There Ought To Be A Law

There Ought To Be A Law

So last night I met some friends for drinks who are in town for a conference at McCormick Place.  Two great guys that are physical therapists in KC and Arizona respectively.  They love what they do and really help a lot of people.

The subject of student loans came up.  Both of these guys are also married to physical therapists that went to Northwestern University for graduate school with them.

It takes two and a half years to finish PT school.  By way of comparison, law school is three years.  But while law school at least offers the potential for a high income (although most don’t achieve that), physical therapists have somewhat of a limited income opportunity.  There are plenty of jobs available, but it’s not highly likely that in ten years these guys will make much more than they do today.

When my friends graduated PT school 10 years ago, tuition was $27,000 a year.  That to me is an outrageous figure.  When I graduated from Chicago Kent in 1994, tuition was around $20,000 per year.  At the conference yesterday, my friends learned that the cost for NU physical therapy school is now $43,000 per year.

In other words, you better really love being a PT because you are going to come out of school with more than $100,000 in debt.

I read the other day that the average graduate has at least $25,000 in debt.  How is the cost of an education increasing so much?  Why isn’t there a law that caps these prices?  I know that the schools need money to pay teachers, pay for facilities, etc., but $43,000 a year for about 500 hours of instructional time????  That comes to around $86 for every one hour class period that you attend or don’t attend.  If you were getting one on one training that might make some sense, but in a classroom of 25 people, the school is compensated over $2,000 for one hour of time.

I’m no anti free-market or capitalism person.  But just as the housing bubble burst, there has to be an end at some point to the cost of education madness.  The question is, will prices go back to what they were 10 years ago or will they just flatten out?  I’m confident that without a good law being passed, there won’t be any helpful changes. 

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  • Great points about the rising cost of education. I went to a public law school in 2006 and found myself a tuition waiver for my 2nd and 3rd year. When I became a law school graduate in 2009 between credit card bills and student loans I came out with just under $60k in debt. I feel "lucky" to have such "low" debt considering some of my classmates have over $100k, but I will most likely be paying this off for the next 10 years + as my interest rates pack on more debt. Regardless, I don't regret the path I took, but perhaps I would've budgeted my loan money better had I known had bad the job market turned out for law grads.

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