Bar Pass Rates Dip Again

Gonzaga University School of Law

Gonzaga University School of Law

Gonzaga Law Offers Buyouts To All Tenured Faculty

 
Lowering law school admissions standards is a hot topic these days. Average LSAT scores are dropping, as are bar pass rates. Many are pointing to law schools admitting less-qualified students as the cause. Considering law school applications have dropped from more than 87,000 in 2010 to just over 54,000 this year, it makes sense. There are less students to choose from and therefore, less qualified students. Law schools are left trying to gobble up the best students they can.
While some schools have admitted less qualified students to maintain funding from tuition, Gonzaga’s School of Law have just admitted fewer students. And now they are scrambling to find ways to make up for the revenue loss. According to Above the Law, the school’s applicant pool has dropped about 36% from 2011 to 2014. Meanwhile, first year enrollment has fallen from 183 students in 2010 to 125 in 2014—or about 32%. The first year enrollment for 2013 was actually just 108.
Meanwhile, 25th percentile LSAT scores for admitted classes have dropped from 154 to 151 and 75th percentile scores had decreased from 157 to 155. To compensate for the decreased class sizes and tuition dollars, Gonzaga Law Dean Jane Korn recently offered 17 tenured faculty members buyouts—and four have accepted.
As reported by Above the Law, Korn reasoned many law schools have recently been forced to lower admissions standards or take a budget hit. And she decided on the latter. The school, she said, is staffed for about 175 students per class (or 525 total) and that’s obviously not what the school has been admitting recently.
“We’re doing this because when you look at the situation ahead, you want to make sure Gonzaga has a bright and successful future. We did this to avoid problems in the future,” Korn told Above the Law.
While this may be a noble act considering that many schools have been accused of producing students less-qualified and able to pass the bar exam, Above the Law suggests Korn refocus her efforts on getting the school’s graduates jobs. Only 56.8% of the school’s 2014 graduating class had full-time jobs requiring bar passage. At $36,510, Gonzaga’s tuition is not astronomical, especially considering the median starting salary is just $52,000, according to the U.S. News. But added scholarship amounts or lowered tuition could also help the school in pursuing top candidates.
Source: Above the Law
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