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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

66% of 1L's Retained Their Conditional Merit Scholarships in 2011-12

DiceFollowing up on my coverage of law school merit scholarships (links below):  The Legal Whiteboard: Conditional Scholarships and Scholarship Retention for 2011-12, by Jerry Organ (St. Thomas):

As a result of the ABA’s revisions to Standard 509, COnsumer Information, there is now a much greater universe of publicly available information about law school scholarship programs, specifically conditional scholarship programs and scholarship retention.  Based on a review of law school websites conducted between March 19 and May 29, 2013, I have compiled a complete list of schools with conditional scholarship programs, with only one-year scholarships, with good standing (or guaranteed) scholarships and with only need-based scholarships. ...

What do we know about the conditional scholarship programs in place for students entering law school in 2011-12?  There were 140 schools with conditional scholarship programs.  The average retention rate across all law schools was 69%.  In total, 12,735 students who entered law school in the fall of 2011 and continued into their second year of law school at the same school entered with conditional scholarships and 4,387 students lost those scholarships, a retention rate across individual students of 66%. Across the 194 law schools on which I compiled data, the Fall 2011 entering first-year class totaled 46,233, so roughly 27.5% of the students in the Fall 2011 entering first-year class were on conditional scholarships and roughly 9.5% of the students in the Fall 2011 entering first-year class failed to retain their conditional scholarship as they moved into the second year of law school. ...

As shown in Table 2, law schools ranked in the top-50 in the U.S.News 2012 Rankings had the smallest percentage of law schools with conditional scholarship programs, with only 20 law schools – 40% -- having conditional scholarship programs, directly impacting only 1,674 students who had conditional scholarships (12.8% of the 13,109 first-year students at these law schools) and only 192 who failed to retain their scholarships (11.5% of the 1674 conditional scholarship recipients and only 1.5% of the 13,109 first year students).   By contrast, across the balance of law schools, over 80% of the law schools had conditional scholarships with 11,061 of the 33,124 first-year students (33.4%) having conditional scholarships and 4,195 (37.9% of those on scholarship and 12.7% of first-years at the balance of law schools) losing their scholarships after their first-year of law school. ...

A number of law schools switched to non-conditional scholarship programs for 2012-13 or will be switching to non-conditional scholarship programs for the 2013-14 academic year. As a result, for the 2013-14 academic year, there will be 131 law schools with conditional scholarship programs, five law schools with non-renewable one-year scholarships, four that only offer need-based scholarships, and 54 law schools with good standing (or guaranteed) scholarships.  Of the 194 schools on which I was gathering information, therefore, as of the 2013-14 academic year, 70% will have conditional or one-year scholarship programs (136/194), while nearly 28% will have good standing (or guaranteed) scholarships (54/194), with 2% (4/194) having only need based scholarship assistance. (Note that some law schools with conditional scholarship programs also offer some scholarships on a non-conditional basis and/or offer some need-based assistance.)

Those who might be interested in a more detailed analysis of conditional scholarship programs, may want to look at the draft article I have posted on SSRN – Better Understanding the Scope of Conditional Scholarship Programs in American Law Schools

Update:

Prior TaxProf Blog posts:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2013/07/66-of-1ls.html

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Comments

We should name and shame schools with conditional scholarship programs.

Posted by: HTA | Jul 3, 2013 3:47:42 PM

starting the name and shame -- The SSRN artilcle lists the individual schools and look at George Mason with only 32 percent retaining the scholly.

Posted by: justin | Jul 3, 2013 9:41:41 PM

There is nothing wrong with a conditional scholarship, IF all of the conditions are clearly stated and placed in proper context when it is offered. I received a conditional scholarship that required me to stay in the top half of my class, and was glad to have it (and keep it). If I could not stay in the top half, was I really worthy of an academic scholarship?

However, with that being said, the schools that obscure the likelihood of retaining your scholarship while stacking the odds against retention are quite obviously engaging in deceptive practices.

Posted by: Todd | Jul 5, 2013 11:37:11 AM