Law School Discussion

Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)

Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« Reply #130 on: March 08, 2008, 10:06:18 AM »
Hey all -- I'm weighing a couple of the same offers as QOTC, but coming from a way different position.  I'm not going to get any need-based aid from HLS, but I am going to qualify for LRAP for 3 to 9 years (unknown) afterwards.  Of course, the LRAP is pretty marriage-sensitive, and who knows what my life is going to look like in a few years.  Long term goals are policy and economic work -- would love to work in, say, health policy and economics for Medicare or something.

Harvard, full-fare?  Yale, full-fare with a slightly worse LRAP?  Or Columbia/Hamilton?

You know for sure you're not getting anything from HLS?  Wow.  Their finaid office works fast.  They only started reviewing files on 3/3.

I talked through the scenario with their finaid office back in January.  No paperwork was filed.

Ahhh, gotcha.

Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« Reply #131 on: March 08, 2008, 10:50:09 AM »
DevilishlyBlue, have you contacted Judy Murciano at HLS? If you have specific career goals in public interest, she might be able to point you to fellowship programs in your field. It seems like HLS does a fabulous job helping students package themselves for these.  Just a thought.  :)

Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« Reply #132 on: March 08, 2008, 11:10:29 AM »
Is there a consensus on Harvard LIPP vs. Yale COAP?

If memory serves, Yale has a worse marriage penalty (EDIT: as you noticed) and pays things off more slowly over the first few years before catching up over the last few.  I hadn't realized the 25% vs. 40% difference, though.

Just to throw it out there, CLS's LRAP is at 34.5% of your earning after 50k, and takes the lower of a) your income or b) half your combined income if your spouse has a higher salary in calculating your Income. Also, if your spouse also has educational debt, you can subtract up to 10k in debt service in determining their income. And lastly, they don't cap your savings, which I think NYU does.  Also, CLS forgives 100% of your loan after 5 years.

Yeah, it sounds like they have the best LRAP.  It's not exactly applicable in this thread, but it's a pretty sweet program.

EDIT: Actually, now that I think about it, it means Columbia is offering full-expenses for me, not just full-tuition.
EDIT2: Actually, I don't qualify.  Never mind.


DevilishlyBlue, have you contacted Judy Murciano at HLS? If you have specific career goals in public interest, she might be able to point you to fellowship programs in your field. It seems like HLS does a fabulous job helping students package themselves for these.  Just a thought.  :)

Yes, I've been talking with Dr. Murciano a lot.  The fellowships in question sound great and interesting, but financially they're not going to make a dent in $200K+ of law school debt.  (Petrie-Flom, for example is worth $2,000 a year.)  Several of the other options we talked about aren't exactly panning out, either.  HLS seems wonderful, but I'll very much be throwing myself on the mercy of their LRAP for any financial assistance.

... any chance that Harvard or Yale is going to match Columbia's program sometime over the next fifteen years?  And that they'll make any changes retroactive?

Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« Reply #133 on: March 08, 2008, 11:35:30 AM »

DevilishlyBlue, have you contacted Judy Murciano at HLS? If you have specific career goals in public interest, she might be able to point you to fellowship programs in your field. It seems like HLS does a fabulous job helping students package themselves for these.  Just a thought.  :)

Yes, I've been talking with Dr. Murciano a lot.  The fellowships in question sound great and interesting, but financially they're not going to make a dent in $200K+ of law school debt.  (Petrie-Flom, for example is worth $2,000 a year.)  Several of the other options we talked about aren't exactly panning out, either.  HLS seems wonderful, but I'll very much be throwing myself on the mercy of their LRAP for any financial assistance.


I agree. Has anyone else had the same impression with HY financial aid people that the fellowships they point to seem wholly out of proportion with the potential debt in question? Their strongest arguments seem to be 1) the differences in opportunities are large and 2) LIPP/COAP lessens the cost differences. The fellowships, while nice and great for connections and experience, come nowhere close to making a dent in the financial considerations. Harvard's folks stressing the cost of living at Columbia also strike me as a bit silly. It's not like Boston is cheap, so any difference there is relatively small. The cost of living argument make a bit more sense in New Haven.

Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« Reply #134 on: March 09, 2008, 08:08:41 AM »
Y/H will never offer a tuition + expenses program.  They don't have to...they're Y/H.

Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« Reply #135 on: March 10, 2008, 04:40:01 AM »
anti-SLS trolls everywhere!

run for it!

Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« Reply #136 on: March 10, 2008, 12:10:35 PM »
*some mental math*  So the marriage penalty at Yale is 25% of anything she makes over $24K; the penalty at Harvard is 20% of anything she makes over $48K.  Gosh, that's not even close.

Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« Reply #137 on: March 10, 2008, 12:33:45 PM »
*some mental math*  So the marriage penalty at Yale is 25% of anything she makes over $24K; the penalty at Harvard is 20% of anything she makes over $48K.  Gosh, that's not even close.

That depends, doesn't it? Suppose I make 60k a year and my significant other makes 50k per year. In cases where my significant other makes less than me, the marriage penalty is 0, no? It shouldn't matter whether we're married or not. Or am I missing something?

Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« Reply #138 on: March 10, 2008, 01:47:16 PM »
No.  Harvard will consider your income to be $60K (no penalty), but it seems to me that Yale adds her remaining $26K to your income -- meaning they think you make $86K.  And yes, I suppose you could just stay unmarried for the purposes of this program, but that doesn't interest me.

Harvard will ask for .4($15)=$4K, while Yale will ask for .25($40)=$10K.  That $6K difference amounts to perhaps 15-20% of your after-tax income.

Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« Reply #139 on: April 08, 2008, 07:58:39 AM »
Just an update on my decision making process..

I visited both HLS and CLS recently, and I had a wonderful time at both ASW's - I could honestly see myself being happy at both schools. The students, the faculty and the administration were incredible at both institutions. Although most of the people in this situation in years prior told me that I would probably have a very strong positive/negative reaction to one school in particular, I liked both schools quite a bit - which is making this decision much harder.

That said, there were a few small things about Harvard that made the difference - it doesn't mean that Columbia wasn't amazing, Harvard was just slightly more so. I think I'll sound rather petty if I mention those differences here, but if anyone is in this same situation, feel free to PM for my thoughts. I know logically that my career opportunities will be near equal from both schools, but I guess I going with my emotions a bit because this is such an important decision.

Secondly, I just received a fairly generous financial aid offer from HLS, which was kind of the deal breaker. Assuming I do a 1L public interest position and a 2L firm job, the financial difference between HLS and CLS will be about $70-75K after three years; while that's a big difference, it doesn't seem like it will be much over the course of a 40 year career. I'm willing to pay that much just so ensure I have no regrets and while I'm still fairly certain that I'll ending up doing Big Law, 75k is worth it to keep all my options open in the future.

So unless Yale or Stanford decide to give me a call, I guess its HLS 2011 for me!

(FYI, I really think my "bargaining" with the HLS financial aid office was for naught; my HLS grants were actually a bit lower than what I was expecting)