Legal educators on several blogs have been discussing the ABA’s decision to eliminate expenditure data from the annual questionnaire completed by law schools. I called Scott Norberg, Deputy Consultant to the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, to find out more about the change.
Professor Norberg noted that the expenditure elimination is part of a larger project to slim down the annual questionnaire. Most of the changes went into effect last year, but the Section’s Council waited a year to implement elimination of the expenditure section. No objections arose to the proposed change, so the Council adopted it for this fall’s questionnaire.
Although the annual questionnaire will no longer ask explicitly about expenditures, it does request information about a law school’s reserve funds and debt (p. 7). These questions will allow the ABA to identify schools that may be in financial trouble, without needing more detailed expenditure data every year.
That’s a relief from a consumer protection perspective. But do we have to worry now that US News will incorporate financial reserves or debt level into its ranking scheme? I’m not sure I even want to think about that one.