It’s Just a Different World

So, today I had to go to Vanderbilt’s Law School and wait on the elevator to come and there was a bulletin board full of “buy this bike,” “become a cheerleader,” and “rent this apartment.”

I want to talk about the “Rent this apartment” sign.  It said, “Perfect for students.”  A one bedroom apartment in the brand new Adelicia building, which is just a block from the school, true enough. Two thousand dollars a month.

The cost of going to Vanderbilt’s law school is roughly sixty thousand dollars a year.

I’m assuming that, if you have twenty-four thousand dollars to pay for rent a year, you’re probably also paying the full sixty thousand dollars to go to law school.

Who are these people who can afford to spend eighty four thousand dollars a year without having a job?

I mean, honestly, for exactly how many students is that place “perfect” for?

Eh, well, I guess they only need one.

8 thoughts on “It’s Just a Different World

  1. Who are these people who can afford to spend eighty four thousand dollars a year without having a job?

    My question is who are these people who can spend eighty four thousand a year WITH having a job?

  2. Bear in mind though, it probably won’t really be $84,000. Law schools tend to be much more generous with financial aid than undergraduate schools, because of a much smaller and more competitive recruiting pool. Wash U offered me a huge scholarship, completely unsolicited. So I’ll have a little extra to spend on housing, which is obviously pricey in St. Louis.

    But not for $2000 a month.

  3. Not to mention, it is pretty easy to borrow money to pay for law/med school. A lot of students live entirely off loans (the workload prevents having any kind of job), and even if they graduate with 6 figure debt, a year or two of living reasonably after graduation is all it takes to pay that off.

  4. How many years it takes to pay off loans for law school (and other types of school too!) depends a lot on what you are going to do after school. Planning on going anywhere near public interest or working for the government? Plan on more (probably a lot more) years to pay off the loans.

  5. I sort of feel like I need to reverse the perception here, fed by our so-charming Chancellor (who, when asked about the gigantic increase of law school debt over the last ten years or so, ignored the fact that his salary is probably a big chunk of said cost, and announced that it’s the “lavish lifestyle” lived by the students): from my experience, nearly all of the students have gigantic loan debt. I myself am living on something like 15K/yr (plus whatever I make coaching debate), out of 50K/yr in debt (max amount allowed). While some (read: shitty) law schools do offer big scholarships, a top-20 school like Vanderbilt is pretty unlikely to give much money out. (Granted, lots of people don’t have banks willing to lend them 50k/yr for three years; but it doesn’t really feel all that much of a privilege when I’m handing so much of it back).

    I am aware, anecdotally, of “rich kids” here and there, and perhaps the ad is geared toward them, but I think that most people are in my situation: crossing our fingers that the salary we land post-graduation is enough above the comparable salary given to a second- or third-tier graduate that we can feel glad that we turned down smaller schools with bigger payouts.

    Law school debt definitely does mean that government or public interest work is mostly off the table (though Vandy has some sort of debt forgiveness thing, I think); on the other hand, anyone who can get into Vandy definitely had the option to go free or mostly free to a lower ranked school, and assumed the risk of huge debt by going here. The system kind of creates a weird cycle in which people who change their mind about firm work midway through law school can’t switch tracks because of crippling debt, and people who go into public interest work don’t have as good an education (if one assumes that tier ranking equals educational value; probably not true given the non-edu-related factors which go into tier ranking).

    Anyway… I suppose my point was, there’s lots wrong with law school and law school people, but please don’t assume we’re all sitting in our 2K/month condos saying “tralala, shall I buy a Prada briefcase with all my spare change, or YSL shoes?”

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