Annual Meeting 2011

ABA Asks US Government to Address Heavy Student Loan Debts

In the face of mounting debt among the nation’s students, the ABA House of Delegates voted today to urge the U.S. government to provide for more flexible and competitive terms for federal student loans. The House also passed a resolution that calls for increased transparency in the reporting of employment data, graduate salaries and the “actual” cost of law school.

Resolution 111-A (PDF), which comes at a time when student loan debt outpaces credit card debt, “urges Congress to enact legislation that assists individuals who are experiencing financial hardship due to excessive levels of student loan debt.”

The disconnect between the prospective law students’ perception of their employment prospects at graduation and the reality of the market they will face prompted the proposal of Resolution 111-B (PDF), which “urges all ABA-Approved Law Schools to report employment data that identifies whether graduates have obtained full-time or part-time employment within the legal profession, whether in the private or public sector, or whether in alternative professions and whether such employment is permanent or temporary.”

“The issue of law school transparency is of vital importance to the profession and the public,” said David Wolfe, immediate-past chair of the Young Lawyers Division. “Prospective law students have a right to know; and we must ensure that prospective students have a real understanding of real employment data and the real costs of attending law schools.”

In separate resolution touching on law school diversity, the House passed by a voice vote today Resolution 102 (PDF), which calls for the “the Law School Admissions Council and ABA-approved law schools to require additional information from individuals who indicate on their applications for testing or admission that they are Native American, including tribal citizenship, tribal affiliation or enrollment number, and/or a ‘heritage statement.’” The resolution aims to avoid ethnic or identification misrepresentation and provide more accurate demographic statistics.

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