National Jurist Ranks South Texas as One of the
Best Value Private Law Schools
The South Texas College of Law has been ranked as one of the best value private law schools, according to a new study by The National Jurist.
The National Jurist ranked private law schools in addition to conducting an overall “Best Value” ranking for the first time. It created the Best Value rankings in 2004 as a way to honor schools that took the cost of legal education seriously. The overall rankings will be published in October.
“With rising tuition, it has become increasingly difficult for private law schools to make the Best Value list,” said National Jurist Editor-in-Chief Jack Crittenden. “But some schools have made great strides to keep debt low through scholarships, even if tuition is high. We felt it was important to recognize the schools that deliver excellent results and have a lower debt load than most private law schools.”
The study was designed to identify and recognize law schools that help students pass the bar exam and land jobs without burdening them with huge debt. The study looked at tuition, debt and cost-of-living and then compared those numbers with percent of students employed and bar pass rates. Schools had to meet all of the criteria to be included in the rankings. The National Jurist did apply a weighting system to determine each school’s grade.
South Texas received a B- grade, along with Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Drake University, Emory University, Lewis & Clark Law School, Mercer University, SMU Dedman, St. Mary’s University, Stanford University, University of Richmond and Yale Law School.
Brigham Young University (A) and Baylor University School of Law (B) were ranked the best value private law schools, with Notre Dame Law School (B), Duquesne University (B) and Hamline University (B) rounding out the top five.
Quinnipiac University, Villanova University and Washington and Lee University also made the list with each receiving a grade of C+.
The top five private law schools have an indebtedness below $105,000 and met all other criteria. Twelve other private law schools met all criteria when the debt ceiling was raised to $115,000. By comparison, only four law schools in the overall ranking exceed a debt load of $100,000. But that is up from three last year, and none in 2011.
The study used data from the class of 2012. Law schools began to offer more scholarships for the class of 2014, and increased them dramatically for the 2015 and 2016 classes, according to National Jurist.
“It is possible that debts will reach a high-water mark with the Class of 2013,” Crittenden said. "We are also now seeing tuition going down at some schools. These are very good signs for the future of legal education."