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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, August 3, 2008

UNLV Law School in "Free Fall," May Become a "Diploma Mill"

In Business Las Vegas:  Budget Cuts Threaten Law School's Programs, Ranking, by Stephanie Tavares:

Expected state budget cuts could put Nevada's only law school into a free-fall, causing the Boyd School of Law to drop out of national rankings, lose vital community legal aid programs and leave students paying much more for a lot less education. ...

Already this year, higher education and other government-funded programs have been asked to make across-the-board budget cuts of 4.4% percent. The state recently requested they cut another 4% ...  The Legislature is warning of even more cuts in next year's budget - anywhere from 14% percent to 20% on top of cuts already made. ...

Tuition will increase from $9,800 last academic year, to $20,000 in 2011. ... [T]he combination of higher tuition and decreased state funding could turn the now well-regarded Boyd School into a "diploma mill," informed sources said. Diploma mills, which are usually privately owned, accept law school applicants no one else will admit, often charge very high tuition, and have high rates of attrition and low rates of bar passage. If this were to happen, the community service mission currently at the core of Boyd School's curricula would likely disappear along with a top 100 ranking from U.S. News & World Report. ...

(Hat Tip:  Adjunct Law Prof Blog.)

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This reporting could use some work.

Her use of the term “diploma mill” is somewhat strange.

Normally this term refers to unaccredited institution that charge low “tuition” and provide little or no instruction. They have almost NO attrition, because they exist to turn out diplomas in return for money. UNLV is not there yet. Despite its low ranking it isn't even close.

Most low-ranked law schools are not diploma mills because they have high rates of attrition. Whereas, high-ranked schools graduate almost everyone they take in.

I suspect that Ms. Taveres talked to a couple of disgruntled students without even trying to understand these issues.

Posted by: | Aug 3, 2008 3:00:29 PM

I am a member of the faculty and an associate dean at UNLV's Law School. The above story speculates, at this early stage, about how state budget stress may affect the Law School in the years to come. The many friends of the Law School both here and abroad should be reassured that cuts to date have been managed with an eye to preserving our momentum in scholarship, teaching, and service. They have not yet had a significant effect on us, and we are confident that the trajectory we established in the Law School's first decade of existence will continue to be upward in the years to come.

Steve Johnson

Posted by: Steve Johnson | Aug 5, 2008 10:22:53 AM