But I couldn't help uttering the song's title while reading Martha Walters Barnett's enthralling piece on the so-called "Gainful Employment Rule." For the ignorant (a sharp majority of the readership), the "Gainful Employment Rule" would peg an educational institution's ability to receive student loan benefits to the loan payments of that school's graduates. In short, estimated annual loan payments should be less than 8% of annual earnings in years 3 and 4 post-graduation.
Barnett, an attorney (retired) with Holland & Knight, sniffs rancid bullshit and brings a fire hose of truthy hot air freshener:
Imagine law schools whose graduates diversify the profession, contribute to the public good and have among the lowest loan repayment default rates. And now, imagine if those law schools were shut down because of a misguided and misinformed federal regulation?Shit, let's continue the theme:
Imagine law schools shut down.If only John Lennon had conveyed that message instead of "peace" and other non-exploitative hippie poo. . .
It's painful if you try
No rock of justice below us
Life on Earth would die.
Imagine all the people
Needing a lawyer's aid
Imagine there's no loans
It's quite scary to do
No one to pay my salary
No more 3Ls looking screwed
Imagine all the people
Living a lawless life
You may say that I'm a schemer
But I'm not the only one
There's a massive surplus of lawyers
And we need every single one!
Back to the article. Ms. Barnett urges that law graduates are different when it comes to earning those future paychecks*:
[T]he rule shouldn’t be applied on a “one-size-fits-all” basis to programs ranging from culinary schools to law schools. Among other things, the rule ignores the fact that the earnings of graduates of “first professional degree” programs - such as doctors and lawyers - increase exponentially over time. The rule measures "debt to earnings" long before those with professional degrees will tap their higher earnings to pay down their student loans.Sometimes I think people must read my work and think "LSTC, you sly bastard, you're making this up!" No, here, Martha Walters Barnett did.
All the time, I hear law graduates complain, "why did I get a law degree if I'm only making $10.00 an hour folding clothes?" Well, math whiz, it's time to learn about super-exponententiality.
If you make $10.00 an hour now, that means your earnings will grow exponentially over time. How exponentially? Sky's the limit, bro'. Let's say you have minimal exponent growth factor of 1.1.
Year 1: 10.00 ^ 1.1 = 12.50See? With the power of exponential growth, your modest $10.00/hour earnings now becomes the equivalent of $800,000 per year (not including benefits!) by year 10. Tap that earnings potential and pay down those loans, you mold scraping! And don't worry - even if you're guaranteed* a lower exponential return rate, it's no doubt higher than the de minimis exponential rate at which your student loans increase.
Year 2: 12.50 ^ 1.1 = 16.09
Year 3: 16.09 ^ 1.1 = 21.25
Year 4: 21.25 ^ 1.1 = 28.84
Year 5: 28.84 ^ 1.1 = 40.36
Year 6: 40.36 ^ 1.1 = 58.42
Year 7: 58.42 ^ 1.1 = 87.74
Year 8: 87.74 ^ 1.1 = 137.25
Year 9: 137.25 ^ 1.1 = 224.53
Year 10: 224.53 ^ 1.1 = 385.83
It is worth noting that if the GE rule were to apply to all ABA-accredited law schools, some well-regarded private, non-profit law schools would fail. Furthermore, if applied to law schools, this rule would encourage institutions to exclude applicants and even dismiss students who would have to borrow significant sums to finance their legal education.You're damn tootin', Martha. No way should law schools be incentivized to lower tuition or reallocate scholarship funding to be based on financial need rather than an LSAT score. Do these jackholes at the DOE not understand the rankings games we play?
The DOE is obviously out of its element. They need insider help.
Instead of burdening law schools with misplaced regulations, the Education Department should follow the lead of the ABA.Nice! Let's follow it up with a personal touch:
I can personally attest to the quality and practice-ready education offered at one such law school, Florida Coastal, from which my son, a successful practitioner, graduated.InfiLaw anecdote for the win! If we were playing propaganda bingo, Martha would be getting the death stare from depressed old people with diabetes, 'cause she's a winner five times over.
To round out the Beatles theme, I would suggest that the DOE is seeking to become the proverbial Taxman; that when you're sixty-four the loans will surely be paid off with your billions; that your law degree will, in fact, give you your money; and that money can buy you love . . . of the lucrative law (also hookers, Paul. Hookers.).
But perhaps the best words of wisdom can be inspired by one of Ringo's solo efforts:
Got to pay your dues if you wanna wear nice shoes,It sure isn't, Ringo, not with all these government fatcats trying to meddle with our free-market exploitation with their "rules." Law schools aren't like for-profit colleges. Why? Because we say so. That's why.
And you know it don't come easy.
Hey DOE shrews, don't you read the evenin' news?
JD earnings grow exponent'ly.
I don't ask for much, I only want your trust,
And you can surely trust this ind'stry.
These earnings of mine, they keep growing all the time,
And you know it just ain't easy.
*not a warranty, guarantee, or promise of any kind; legally-unreliable puffery despite our presentation of such facts as a universal and obvious truth.