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Law student says keep my degree, and I'll take back the tuition

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BC Law student asks for money back

Jessica Heslam By Jessica Heslam

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


A third-year Boston College Law School student facing dismal job prospects and a mountain of student loan debt has offered the prestigious Hub institution a unique deal: Keep the degree ... and give me back my tuition!


In an open letter to BC Law’s Interim Dean George Brown posted on EagleiOnline— an online student-run newspaper at BC’s law school — the anonymous dissatisfied customer said soon-to-be grads are about to enter “one of the worst job markets in the history of our profession” and an “overwhelming majority” of them can’t find jobs.


“We are discouraged, scared, and in many cases, feeling rather hopeless about our chances of ever getting to practice law,” the student wrote.


The law school student’s missive then proposed a “solution to this problem.”


The student offered to leave law school without a degree at the end of the semester in exchange for a full tuition refund — a move the erstwhile aspiring attorney says would help BC’s US News ranking because it wouldn’t have to report another graduate’s state of unemployment.


BC Law is not warm to the idea. The law school said in a statement yesterday it is “deeply concerned” about its students’ job prospects but no institution of higher education can guarantee a job after graduation. “What we can do is provide the best education possible, and work together to provide as many career opportunities as possible,” the statement said.


Glenn Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor who blogs at instapundit.com, said the job market for law students has weakened considerably over the last few years, mostly in the Northeast and on the West Coast.


Reynolds offered this advice pro bono: “Can somebody actually get a refund for their tuition money? He’s not going to win a lawsuit.”


Cornell Law School professor and legalinsurrection.com blogger William Jacobson said: “I doubt they guaranteed him a particular job or level of income upon graduation, so I don’t see what his claim would be.”


But Reynolds said the letter “underscores the plight” of a lot of people who have gone to expensive, private law schools with the expectation that they’d have a decent shot of landing a “good paying job” if they did reasonably well.


“Now, they have all these student loan debts that they can’t even escape in bankruptcy and their employment prospects look a lot bleaker than they looked when they were enrolled,” Reynolds said.


Tuition and housing costs nearly $60,000 a year at BC Law School. The school’s Web site says 97.6 percent of the Class of 2009 got jobs in law firms, government, business or academia, with a median “private sector” salary of $160,000; $35,000 in the “public sector” and $57,000 in “government.”


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