As a struggling, underpaid journalist I feel some envy but a lot of sympathy for those folks who are pushing through the Gonzaga University law program.
A recent post by National Jurist magazine came up with 60 "best value" law schools, based on the quality of education vs. the cost of the three years spent earning a degree. Gonzaga was among the group, landing in the B-minus category. Most of the 60 schools in the ranking are public law programs.
The University of Washington made the A-minus list. The University of Oregon landed in the B-plus group.
The criteria included a tuition rate lower than $35,000 per year; a bar pass rate higher than the state average; an average total indebtedness below $100,000; and employment rate nine months after graduation at 85 percent or more.
The listing noted two GU data points: the tuition per year at GU law school is $31,460. Which is about right for the kind of school it is. Its "average" student indebtedness is $94,074, which assumes a student is not getting any scholarship or grant money to pay for school. Only two other law schools in the group of 60 had a higher figure for debt: Lewis and Clark Law School (private school, $95,608) and the University of Minnesota ($94,087, which is $13 more than GU's).
And using ABA data, the ranking looked at bar exam pass rates. GU's pass rate is listed at 79.9 precent for first-time test takers. The UW scored 84.6 percent, Willamette had 84.9 percent and Lewis and Clark scored 80.5 percent.
The online edition of the 60 best-value schools is here.