I know there have been articles suggesting that the scam blog movement is responsible for the decrease in applications for law school, but is that merely a simplistic explanation?
I'm sure the blogs probably convinced some people not to bother with it. However, there have been vocal complainers for a few years.
I think that what we've seen is an equivalent of a housing bubble. Too many factors compounded each other into a perfect storm. Essentially, the price point has risen to the point where demand is naturally going to slack off. It's just like if you had a Porsche for sale. Maybe everybody wants one, but only a minority can afford it. Law school has become the Porsche.
However, because of what law school is, people are only now just realizing that it is a Porsche.
I recall a few years ago now when I first considered applying to law school. It had been a few years between my undergraduate days and when I applied, so tuition had skyrocketed since then....for school in general.
I saw the hourly tuition rates and swallowed hard, but decided to do it because I felt that it was a good choice. When I told my friends how much the tuition rates were, they almost passed out! I too felt like I was crazy. But I did it.
Fast forward five years later. Tuition rates at these schools were now about a couple of hundred dollars more per hour than during the time that I started going to school.
However, undergraduate tuition also escalated. Those people are coming out of undergraduate school owing several thousand dollars more than someone did just a few short years before. So now, you have undergraduate students already saddled with a massive amount of debt being called upon to decide if it is worth paying another $100,000 on top of what they already owe.
The ones who can do math realize that it's simply become too expensive.
Even so, I'm willing to bet that the economy played its own part in continuing to jack up tuition. People used graduate school as a place to hide out while the economy improved. Yes, people simply borrowed the money and "hid out" at school and purposefully ignored the sticker cost. This probably accounted for the increased applications despite tuition costs.
However, since it is becoming apparent that nobody is finding jobs in any field, people are beginning to perceive that it is a waste of their time to go to school some more.
Yes, it has become so expensive that people are being forced to look at what they are paying.
Kids who already owe $100,000 in undergraduate debt are being confronted with whether they can take on the additional cost of more schooling. Having some idea about what their student loan payments are going to be like, they simply acknowledge that they can't afford that much debt. So, people who weren't die hard lovers of the idea of law school are simply dropping off.