California bar officials are being urged by legislators and legal experts to require all of the state’s unaccredited law schools to abide by rules meant to increase their transparency. The new requirements are intended to improve students’ chances at becoming an attorney.
The changes, which include the mandatory disclosure of dropout rates and alumni employment, come after a Los Angeles Times investigation last month that revealed that nearly 9 out of 10 students at unaccredited programs dropped out before their final year of study. What’s more, only about 1 in 5 students at unaccredited law programs went on to pass the bar each year, according to state statistics.
The 22 unaccredited law schools in California are not currently required to disclose statistics regarding how many of their graduates receive employment in the legal field. The schools do, in fact, report the number of dropouts from their programs to the state bar. The reports are only available upon request, however, and are not readily available to the public.
A spokesman representing Concord Law School of Kaplan University, California’s largest unaccredited law school, released a statement to the Los Angeles Times stating that its administrators are not against publicizing more information regarding dropout rates and employment statistics.
“It is something we would look at and consider,” said Stephen White, vice president of communications for Kaplan Higher and Professional Education.
The vast majority of unaccredited schools tend to serve primarily older students who often have jobs and families. The schools charge a lower tuition than most law schools – some even charge $3,000 a year, along with offering part-time courses. All together, they enroll about 1,500 students every year, the majority of which attend classes online.
Source: The Los Angeles Times