Rutgers-Newark Rated Among Top 10 Law Schools in Bang for the Buck

, New Jersey Law Journal

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Rutgers Law School-Newark is among the 10 law schools in the country providing the best return on tuition investment, U.S. News & World Report says.

Rutgers-Newark graduates joining the private sector earned an average $117,500, while median debt carried at graduation was $87,272. That translates into a salary-to-debt ratio of 1.346, putting the school ninth on the U.S. News Short List.

The average law school indebtedness of 2012 law school graduates with debt was $108,293, while the average median starting private sector salary for all 2011 graduates was $76,125, according to data provided by 194 ranked law schools.

The law school whose students leave with the least amount of debt relative to their first-year salaries in the private sector was the University of Texas-Austin, with median average salary of $155,000 and average debt of $86,312, for a ratio of 1.796.

The next eight in order were University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ($117,500, $74,485, 1.577), Brigham Young University at Clark ($84,500, $56,112, 1.506), Stanford University ($160,000, $110,275, 1.451), Yale University ($160,000, $110,741, 1.445), University of California at Berkeley ($160,000, $115,349, 1.387), Boston College ($145,000, $106,550, 1.361) and University of Pennsylvania ($160,000, $118,278, 1.353). Coming in 10th was University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ($160,000, $120,136, 1.332).

Rutgers-Newark's achievement was particularly notable because its rank in the annual U.S.News law school report — 86th — was far below those of the other nine schools on the bang-for-the-buck list. Yale and Stanford, for example, are first and second respectively.

“We are always pleased to receive recognition for the excellent value of a Rutgers JD," says Acting Dean Ronald Chen, filling in for Dean John Farmer who is temporarily assigned as senior vice president and general counsel to Rutgers University. "For the past three years, ... as we have made enhancements to our programs, we have done so without raising tuition."

U.S. News says it uses 2011 data for salaries and 2012 data for debt because law school employment and salary data have always lagged behind indebtedness data by one year.

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