Thursday, May 5, 2011
- NY Times: Law Schools Award Merit Scholarships to Recruit Students (and Goose U.S. News Ranking), And Then Take Them Away With Rigid Grading Curves (May 1, 2011)
- Merit Scholarships, Grading Curves & US News as Law School Bait and Switch (May 2, 2011)
Robert Morse (Director of Data Research at U.S. News) responds in U.S. News Looks at the Rise in Merit Aid at Law Schools (May 5, 2011):
U.S. News's take on these issues: One key question is whether law school students who lose their merit awards because they didn't achieve a certain GPA are being ripped off by the schools. Law school students who are depending on these awards to finance their entire legal education must make every effort to fully understand all the risks, rules, and trade-offs in advance of enrolling. At the same time, law schools need to disclose more information about how grading on the curve really works and what proportion of students lose their merit awards after the first year. Law School Transparency has made a new proposal to the ABA that requires law schools to disclose far more detailed scholarship retention information.
It's clear that the U.S. News law school rankings have a large impact on law schools and prospective law school students. However, the U.S. News Best Law School rankings are not why students lose their scholarships. In addition, the article implies that the U.S. News rankings are the key factor behind why law schools are offering more merit-based aid and less need-based aid in order to enroll students with higher LSATs and GPAs and, as a result, improve in the rankings. Law schools need to take far more direct responsibility for their policies instead of citing the oft-repeated claims that they are forced into these actions solely because U.S. News exerts so much power over law school behavior.
- ABA Journal, US News: Law Schools Should Quit Blaming Us for Their Policies
- Above the Law, It’s On Now: U.S. News Tells Law Schools To Take Some Personal Responsibility