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Thursday, March 24, 2011

ABA Proposes Changes to Accreditation Standards

ABA Logo From the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar:
  • Rule 20.  Major Change in the Organizational Structure of a Provisionally or Fully Approved Law School
  • Standard 105.  Standard 105. Major Change in Program or Structure

The proposed changes to Standard 105 and Rule 20 conform to new DOE regulations regarding major changes in a school’s program of legal education.  A proposed major change requires a school to apply to the Accreditation Committee and, in most instances, to the Council as well, for acquiescence before the school can implement the major change.  The most common major change applications the Section currently receives are for creating a new degree-granting program in addition to the J.D. (e.g., a new LL.M. program) and opening of a satellite or branch campus. The additional major changes, each of which is required by DOE regulations, that would require an application for acquiescence are:

  • contracting with another educational entity that is not certified to participate in Title IV, whereby a student could earn 25% or more of the course credits required for graduation from the approved law school [proposed Interpretation 105-1(16)Rule 20(a)(10)];
  • the addition of a permanent location at which a law school will be conducting a teach-out for students at another law school that has ceased operations [proposed Interpretation 105-1(17);Rule 20(a)(11)]; and
  • a significant change in the mission or objectives of the law school [proposed Interpretation 105-1(18)Rule 20(a)(12)]

We solicit and encourage written comments on each proposed change by letter or e-mail [by April 20, 2011].  A hearing on these proposed changes is also scheduled for 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. on May 5, 2011. ...  We expect that final Council action on these matters will occur at the Council meeting scheduled for June 10-11, 2011.

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