Just casualties of the recession? Or more signs of a bursting bubble? The only positive angle I can contribute is this: With a college degree now functioning, essentially, the way a high-school diploma used to, a law degree is the closest graduate equivalent to the traditional liberal-arts B.A. The biggest problem, though, is the staggering expense. Not all law schools are that expensive, but even state schools are pricey now, and for out-of-staters may cost as much as private schools. If I were looking at law school today I absolutely wouldn’t go into debt except for an absolute top school — like Yale, Stanford, Harvard. And even then I’d be wary. The debt is too enormous, and the prospects too uncertain — not only because of the economy, but because of the uncertain future even of big law firms.First point: What Reynolds describes is what I would describe how I might have pursued higher education. The more prestigious degree the better as I have today. Although if you describes the undergrad degree as functioning the way a high school diploma had in the past then I have one expensive high school diploma! If that's the case then I can understand why many would choose to go to a less-pricey state school.
Meanwhile, I have a structural solution: Make institutions of higher education partially liable when students are unable to pay student loans. A really strict system would make the school a co-signer, but making it even 5 or 10% liable for missed payments would really change the dynamic. Give schools some skin in the game. . . .
Second point: I think I can agree with this. Is it in a school's best interest to allow students to take on a debt they may not be able to repay? I do think it's a students responsbility to know how much debt they can take on, however the school could be affect in other ways if a student can't repay the debt. Especially if such schools expect to recieve alumni donations at some point. Since I went to a pricey private college I have to deal with such a debt myself.
Another aspect to consider I suppose is maybe we may want to re-evaluate the expected outcome of an undergrad degree. What should it's value be today, should it be considered as functioning the same way as a high school diploma?