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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Charleston Law School's Unexpected Rebound

Charleston Logo (2017)preLaw, Charleston Law's Unexpected Rebound:

Just two years ago, Charleston School of Law was on the brink of failing. Enrollment numbers were dwindling. Its financial health was in peril. Graduate’s debt to income ratios were high. Above all, the school was beleaguered by a controversial pending sale to a private company.

But the for-profit law school has rebounded and improved at an unexpected rate. By making a series of tough choices under the leadership of President Ed Bell, the law school has improved its financial standing and attracted more students to its urban campus in downtown Charleston.

“The school is turning around quicker than I ever could have imagined,” Bell said. “This has really been a perfect storm for everything to go right.”

Most recently, Charleston Law was able to improve its Financial Responsibility Composite score, a yardstick used by the federal government for measuring a school’s financial health, from 0.6 to 2.6 in just two years. The composite score reflects the overall financial health of a law school on a scale from negative 1.0 to positive 3.0. Schools with a score greater than 1.5 are considered financially responsible. Schools with less than 1.0 are not considered financially responsible and are in danger of losing access to federal financial aid funds under the Title IV program. ...

Charleston Law is improving in other areas, too. In the years since the law school withdrew from a pending sale to the for-profit law school consortium InfiLaw, first year enrollment has risen from 84 incoming students in 2015 to an estimated 220 in 2017. The school is also appealing its failing grade under the DOE’s gainful employment test, which measures graduates’ debt to income ratios. ...

Charleston Law is in the midst of transitioning from a for-profit institution to a nonprofit organization.

Here are Charleston's admissions data from Law School Transparency:


Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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More on Charleston Law School's rebound:

Median splits, 2010: 154 and 3.18
Median splits, 2016: 145 and 3.01

25th percentile splits, 2010: 151 and 2.9
25th percentile splits, 2016: 141 and 2.7

Number of matriculants, 2010: 237
Number of matriculants, 2015: 85

Number of applicants in 2010: 2,054
Number of acceptances, 2010: 1,018
Acceptance rate: 49%

Number of applicants in 2016: 1258
Number of acceptances, 2016: 912
Acceptance rate: 72%

Decline in applicants, 2010-2016: 38%

Median tuition discount, 2010: $7,500
Number of students getting tuition discount, 2010: 233 of 702

Median tuition discount, 2015: $12,000
Number of students receiving discount, 2016: 270 of 355

Full-time faculty and administrators, 2010: 30
Full-time faculty and administrators, 2016: 16

South Carolina Bar pass rate, 2010: 77%
South Carolina Bar pass rate, 2016: 62%

Number of 2016 grads that landed full-time, long-term, license-required jobs at any salary within ten months of graduation: 75 of 141.

All information courtesy of Law School Transparency and/or Charlotte’s ABA Form 509 disclosures

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jul 11, 2017 12:44:55 PM

The 25% fall from 143 to 141 is telling. This is not as optimistic a picture as the story wants to paint.

Posted by: BA | Jul 11, 2017 1:04:04 PM