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Saturday, December 9, 2017

George Washington Shrinks Incoming Class Size To Stop Rankings Slide

George Washington Law Logo (2016)George Washington Hatchet, Law School Shrinks Incoming Class Size to Stop Slide in Rankings:

The law school deliberately enrolled a smaller class this fall in an effort to keep the GPA and standardized test scores of its incoming class in the top-tier of law schools nationwide, the school’s dean told the Faculty Senate Friday.

Dean Blake Morant told faculty that the law school brought in about 9 percent fewer new students this fall as compared to years past. In total the school’s enrollment dropped by about 250 students compared to last fall, according to statistics from the Office of Institutional Research and Planning.

Morant said enrolling a smaller class size was necessary to stop the school’s slide in U.S. News and World Report rankings, which heavily weigh attributes like GPA and Law School Admissions Test scores.

The law school is in a six-way tie for 30th in the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings, down five spots from they previous year. Morant said the rankings are typically the only way top law schools are able to compare themselves to peers and a school’s ranking is critical to its recruitment of prospective students.

He said he is also examining the school’s bar passage rate, reputation, selectively in admissions and faculty resources, all of which factor into the rankings.

But because the law school is dependent on tuition revenue to fund much of its budget, Morant said a smaller incoming class meant that the school had to cut some non-essential programs and essentially freeze new staff hiring.

“Let me say it this way. We want to make sure that we maintain the quality of education we give while also cutting away things we can do without,” he said. “We’ve basically frozen the hiring of staff and limited the hiring of faculty to only essential areas. We’re also looking at how we ferry out raises so we can save money there too.”

George Washington's student body ranks 27th in quality and its faculty ranks 6th in SSRN downloads.  Here is George Washington's U.S. News ranking over the past eight years:
2018:  30
2017:  25
2016:  22
2015:  20
2014:  21
2013:  20
2012:  20
2011:  20

Conferences, Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink


GW's problem is graduate job stats, not a two point swing in median LSAT. I imagine the've read some of the articles out there that show how a small swing in LSAT (due to use of percentiles) ends up being worth less in U.S. News than a .05 swing in GPA. But it's good they are shrinking, they've long pumped out way too many lawyers.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 9, 2017 10:55:00 AM

They'll make up the revenue losses by taking in hordes of transfers, as is their practice. USNWR doesn't count the GPAs and LSATs of transfers, and the transferees think GW has better placement than their old school (usually American) that they gladly pay full price!

Posted by: Old Ruster | Dec 9, 2017 5:36:19 PM

They must be hoping that this is a temporary situation that can be turned around. How can they function with (at least) 9% less revenue. Cull adjuncts?

Posted by: aircav65 | Dec 10, 2017 9:39:09 AM