Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Tape Delayedley

Third liveblogging of talk by Dean Edley (see first and second). If you're going to comment be fairly warned that they may appear in the Dean's next mass e-mail.

-- 3:05 Start: No wireless in class, hence the title and hence why I’m “liveblogging” on MS Word. Regents to have a meeting a week from today, hence the talk. They are going to vote on fees, including pro student fees. What’s on their agenda and ours? More staff than students. Is it tea time?

-- Eric Tallizzle is in the hizzouse! Late but loud entry. DE will have slides of his talk on the law school intranet. I’m thinking: We have an intranet when I’m fricken “liveblogging” his talk on Word?

-- 3:10 In US News rankings we get punished for spending per student. Why? (1) Tuition is less per student and allows less to spend (2) Endowment is smaller, and (3) annual cash flow and alumni giving is less. These three are not enough to overcome the state funding. In Leiter’s rankings we are 5.

-- What is the mission? Invest in four pillars: Students, Faculty, Research, Facilities. The state will not be doing more than we are currently doing. The people who think the state will wake up in a few years and spend more money on lawyers are on drugs. Basically he needs $500 million or $20 million a year. If we had this number, our endowment would be as large as our competitors (not richest but still). Another way of looking at it is that this is the cost of education in the 21st Century. Capital campaign will go to pay for a large part of this from alumni. Main campus and state will help pay for expansion of faculty. And lastly, student fees will pay also. Largest share of funds will go to student services and fin aid. $50 mil for new building is underestimate closer to $70, (which means closer to $90). We can’t expand faculty without a new building.

-- This also relates to our curriculum. Clinical programs. East Bay CLC, DP Clinic, Int’t Hum Rights, etc.

-- Burden sharing. Currently we charge in-state students 2/3 of market price. We used to charge 1/3. In mid-90s and early 2000s our fees stayed constant while competitors slowly increased and added resources. The problem is that when the fees were increased the pro fees went to the central campus for other purposes and did not stay at Boalt. So there was an increase in price without a corresponding investment in the business product, not a brilliant business strategy though some say it’s working for Microsoft.

-- DE Philosophy:

1. Any future PDF increases are for Boalt and Boalt only. No extra Boalt money to fund Celtic Poetry (how about Celtic law and ec?)

2. Increases come with added fin aid sufficient to ensure that Boalt stays ahead of others in our generosity.

3. Increase our fees so that in Year 5 our total fees are equal to Michigan’s (i.e., market - $5k).

-- Where does money go? Loan repayment and fellowship expansion, faculty expansion (some fac will be paid in full or in part with student fees.), Clinical education, Classroom renovation (including library improvements [note this has to be a joke given the e-mails from library staff]).

-- Proposal – currently we pay about $24k. Next year, UCOP will propose over a $1k increase which is less than the 6% increase that our competitors follow. This will widen the gap with our competitors not reduce it. DE proposes we close the gap over 5 years so that in FY 2011 we are at Michigan or Market minus $5k, whichever is less. Alternatively we can do it by cohorts, i.e. once you are admitted, you are guaranteed that your fees will only increase at 6.5% a year to keep up with market. The next year’s class will start from a higher base. By Fall 08, the 1Ls will pay the Michigan level. By fall 11, all three classes will be at Michigan. We’ve lost $80 million by not following this plan 10 years ago. If we follow UCOP instead of DE we will lose $25 million in the next 5 years.

-- 3:32 Some strangeness in the current Fin Aid system.

1. We give grants to larger numbers of students than our competitors.

2. We don’t consider parents resources in calculating need.

3. Our system effectively ignores summer income.

4. Most importantly, our tuition has risen sharply. A revamp of the policy is required for our aid.

-- Potential Improvements (these should come to a faculty decision by winter, see slide)

1. Improve summer fellowship. The increase in this money is no secret of DE, the PDF revenue supported this.

2. LRAP – Currently if loan amount is up to $55K and if your income is less than $40K, the school pays all of your debt. If debt higher, then you are responsible for the difference. What happens if you make more than $40K? There is an implicit tax of 50% meaning every dollar over $40k, the expectation is that half will go to loan repayment and LRAP will cover the rest. So if you borrowed the max of $55 and earned $45, then LRAP will pay $52.5. After $52. the rate goes up to 100%.

CHANGES. Raise loan limit to $85k. But this makes the notch above $52K income tremendous. But by eliminating the 100% contribution mark, then it creates a smooth transition. Another change might be to tax at 40% for income above 40k. That’s a policy and budget choice. Other changes: cover int’l positions, consider definition of legal job (journalist?) etc.

-- 3:45 What we have done so far?

1. Wifi (MY ASS!!!)

2. 5 faculty positions, etc.

-- What we can do to help

1. Explain other UCB students why its unfair to tax law students.

2. Explain that UCB and Haas students were hit hard by fee increases to shelter other UCB students and faculty.

3. Explain to University Admins that PDF principles (for improvements at Boalt) are vital.

4. Explain to everyone that access and excellence go hand-in-hand.

5. Help recruit next wave of Boalt faculty.

-- 3:47 Q and A.

-- Q: If your plan calls for matching Michigan, what about out of state fee?
DE: The out of state money never touches Boalt, it goes straight to UCOP. His preferred solution is to ask UCOP to reduce $7500 from out of state fee. This is a non-solution. More likely, it becomes part of our fin aid buyout package.

-- Q2 from same person: LRAP covers someone with more income and less loans, but you need loans because you’re broke. This doesn’t make sense.
DE: The changes are built on redesigned Fin Aid package.

-- Q: You had a bullet on funds for entering public interest students who are committed to a career in public interest.
DE: The idea is to have scholarships to upfront reduce their fees to entice them to come rather then saying LRAP will kick in later. But if they fall in love with IP and join Wilson Sonsini, then the funds will convert to a loan. Economically this is no different than LRAP.

-- Q (no such thing as dumb question just dumb people asking questions) So we don’t just change LRAP rules but we need funds too right? But what about not changing in time to meet increased fees?
DE: Not an issue. Dumb question. (Real Answer: Enough PDF increase next year can fund the cash flow needed for generous LRAP for people graduating this year. In other words, we can’t help those who are already out.

-- Q2 from this guy (he’s really annoying, and no one knows what the fuck he said but Merced was mentioned).
DE: As of now we have green light on the principle that future PDF increases will go to Boalt.

-- Q: Two ideas both of which may be half baked (DE: But they add up). Why don’t we do away with need based grants? If we are going to take high paying jobs, why should the school subsidize my education? Why not just invest in public interest up front?
DE: Competitors. On the other hand our current program is designed so that a lot of current students get a grant that bears no relation to actual need. This was based on the model that it ought to cost as close to free as possible. So Fin Aid theory was to buy down everyone’s legal fees. This theory does not make sense for 2008.

-- Q2 from same: Enforcing all these ideas. I don’t trust that you can keep state from picking our pockets.
DE: Full baked idea. There’s a guy in Las Vegas named Jim Rogers who is not a Boalt Alumn. He is the premier American philanthropist. He graduated from U Arizona. Went into business with Louis Weener (Boalt alumn). These two got filthy rich. Weener went to Rogers and said we need give some of our money away, we can’t take it with us when we die. A little while later Weener sells his half of the business for $1 on condition that Jim gives it away. Jim gives away money to U Arizona, and money to UNLV law school. He has committed $1 million to Boalt. He gave the money to Arizona with exactly SUCH a condition. The state tried to raise fees but then realized about the condition and backed off.

-- Q: LRAP, thanks for working on this. I didn’t quite get Abe’s question, sorry Abe if you’re reading this, but it seemed like you had a good idea for public interest funds.
DE: Yes.

-- Q: Have you thought about the difference in the cost of living in the Bay Area versus Ann Arbor and Charlottesville?
DE: Sugarman should think about this. This is why we are not going to market. We haven’t thought about this. Prof on Fin Aid Comm whose name I did not catch: We need data that we don’t have for some of these decisions.

-- Prof asks us: What kind of jobs should LRAP cover? Currently covers government lawyers and 503(c)(3) and 503(c)(4).
A: We shouldn’t cover military jobs because of don’t ask don’t tell. [This is the most retarded comment I have ever heard.]
A2: We shoudl cover all low paying jobs. [Get your JD and bus tables].

DE: There should be some link to legal education.
A3: Should we cover Int’l jobs?

-- Q: Intrigued by having LRAP instead of front end fellowship. That way people who go to Covington and then have to pay the school back for the fellowship aren’t painfully reminded that they used to be idealists.

END.

My thoughts: Again, much like the second town hall, this one did not add much that was new. Worth noting is DE's plan to get our fees in line with other comparable elite public law schools. In all honesty, since the talk, I have not had the occasion to really think about this all that much, but it is something that the Boalt Community should consider very carefully. My gut reaction is that I'm all for all that DE does, but this one seems like something that should not get my automatic knee-jerk support.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, this is great! But moderating our comments sucks...

11/09/2005 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bottom line today seemed to be that Boalt needs more money. The only way to get that more money at this point is from the students. So, our beloved Dean is going to go to the Regents and tell them to bump up the professional degree fee. My first reaction is that I don't have any more blood or sperm to sell, so *please* don't bump up the fees anymore. My more reasoned reaction is that it's true we need more money - so do it. Another year working as an attorney for PhillipMorris to pay off my loans isn't going to kill me. (I mean everyone knows smoking is bad for them anyway. Aren't you proud, ma?) However, keep the money at home. I left early, so maybe he said how he was going to keep the money at Boalt, but from previous conversations it didn't seem like he had a plan. I'm willing to pay for what I get. I just want to be sure I'm getting the benefit of my bargain.

11/09/2005 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feed. I love your blog.
I too am compelled by DE's presentation. But there is something in my gut that triggers hesitation. Maybe it's just the seemingly monolithic size of the affair: $500 MIL!

11/09/2005 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I support DE's move to raise tuition to market rate. I'm a California resident and I know that I'm getting a fantastic bargain. I really don't understand why the law school gave me a need-based $4500 rebate last year and another $3300 this year, since I'm going to work for a firm right after graduation. Honestly, I could have taken out more loans (though I'm not offering to give the money back right now--it'll be through donations later).

I generally like the idea of market-rate tuition for those who go the firm route and heavy subsidies for those who do public interest work. I entertain no notion of doing public interest work but I feel that those who have the drive should receive our support.

Finally, though cost of living is high, you get what you pay for (i.e. it's worth $5K more a year to live here than Ann Arbor).

11/10/2005 9:14 AM  
Blogger Chip Nelson said...

And then there are those of us in the heart of Dixie who wonder what all the fuss is about.

By the way it's officially the weekend, relax.

Cheers!

-Chip

11/11/2005 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So no one has comments?

At the end of the day, Boalt has got to keep its ranking up as a top school or else the student and faculty quality will go down. Boalt needs a long-term strategy to stay excellent. If that means raising fees in the short-term, fine. But, in the long-term, Boalt needs a kick-ass endowment. So, yes, Boalt needs to emulate Michigan if it wants to remain an elite state school.

11/11/2005 7:05 PM  
Blogger ESQ-JD said...

Oh, Charlottesville. What a wonderful town.

11/12/2005 6:33 PM  
Blogger G. said...

I really appreciate your taking notes on all of this stuff so that we alumni can (sort of) keep up with the happenings!

11/14/2005 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the SF Chronicle report on how 85% of the recent fee raises have gone to fat-cat perks.

11/14/2005 10:08 PM  

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