September 24, 2012
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Carnage in 1L Enrollments. The question is, will we see this spread to undergraduate enrollment, too?
Meanwhile, I was talking to someone at a small, posh private law school recently who said their entering class turned out to be 30 fewer than expected. That’s probably about a million-dollar budget hit, give or take. And remember that law school budgets are typically 80-90 percent salary, making it hard to cut spending quickly. I expect there’s a lot of that going around.
UPDATE: A reader emails:
Today you posted: “The question is, will we see this spread to undergraduate enrollment, too?” The followup question is What are we going to do with all these kids when they graduate. (Like my son – whom we can’t afford to send to school like ITT for AA 2 yr degree – but can’t get course he needs at Southern CA community college – because everyone else is going there.) For profit schools are extremely expensive and feed into the student loan machine. School district vocational schools are overburden, and southern CA community colleges are also overburden. Is there a future market in more moderately priced vocational schools aimed at specialized jobs – letting kids earn specialization in highly skilled jobs – sort of like a two year campus? Maybe some private schools can be converted. Oh, forgive me, I said a naughty work – “future market” implying “entrepreneur”. Please allow me to correct myself “The government needs to do something”.
In some areas, tradesmen’s unions provide training in things like welding, electrical work, plumbing, etc. And you can get your Commercial Driver’s License fairly cheaply and if you go to the oil-boom areas they’re paying truck drivers pretty well, though I don’t know if they’ll hire 18-year-olds. The bigger problem, however, is that the economy isn’t growing fast enough — to the extent it’s growing at all — to create jobs that will absorb new graduates. That’s something that the govenrment can do something about, by regulating and taxing less. But, alas, such an approach provides insufficient opportunities for graft and is hence unpopular with the political class.