LSSO releases results of survey on access to legal education

September 19, 2014

The Law Students’ Society of Ontario (LSSO) has released the results of a survey of students at 5 of the province’s law schools. The data suggest that law students are concerned about the rising cost of education, as well as other barriers to accessibility. According to respondents, 30% of law students expect to graduate without any money owing to the government or banks; however, the average debt load for an indebted law student increases from approximately $35,000 for first-year students to $71,000 for third-year students. These costs, the LSSO says, prevent less affluent but qualified students from pursuing legal education, and have a negative effect on students’ mental health and stress levels. The LSSO also says that it believes that debt from previous degrees holds some students back from pursuing legal education, and that debt forces some students to alter their career aspirations based on what they can afford to do. The data also indicate that while aggregate visible minority representation is higher at law schools than in the general Canadian population, the proportion of Aboriginal students and students from rural areas attending law school is lower. York University's Osgoode Hall recently announced that it would pilot an income-contingent loans program to improve accessibility. LSSO News Release | Full Report