Tags: Grassley | law | student | loans | ABA

Grassley: ABA Must Ensure Law Students Pay Back Loans

Thursday, 11 Aug 2011 08:40 AM

By T.M. Golub

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In an effort to ensure that law students can pay back their taxpayer-funded loans, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has reiterated his request to the American Bar Association (ABA) for clarification on the quality of their accrediting process for the nation’s law schools.
 
“The organization’s inadequate response to my letter raised additional questions that merit drilling down further,” Grassley said. “For example, the taxpayers are on the hook for any defaulted student loans. The American Bar Association seems confident that students will be able to pay back their loans, yet also acknowledges uncertain job prospects for lawyers. It’s important to examine this further and try to reconcile these statements.”
 
Grassley wrote a letter on July 11 citing a news report which noted deficiencies at the ABA’s accrediting agency. Some of the concerns were failing to consider student-loan default rates when assessing law programs and job placement by its member institutions.
 
The federal government estimates more than 24 million loans totaling $116.4 billion will be made this year alone to students and their parents for higher education, including graduate students.
 
 “Law school accreditation is like a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” Grassley said. “The accreditation implies that the accrediting agency did its homework on behalf of the students who will indebt themselves to attend and on behalf of the taxpayers who made their loans possible.

"As Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as an advocate for taxpayers, I’m asking the American Bar Association to account for its work,” he said.
 
The American Bar Association provides for law school accreditation and sets academic standards.

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