Thursday, April 8, 2021
Insert here [ ] all of the usual (and correct) criticisms of the USNWR law-school rankings. And, insert here [ ] the necessary caveats relating to the fact that the rankings' new incorporation of student-loan-debt matters did not help my own institution. All that aside, it's far from clear to me why this incorporation makes much sense. Just two, not-at-all-original concerns, for now: First, as others have noted, it could create incentives to (all things considered) prefer admitting wealthier students. And (a more abstract point, I guess), it seems to neglect the likelihood that higher student-debt loads at graduation are related to students' calculations/predictions regarding the value of education, networks, credentials, etc., in which they are investing. We should care more, it seems to me, about whether those predictions are well-grounded than about the fact of student loans.
On the other hand: I kind of like the possibilitythat the new metric could disincentivize the practice of using transfer-admissions (and strategically-small first-year classes) as a revenue-enhancing mechanism. We'll see, I guess . . .