For-Profit Law School Makes Huge Change
A Florida-based for-profit law school is making a complete 180 degree change to its approach. It’s going nonprofit.
Florida Coastal School of Law has announced that it will seek to reclassify its institution as a nonprofit entity, Inside Higher Ed reports.
The Benefits of Going Nonprofit
The school says the change to nonprofit will let its faculty apply for federal research grants and possibly open up options for an endowment. Additionally, nonprofits have the benefit of reducing federal regulatory requirements that have put the for-profit law school industry at a standstill. But, perhaps most importantly, changing to a nonprofit status will help shed the negative image that for-profit schools are often saddled.
Florida Coastal officials say the school has worked to improve its academic achievements by overhauling their academic curriculum. Additionally, bar passage rates have increased by 15 percentage points last year to a passage rate of over 62%, according to Inside Higher Ed.
“We’ve improved our entry credentials. We’ve improved our bar-passage results,” Scott DeVito, Florida Coastal’s dean, tells Inside Higher Ed. “So that’s part of why this is now the time to do it.”
Florida Coastal has run into trouble with ABA in the past.
Back in 2017, the law school reportedly had saw the lowest bar passage rate for three consecutive exams among all law schools in Florida state.
“The poor bar exam showings point to how the for-profit law school found itself ‘seriously out of compliance’ with the standards of its accreditor, the American Bar Association, last month,” Andrew Kreighbaum tells Inside Higher Ed. “And the high debt load of law students combined with those academic shortcomings has led legal education observers to see a pattern among institutions operated by the law school’s parent company, InfiLaw.”
In December 2017, the ABA notified Florida Coastal officials that the law school had “fallen short of the standards after a regular review.”
“Those standards deal specifically with whether a law school’s program is rigorous enough for students to pass the bar and succeed in the profession, whether it provides meaningful academic support, and whether it admits too many underqualified applicants unlikely to succeed in the program and pass the bar after graduating,” Kreighbaum tells Inside Higher Ed.
Sources: Inside Higher Ed, Tipping the Scales, Inside Higher Ed