it is today, after adjusting for inflation: “Median annual tuition and fees at private law schools was $475 (range $50-$1050); adjusted for inflation, that’s $3,419 in 2011 dollars. The median for public law schools was $204 (range $50 – $692), or $1,550 in 2011 dollars. [For comparison, in 2009 the private law school median was $36,000; the public (resident) median was $16,546.]”
Despite the fact that law school was 90 percent cheaper than it is today, people way back then already worried about its considerable cost, and the level of student loan debt: “The cost of attending law school at least doubled in the [past] 16 years…, raising the question whether able, but impecunious, students are being directed away from law study. . . almost half of the schools reported that students were reluctant to take out loans owing to ‘fear of debts, particularly during the low income years immediately after graduation.’” Read More