Higher LSAT Prices Because Fewer People Interested in Taking LSATs

Law school applications, as I’ve pointed out before, are declining. Fewer people are taking the Law School Admission Test examinations. How should law schools address this?

One option might be to reduce the size, or number of America’s law schools. Another option might be to try to increase applications by reducing tuition. There’s another interesting choice, however.

The Law School Admission Council, which administers the LSAT and is made up of representatives from more than 200 law schools, will jack up LSAT fees to make up for the decline in customers. Daniel Bernstine, the president of LSAC, explains that:

For years, LSAC has adjusted its candidate service fees annually only by an inflationary factor, even as law school tuition increases have outpaced inflation by significant margins. During this lengthy period of time, there was no increase in LSAC’s fees in real-dollar terms. Also during this period, LSAC greatly expanded the range, breadth, and quality of its services to candidates and law schools. Those readers who have been in this business for more than 10 years will recognize that the credential assembly service and law school support efforts we make today are greatly enhanced over their predecessors.

The Board of Trustees voted earlier this month to raise our fees by amounts that are larger than inflation. The new LSAT registration fee will be $160….

Our most recent spike in application volumes, during the middle and end of the last decade, shielded the organization from the need to raise fees to reflect the enhanced services we are providing. It is now time for us to correct our fees in light of new volume realities, and to align them more closely with the true value of those services to law schools and their applicants. We sincerely hope that this will be the only correction to our candidate-fee levels, and that the “new normal” will identify itself in the next couple of years.

Basically, there’s used to be a lot of people taking the LSAT, and now there aren’t, so now we need charge those who still want to go to law school more money.

It cost $139 to take the examination last year.

[H/T Steve Schwartz]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer