Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Florida Coastal Law School Makes Another Bid For Nonprofit Status

Following up on my previous post, Florida Coastal Law School Asks ABA To Reconsider Its Request To Shed For-Profit Status:  Inside Higher Ed, After First Rejection, Florida Coastal Law School Makes Another Bid To Go Nonprofit:

Florida Coastal (2017)Florida Coastal School of Law, a Jacksonville-based for-profit institution, suffered a setback last month in its bid to reclassify as a nonprofit.

The law school’s application was rejected by its accreditor, the American Bar Association, last month in a confidential decision. But Florida Coastal, which has posted improved bar-passage rates after years of dismal numbers, says it’s full steam ahead on the push to go nonprofit.

“We’re focused on moving forward with this application,” said Peter Goplerud, Florida Coastal’s president.

The law school submitted a second application to the ABA last week and still hopes to reclassify as a nonprofit institution by next year.

The plans at the law school are indicative of the kinds of changes sweeping the for-profit legal education sector more broadly, some observers said.

The sector was already small to begin with. But in recent years, law schools operated by InfiLaw, Florida Coastal’s parent company, have closed or are in the process of shutting down. Charlotte School of Law shut down in 2017, and Arizona Summit Law School made plans last year to eventually close its doors. Other law schools, including Charleston School of Law in South Carolina and John Marshall in Atlanta, have made plans to convert to nonprofit status as well. A change in tax status means colleges are subject to fewer federal regulations. Those colleges also hope it would help enrollment.

While the number of new students entering law school has declined over all in recent years, the for-profit sector in particular has taken a big hit, said Kyle McEntee, executive director and co-founder of Law School Transparency, a consumer advocacy group that focuses on legal education.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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