I just wanted to call attention to this aspect that was part of the Debt Ceiling Bill that has now been signed into law - and as reported by AboveTheLaw - no more subsidized interest for grad student loans after July 2012.
For law students, the big one here is probably the Subsidized Stafford Loan - which usually makes up $8,500/year of the typical loan package. You used to have the interest subsidized while you were in school - and for 6 months afterword. Now the interest subsidization is gone, gone gone.
What's the impact going to be on law students? Well, the Stafford Loan rate is currently 6.8%, and loan disbursements take place at the start of the year. Consequently, by the September after graduation, the accumulated principal and interest would be: 8.5K *(1.068)^3 + 8.5K *(1.068)^2 + 8.5K *(1.068) = 10355+9695+9078= $29,128. Subtracting out the $25,500 in principle, we get $3,628
Consequently, for almost all students, law school just got $3,628 more expensive.
Here's another thing that is interesting and illustrates the declining support for education in the U.S. (before the subsidized interest loan was eliminated) the $8,500 limit had remained unchanged since at least 1995 - I still remember $8,500 being my subsidized amount at that time. This is in spite of the cost of going to law school literally TRIPLING (taking inflation into account) over that time period. Thus, the subsidized part has become a lesser and lesser percentage of the loan burden over that time.
If it wasn't already apparent, going to law school AT THIS TIME is a truly rotten deal for almost all law students. Only about 1 in 20 really make it work. It used to be a pretty decent deal, but the economics of the situation have truly changed. It may change back some day, but it won't for at least several years.