The Cost of Higher Education

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I read an article yesterday that really struck me. A 37 year old woman who attended law school ten years ago, is suing her law school. Since graduating in 2008, she has not been able to find a full-time salaried job as a lawyer and is blaming the school for not providing accurate data on its graduate’s success post law school. Anna Alaburda is now $170,000 in debt with loan interest of 8 percent.

I can’t help but feel aggravated while reading this. Those who know me well know I am all about personal responsibility, and I have written articles previously on the need to take ownership in which university you attend, and the amount you decide to pay for your education.

During my senior year of college, I took the LSAT and applied to quite a few law schools. I got in to several, and liked one in particular. I had interned the previous summer at a law firm and had quite a bit of exposure to the profession. Once I had narrowed down my search, I started looking at how much money each school was offering me in scholarships/grants. When I realized I would need to take out $110,000 in loans for tuition alone (that doesn’t cover any living expenses), I had to rethink if it was really what I wanted. After a lot of thinking and talking to those around me, I decided it wasn’t worth it. A guy I had met the previous summer who was also interning at my law firm, had graduated over a year ago and couldn’t find a job making over $50,000- he had $150,000 in student loans.

Had I decided to go to law school, I would be less than 2 years out of school and probably just like that other intern, with over $150,000 in debt. By not going to law school, I have been able to advance in my career where I now have 5 years of experience under my belt, and can guarantee I make more money today than I would had I gone to law school. It has also allowed me to spend the last 5 years saving money, contributing to my 401k, paying off my student debt from my undergraduate degree, buying a house, and taking vacations.

I’m not arguing that this is the solution for everyone, and who knows what my future earning potential would have been with a law degree, but I am happy with my decision. I’m in a job I love, working for a company I love.

2 thoughts on “The Cost of Higher Education

  1. So true! I actually got into Harvard, but with no funding, and decided not to go! It wasn’t for law school (it was for a policy masters degree), but I’m confident the salary after graduation wouldn’t have justified $100,000 in loans (I got no funding). It was a super hard decision to make at the time but I have zero regrets now!!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Frank! The schools I turned down were good schools, but not Ivy League. I’m not sure I would have made the same decision had I been accepted Harvard Law School (I didn’t even apply however). In the field of law, graduating from Harvard means great networking and a book full of resources that most other schools can’t offer. Glad to hear you don’t regret the decision and are doing well without all the debt!

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