Sunday, May 8, 2011

Off with his head!

'No, no!' said the Queen. 'Sentence first - verdict afterwards.'
The NY Times has just (I started this post a week ago and have been preoccupied) widely publicized how both the ABA and US Snooze are asleep at the switch. Again. Law Students Lose the Grant Game as Schools Win is just what the doctor ordered for the legal eduction carTTTel. The article managed to hit print the same weekend as two of the biggest stories of the era but the message will get out; it is was the second most-emailed business story on the Times's site.

The article features a victim of Golden Gate University, a toilet that rubs shoulders with unranked superluminaries such as Florida Coastal, Cooley, and Regent. Like other administrations that aspire to keep their jobs, it games its ranking by baiting well-qualified applicants with merit scholarships and then revoking them after 1L. The students themselves refer to it as "bait and switch."

There were few merit scholarships when I went to school. US Snooze changed everything.

Schools are ranked heavily on the LSAT scores and GPAs of their incoming students. The scholarships allow them to buy a better class and higher ranking. The gotcha is that the scholarships carry grade stipulations. The combination of a vicious grading curve and stacking the scholarship recipients in the same section ensures that many will lose them.

Basically, scholarship recipients compete against each other, though most don't realize that when they sign. Reminds me of the two hikers being chased by a bear. One pauses to take his boots off so he can run faster. The other yells, "Why are you stopping? You'll never outrun him!" The guy replies, "I don't have to outrun him, just you."

A side effect whose significance depends on your leanings is that money for need-based scholarships is diverted to merit scholarships.

Naturally, neither the ABA nor US Snooze track how many students retain their scholarships. Why should they? They're supreme beings; however, USNWR's Robert Morse's comments were so appalling that only Nando could do them justice.
Why is merit scholarship retention not part of the U.S. News data haul? “The main reason is that we haven’t thought about it,” said Robert Morse, who oversees the rankings. “It’s not a great answer, but it’s an honest answer.”

Then Mr. Morse thought about it.

“This isn’t meant to be sarcastic,” he said, “but these students are going to law school and they need to learn to read the fine print.”
Got that? They need to learn to read the fine print AFTER THEY'VE ALREADY SIGNED IT. The asshole is channeling Lewis Carroll.

Bob Morse also has investment advice: "Don't gamble. Buy some good stock. Hold it until it goes up and then sell it. If it doesn't go up, don't buy it!" Oh, that was Will Rogers. Never mind.

Restoring Dignity to the Law has pointed out there is no fine print to read at GGU. Naturally, the article has attracted plenty of attention elsewhere. Morse himself came down from the dark tower to issue exculpatory comments and point a finger at the schools.

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