Yale, UConn Back-to-Back in Top 10 Best Value Law Schools in US

The law schools of Yale University and the University of Connecticut both ranked in the top 10 “law schools that pay off,” according to a new national survey of the nation’s law schools.  Yale ranked seventh and UConn eighth in the survey by U.S. News and World Report. The survey determined the 10 best schools where full-time 2014 graduates who borrowed for law school and entered the private sector had the highest salary-to-debt ratio, according to data submitted to U.S. News by 172 schools around the country. Connecticut and Massachusetts each had two law schools ranked alogosmong the top ten "best value" schools.

The leading “best value” law schools were University of Texas – Austin, University of Alabama, Boston College, Brigham Young University, University of Wisconsin – Madison and University of Hawaii. Rounding out the top 10 after Yale and UConn are Boston University and UCLA.UConn law photo

The average student debt among UConn Law graduates was $70,129 for 2014 graduates, the lowest in the Northeast and the 15th lowest in the nation, according to the survey. Starting salaries for graduates entering the private sector reached $95,000 in 2014. That gives the law school a 1.4-1 salary-to-debt ratio, tied for eighth place nationwide.

Among Yale Law School graduates, starting salaries for graduates entering the private sector reached $16,000 in 2014. That gives the law school a 1.4-1 salary-to-debt ratio, with average student debt of $117,093.

Yale University has been ranked as the nation’s number one law school by U.S. News.  UConn School of Law ranks 65th on the U.S. News nationwide list, and is the highest ranked public law school in the Northeast. The relatively low student debt level is a product of what the school describes as “reasonable tuition,” now $27,792 for in-state students, and “robust financial aid packages” for eligible students, according to the university.Yale law photo

UConn indicates that 10 months after graduation, more than 80 percent of the graduates from the Class of 2015 had full-time, long-term jobs for which a law degree was required or preferred, up substantially over the last three years.  At Yale, that percentage is 93 percent, with 41 percent employed at law firms, 39 percent in judicial clerkships, 8 percent in public interest positions (including public defender), 5 percent in government and 4 percent in business and industry.

“Our high value and great employment results are only part of what makes UConn Law School great. Our students and faculty are deeply engaged in the institutions and communities that surround us, as well as the intellectual exploration of a legal education,” Dean Timothy Fisher said. “That, coupled with a supportive atmosphere and energetic student body, make this an exciting place to learn and a transformative chapter in our students’ lives.”

In recent years UConn Law has added several programs that let students realize even more value from their legal educations, according to the school. Three new LL.M. (master of laws) degrees can be combined with a JD to prepare students for careers in energy and environmental law, human rights and social justice or intellectual property and information governance.  The law school has also added, in partnership with the UConn School of Business, a certificate in Corporate and Regulatory Compliance. And the two school are now offering a program to earn both a JD and MBA in three years.

Yale Law students, the university’s website highlights, “are among the most sought after in the nation by employers of all types,” both within and outside of the legal profession.




The Comfort of Opinion Without the Discomfort of Thought

by John F. Kennedy …The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

Mythology distracts us everywhere—in government as in business, in politics as in economics, in foreign affairs as in domestic affairs… In recent months many have come to feel, as I do, that the dialog between the parties—between business and government, between the government and the public—is clogged by illusion and platitude and fails to reflect the true realities of contemporary American society…

perspective squareThere are three great areas of our domestic affairs in which, today, there is a danger that illusion may prevent effective action. They are, first, the question of the size and the shape of government's responsibilities; second, the question of public fiscal policy; and third, the matter of confidence, business confidence or public confidence, or simply confidence in America. I want to talk about all three, and I want to talk about them carefully and dispassionately—and I emphasize that I am concerned here not with political debate but with finding ways to separate false problems from real ones.

If a contest in angry argument were forced upon it, no administration could shrink from response, and history does not suggest that American Presidents are totally without resources in an engagement forced upon them because of hostility in one sector of society. But in the wider national interest, we need not partisan wrangling but common concentration on common problems. I come here to this distinguished university to ask you to join in this great task.

Let us take first the question of the size and shape of government. The myth here is that government is big, and bad—and steadily getting bigger and worse. Obviously this myth has some excuse for existence. It is true that in recent history each new administration has spent much more money than its predecessor. Thus President Roosevelt outspent President Hoover, and with allowances for the special case of the Second World War, President Truman outspent President Roosevelt. Just to prove that this was not a partisan matter, President Eisenhower then outspent President Truman by the handsome figure of $182 billion. It is even possible, some think, that this trend may continue…

The truth about big government is the truth about any other great activity—it is complex. Certainly it is true that size brings dangers—but it is also true that size can bring benefits… Few people realize that in 1961, in support of all university research in science and medicine, three dollars out of every four came from the Federal Government… Generalities in regard to federal expenditures, therefore, can be misleading—each case, science, urban renewal, education, agriculture, natural resources, each case must be determined on its merits if we are to profit from our unrivaled ability to combine the strength of public and private purpose…

Finally, I come to the problem of confidence. Confidence is a matter of myth and also a matter of truth—and this time let me take the truth of the matter first.

It is true—and of high importance—that the prosperity of this country depends on the assurance that all major elements within it will live up to their responsibilities. If business were to neglect its obligations to the public, if labor were blind to all public responsibility, above all, if government were to abandon its obvious—and statutory—duty of watchful concern for our economic health-if any of these things should happen, then confidence might well be weakened and the danger of stagnation would increase. This is the true issue of confidence.

But there is also the false issue—and its simplest form is the assertion that any and all unfavorable turns of the speculative wheel—however temporary and however plainly speculative in character—are the result of, and I quote, "a lack of confidence in the national administration." This I must tell you, while comforting, is not wholly true. Worse, it obscures the reality—which is also simple. The solid ground of mutual confidence is the necessary partnership of government with all of the sectors of our society in the steady quest for economic progress…

The stereotypes I have been discussing distract our attention and divide our effort. These stereotypes do our Nation a disservice, not just because they are exhausted and irrelevant, but above all because they are misleading—because they stand in the way of the solution of hard and complicated facts…the unfortunate fact of the matter is that our rhetoric has not kept pace with the speed of social and economic change. Our political debates, our public discourse—on current domestic and economic issues—too often bear little or no relation to the actual problems the United States faces.

What is at stake in our economic decisions today is not some grand warfare of rival ideologies which will sweep the country with passion but the practical management of a modern economy… we require not some automatic response but hard thought…let us not engage in the wrong argument at the wrong time…while the real problems of our own time grow and multiply, fertilized by our neglect.

You are part of the world and you must participate in these days of our years in the solution of the problems that pour upon us, requiring the most sophisticated and technical judgment; and as we work in consonance to meet the authentic problems of our times, we will generate a vision and an energy which will demonstrate anew to the world the superior vitality and the strength of the free society.

President John F. Kennedy delivered the Commencement Address at Yale University on June 11, 1962, from which this is excerpted.  The text of the full address, and an audio recording, is at http://millercenter.org/president/speeches/speech-3370   


CT by the Numbers publishes opinion articles of 600 words or less.  Submissions should be emailed to info@ctbythenumbers.info.  Perspectives are published at the discretion of CT by the Numbers. 



Yale, UConn Among Top 100 in R&D Expenditures, Federal Data Shows

Yale University and the University of Connecticut both rank in the top 100 higher education institutions in the level of expenditures for research and development (R&D), according to data compiled by the National Science Foundation. Yale ranked at #21 and UConn at #86 in the rankings for fiscal year 2013, in the Higher Education Research and Development Survey compiled by the NSF and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statisticresearch-and-developments.

NSFThe top 10 institutions are Johns Hopkins, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), University of Washington (Seattle), University of Wisconsin (Madison), University of California (San Diego), University of California (San Francisco), Harvard, Duke, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and University of California (Los Angeles).

Among local colleges and universities in addition to Yale and UConn, nine other institutions in Connecticut appeared in the national rankings, including  Fairfield University at #343 and Wesleyan University at#348.  Southern Connecticut State University ranked #522, Connecticut College ranked #531,  University of Hartford ranked #535,Trinity College ranked #536 and Central Connecticut State University at #552.  In addition, University of New Haven ranked #575, and Quinnipiac University #611 in the analysis that reported 645 higher education institution R&D expenditures.

The Higher Education Research and Development Survey is the primary source of information on R&D expenditures at U.S. colleges and universities, according to the NSF website.

chartThe survey collects information on R&D expenditures by field of research and source of funds and also gathers information on types of research and expenses and headcounts of R&D personnel. The survey is an annual census of institutions that expended at least $150,000 in separately budgeted R&D during the fiscal year.Yale

UConn’s R&D expenditures, $242,251,000 in fiscal year 2013 according to the data, has increased from $215,098,000 in 2004.  At Yale University, R&D spending has nearly doubled - growing from $423,664,000 to $788,784,000 during the same period.

Such R&D spending often is seen as a gauge of innovation in a state, because research can turn into technology transfer or new companies and the quality of research can attract top students, the Bangor Daily News has reported.

Overall across the country, university spending on research and development in all fields totaled $67.2 billion in FY 2013, according to data from the NSF Higher Education Research and Development Survey.

When adjusted for inflation, higher education R&D increased by less than half a percent in FY 2013 from the previous year, according to NSF. Officials noted that the overall amount represents the reported totals from 891 degree-granting institutions that spent at least $150,000 in R&D in the previous fiscal year.uconn-new-logo

The published survey results include the 645 institutions that reported at least $1 million in R&D during their previous fiscal year and who contributed 99.8 percent of the total R&D expenditures reported in FY 2013.  The data was released by the NSF in late February 2015.

Note:  this article was revised to include a number of Connecticut institutions inadvertently omitted in initial publication.

Yale University Breaks into Top 10 in World University Rankings

Yale University edged into the top 10 in the annual World University Rankings for the first time, ranking tied for 9th place on the 2014-2015 list with Imperial College in London.  For the three previous years, Yale was ranked #11. Leading the new list were California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, University of Oxford, Stanford University and University of Cambridge.  The next five are Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, and University of California - Berkley, just ahead of Yale and Imperial College.  The University of Chicago slipped from 9th to 11th in the rankings.24677_wur-2014-2015-news

Eight of the top 10 universities are in the United States, the other two in the United Kingdom.

From other nations, the top finishers were Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at #13, University of Toronto at #20, University of Tokyo at #23, Ludwig-Maximilins-Universitat (Germany) at #29, and University of Melbourne at #33.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015, powered by Thomson Reuters, are the only global university performance tables to judge world-class universities across all of their core missions - teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

The top universities rankings employ 13 performance indicators to provide “the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available,” which are “trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments,” the organization’s website points out.  Institutions provide and sign off on their institutional data for use in the rankings.Yale ranking

The 13 performance indicators are grouped into five areas:

  • Teaching: the learning environment (worth 30 per cent of the overall ranking score)
  • Research: volume, income and reputation (worth 30 per cent)
  • Citations: research influence (worth 30 per cent)
  • Industry income: innovation (worth 2.5 per cent)
  • International outlook: staff, students and research (worth 7.5 per cent).

The U.S. has 74 universities in the top 200, down from 77 last year. Some 60 per cent of those institutions rank lower than they did 12 months ago, with an average fall of 5.34 places per university, according to Times Higher Education. Canada and the United Kingdom also slipped slightly in the overall rankings, while Asian universities trended higher, with 24 universities in the world top 200, four more than last year.

When the top world universities are broken down by academic disciplines, Yale ranks #7 in arts and humanities, #7 in life sciences, #7 in social sciences, #10 in clinical, pre-clinical and health, and #13 in physical sciences.  Yale finishes outside of the top 100 in engineering & technology.

Times Higher Education, which produces the rankings, is based in the United Kingdom.

THE  Watch the video presenting top 10.



Alternate College Ranking System Reveals Surprises for CT Colleges

It turns out that the oft-heralded and increasingly criticized U.S. News & World Report college rankings aren’t the only game in town.  Washington Monthly magazine has developed a rating system with a different emphasis, and very different results.  Among the Connecticut institutions making the list:  UConn, Yale, Wesleyan, and Trinity – but not necessarily in familiar places. The publication uses three main categories of evaluation for its analysis.  Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country). The publ1409.cover.220x286ication sets out to “identify the most public-minded institutions,” utilizing the three criteria and a handful of specific measures in each.

“Instead of crediting colleges that reject the most applicants, we recognize those that do the best job of enrolling and graduating low-income students,” the magazine pointed out.  The rankings also “measure both pure research spending and success in preparing undergraduates to earn PhDs.”  In addition, by “giving equal weight to public service, we identify colleges that build a sense of obligation to their communities and the nation at large,” the publication explained in the cover feature of the September/October issue.

Connecticut did not have an institution reaching the Top 30 National Universities.  That list was led by four University of California institutions in the top five slots, along with Texas A&M and Stanford University.  Harvard University placed tenth.

Yale University ranked #57 on the full list of National Universities. UConn ranked #82 - the only other school in the state listed among 277 institutions.  (Yale is ranked #3 in the U.S. News rankings; UConn places 19th)

The magazine also compiled a series of specialty lists ranking the institutions.

The only Connecticut school to reach the nation’s Top 30 Liberal Arts Colleges was Wesleyan University, which ranked #16.  (Wesleyan is ranked #15 on the U.S. News listing.) Further down the list, Trinity College ranked #184.

Among the “best-bang-for-the-buck” colleges, the University of Connecticut ranked #76, the only Connecticut college to break into the top 100.  That list was topped by three City University of New York colleges.colleges

Four Connecticut schools were among the Top 50 “Affordable Elite” institutions, according to the list compiled by the magazine.  Yale University ranked #33, Wesleyan University placed #40, UConn ranked #97 and Trinity College in Hartford just made the list at #98.

In the good news department, there were no Connecticut school reaching the “worst colleges” lists complied by the magazine.

The Social Mobility category includes four components including the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants, the cost of attendance, and the anticipated rate of graduation.   The five Research factors include research expenditures and the number of bachelors degree recipients who go on to earn PhDs  The Service category includes five factors including the number of alumni who serve in the Peace Corps, student participation in community service and the number of staff supporting community service.

Signaling the importance of the Washington Monthly rankings to colleges across the nation, a total of 47 institutions ran advertisements in the issue.  The advertisers did not include any colleges from Connecticut.


Yale Grad One of 12 to Win Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony; Frozen’s “Let It Go” Was Family Affair

As the Frozen juggernaut continues with no signs of slowing whatsoever, the ubiquitous anthem “Let It Go” rings in the ears of children and parents worldwide.  What many may have missed in the phenomenon is the Connecticut connection. The anthem “Let It Go,” sung in the movie by both Idina Menzel and Demi Lovato (over the closing credits), was penned by Yale graduate Robert Lopez,  whose notoriety and track-record is virtually without recent parallel.  The song was co-written with his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez.  Together, they also wrote the songs for the 2011 Disney animated musical Winnie the Pooh.family frozen

Prior to Frozen, Lopez was best known for co-creating The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q, two of Broadway’s stand-out box office smashes of the past decade. He is one of only 12 people who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award, and the only person to win all four within a decade.

Lopez was born in Manhattan, developed an interest in music from an early age, and wrote his first song at age seven. He received a B.A. in English from Yale University (Class of ’97), where he was a member of the Yale Spizzwinks and wrote comedic songs for various student-run theater groups, according to the Avenue Q website.

Earlier this year, when Lopez took home an Academy Award for Best Original Song for co-writing "Let It Go" he became the youngest person, at age 39, to "EGOT", (win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award).  Lopez previously won the Grammy and Tony for The Book of Mormon, and received Daytime Emmy Awards for music direction and composition for the kids TV series The Wonder Pets.

IMDb and Variety reported that "EGOT" members include Whoopi Goldberg, Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, and Scott Rudin, among the 12 members of the exclusive club.

In 2011, he told the Yale Daily News “the Spizzwinks are still my best friends, longest-lasting friends from college. I first got my inkling in college that I might not want to just write serious stuff. That music could be funny. That was something I enjoyed doing. The Spizzwinks were really the first place where I started dabbling with that.”  Success, however, did not come overnight.  “Right out of college I lived with my mom and dad. I lived with them for four years after college. They were extremely supportive of me. Without that, I don’t know where I’d be,” he told the newspaper.

In an interview this year with People magazine, Anderson-Lopez said "Frozen has been a team, family effort," says Anderson-Lopez. "Every song we wrote, our [daughters Annie, 4, and Katie, 9,] were the first audience for it and if they didn't want to hear it again, we went back to the drawing board."  The couple wrote eight songs for Frozen.  

Lopez told NPR’s Terry Gross that “When this song came to us, we were on a little stroll through Prospect Park in Brooklyn near our house, and we both started to improv what Elsa might be feeling. So we stood up on picnic tables.”  He added, “Once we had the idea for the song, it came quite quickly. It took about, you know, a day and a half.”let it go

In April, Frozen became the highest-grossing animated film in box office history, just days after the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray.  The Frozen soundtrack is also the best-selling digital soundtrack album in history and the top-selling album of 2014, having spent 31 consecutive weeks in the top 5 on the Billboard 200 chart, including 13 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1. The "Let It Go" film clip from Frozen has been viewed nearly 300 million times on YouTube.

Disney had the song recorded in 25 different languages for international versions of the film:  French, German, Dutch, Mandarin, Swedish, Japanese, Latin American Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Korean, Serbian, Cantonese, Portuguese, Bahasa Malaysian, Russian, Danish, Bulgarian, Norwegian, Thai, Canadian French, and Flemish.

"The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic" will be broadcast by Disney-owned ABC television on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 8 p.m. 

Soda Tax Won't Hurt Job Prospects, Tobacco Tax Offers Preview, New Studies Find

As the Connecticut legislature considers a proposal to implement a 2 percent tax on sodas, proposed by Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney at the suggestion of New Haven Mayor and former state senator Toni Harp, two new academic studies challenge the beverage industry’s view that state and local taxes on sugary drinks will hurt employment, and offer suggestions to policy makers based on the tobacco tax experience.

Harp has said the soda tax would discourage consumption of the sugary beverages – part of her campaign to combat obesity - and bring in public health logoan estimated $144 million in revenue for the state each year. It would tax all beverages “high in calories or sugar” by two percent, but does not specify how many calories or grams of sugar would trigger the tax.

The studies, appearing in the February and March issues of the American Journal of Public Health, argue, in one case, that claims of employment losses are off base because they focus only on the effects within the industry, ignoring the economic activity that comes with people substituting lower-priced goods for more expensive products as wellsoda as new spending from tax revenues.  The other study says that tobacco taxes offer a how-to road map for policy makers.

The study to be published in March, led by Jennifer L. Pomeranz, JD, MPH, while at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, uses as its premise that “excise taxes on sugary beverages have been proposed as a method to replicate the public health success of tobacco control and to generate revenue.”

Sugary Beverage Tax Policy: Lessons Learned from Tobacco indicates that “as policymakers increase efforts to pass sugary beverage taxes, they can anticipate that manufacturers will emulate the strategies employed by tobacco companies in their attempts to counteract the impact of such taxes.”  Pomeranz suggests that “policymakers should therefore consider two complementary laws—minimum price laws and prohibitions on coupons and discounting—to accomplish the intended price increase.”

Researchers at the University of Illinois, in a just-published study in the February issue of American Journal of Public Health, found that a 20 percent increase on the price of sugar-sweetened beverages would have an overall positive impact on the labor market.

The American Beverage Association has traditionally argued that manufacturers, distributors and small business owners, particularly grocers and convenience store proprietors, would suffer were soda taxes to be imposed, but the study says that’s not likely.

In recent years, proposals to tax those beverages fell short in California, Vermont, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York and Rhode Island, Governing magazine reported.  In Maine voters passed a soda tax of 42 cents per gallon in 2008 but repealed it two years later amid a major lobbying effort from the American Beverage Association. Voters in Washington state similarly reversed their legislature in 2010.  As of the end of state legislative sessions in 2011, Governing reported, only four states had taxes specifically targeting sugary beverages, including Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, according to the Tax Foundation.

In the study publstrawished this month, researchers ran a simulation of the impact of 20-percent soda tax in Illinois and California—selected for regional differences—and found slight employment increases would occur, but the net effect would be close to nothing. They found that people choose to spend their money on other things, not to forego spending entirely, and that employment gains in other sectors of the economy far outweigh the job losses for soda makers, National Journal reported.

“We find there are losses in the beverage industry, but when you’re talking about the whole economy suffering job losses, you can’t just talk about your own industry,” Lisa Powell, health policy professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the study’s lead author, told National Journal. “Using job loss as a scare tactic for the economy overall is misleading.”

Public health advocates have warned of a link between added sugar and illnesses ranging  from Type 2 diabetes and obesity to heart disease and osteoporosis. The caloric intake of sugary beverages increased dramatically from 1988 to the mid 2000s, though consumption has dropped across all age groups in recent years, Governing reported, with some citing the increased public attraction to teas and other beverages.  Like Harp and Looney in Connecticut, some elected officials around the country have proposed raising taxes on sugary drinks in order to reduce consumption.  The New Haven Register reported that Harp has pointed out that revenue from the cigarette tax has decreased, showing that the effectiveness of a tax in reducing consumption.Jennifer-Pomeranz

Pomeranz is a public health law and policy researcher focusing on marketing, labeling and youth access issues related to food and beverages, over-the-counter diet drugs, and dietary supplements, publishing on topics including discrimination, the First Amendment, public health preemption, and innovative regulatory strategies to address public health problems such as obesity. She is Assistant Professor at the Center for Obesity Research and Education in the Department of Public Health and at the College of Health Professionals and Social Work at Temple University, having served previously as Director of Legal Initiatives at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.  She is currently the Policy Chair of the Health Law Section of the American Public Health Association and the official liaison between the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association.lisa powell 2

Lisa Powell is a Senior Research Scientist in the Institute for Health Research and Policy and Research Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has extensive experience as an applied micro-economist in the empirical analysis of the effects of public policy on a series of behavioral outcomes.

A 2011 study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity found that young people are being exposed to a massive amount of marketing for sugary drinks, such as full-calorie soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and fruit drinks.  The study, described as the most comprehensive and science-based assessment of sugary drink nutrition and marketing ever conducted, found that companies were marketing sugary drinks targeting young people, especially black and Hispanic youth.