Tagged: law school dropout rates
The ABA is considering a proposal that would force schools with first-year dropout rates greater than 20% to explain why they should not lose their accreditation. To be clear, dropout rates have always been evaluated by the ABA as part of the accreditation process and currently only 15 schools have dropout rates in excess of 20%. (The average ABA school dropout rate is just under 7%.)
The majority of dropouts occur during the first year and many schools have policies of dismissing first-year students with low grades to prevent them from spending more time and tuition money pursuing what is becoming increasingly perceived as an unattainable degree. It doesn’t appear easy for the ABA schools to skirt this rule by waiting to dismiss students in their second years. Fortunately, transfers are excluded from the dropout calculation.
Barry Currier, the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education, eloquently stated “If you admit students who have more challenging credentials, and are riskier, you have to have enough success to show that you have a program that can adequately address those needs.” We expect defensible responses for schools would include documentation for students who left for reasons such as health and family. Since most disciplinary dismissals are contested, we expect these to receive additional scrutiny at those law schools with dropout rates near the 20% level.
The ABA plans to revisit this proposal in October after it’s had adequate time to hear various viewpoints, so stay tuned.
Best of luck with your applications!
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