Saturday, April 10, 2021
Statement of William E. Adams, Jr., Managing Director, ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Regarding Florida Coastal School of Law:
On April 2, 2021, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar was informed of the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to end access to federal student financial aid for Florida Coastal School of Law effective April 1, 2021. While the Department of Education's action could have a bearing on the law school's ability to operate in compliance with the ABA Standards, Florida Coastal School of Law remains an ABA-approved law school. Under the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, formal Council action is required to withdraw a law school’s approval. The process for the law school to qualify for and maintain its access to federal student financial aid is a U.S. Department of Education process.
In the wake of the Department of Education’s decision, the ABA has directed Florida Coastal School of Law to file a teach-out plan.
Both federal regulations and rules of the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar require a law school’s teach-out plan to provide equitable treatment of students affected by the plan. At this time, we expect the plan to be reviewed by the Executive Committee of the Council in late April 2021. That review and the law school's plan are not public matters under the ABA Rules, although those rules do not prevent the law school from making its proposed plan public. Given the timeline for the law school and its students, we would expect the law school to file and execute its plan in a timely fashion. Nothing in the teach-out rules prevents a law school from addressing the needs of the students in advance of the plan being approved. The Council's review will cover both what the law school has done and proposes to do to fulfill its responsibilities under the teach-out plan rules. The Managing Director’s Office cannot comment further until the law school’s plans become clear and the teach-out plan has been approved.
The action taken by the U.S. Department of Education is a separate action from the accreditation process. The ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has no authority or jurisdiction over the action taken by the Department of Education and the Managing Director’s office cannot answer any questions regarding the actions taken by the Department. Questions should be directed to the Department of Education.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- After 71% Enrollment Decline, Florida Coastal Plans To Further Shrink 1L Class To Raise Minimum LSAT Score By 7 Points And Avoid Fate Of Arizona Summit, Charlotte Law Schools (July 3, 2017)
- ABA Notices To Law Schools About Potential Non-Compliance With Accreditation Standards (Oct. 31, 2017)
- Florida Coastal Law School: 'We Are Not For Sale' (Nov. 29, 2017)
- ABA: Florida Coastal Law School Remains Out Of Compliance With Three Of Four Accreditation Standards (May 3, 2018)
- Florida Coastal Law School Sues ABA; Kirkland & Ellis Alleges Arbitrary Enforcement Of Accreditation Standards (May 11, 2018)
- Florida Coastal School of Law Seeks Restraining Order Against The ABA (June 19, 2018)
- Federal Judge Denies Florida Coastal Law School's TRO Bid Against The ABA (June 20, 2018)
- ABA Gives An Inch In Accreditation Fight With Florida Coastal Law (June 27, 2018)
- ABA Moves To Dismiss Florida Coastal's Lawsuit Alleging Arbitrary Enforcement Of Accreditation Standards (July 3, 2018)
- ABA Wins Early Round Against Florida Coastal Law In Accreditation Lawsuit (July 11, 2018)
- ABA: Florida Coastal Remains Out of Compliance With Law School Accreditation Standards (Sept. 8, 2019)
- July 2018 Florida Bar Exam Results (Sept. 18, 2018)
- In Wake Of 93% Enrollment Decline, Florida Coastal Law School Seeks To Ditch InfiLaw, Become Nonprofit, And Merge With University In The Southeast (But Not In Florida) (Feb 6, 2019)
- All InfiLaw Suits Against the ABA Appear To Be Headed To Resolution (May 3, 2019)
- Lawsuit Claims Florida Coastal Law School Used Mandatory Bar Prep Course To 'Weed Out' Students And 'Artificially Inflate' Bar Passage Rate To Retain ABA Accreditation (Sept. 19, 2019)
- Florida Coastal Law School Asks ABA To Reconsider Its Request To Shed For-Profit Status (Sept. 28, 2019)
- Florida Coastal Law School Makes Another Bid For Nonprofit Status (Nov. 5, 2019)
- In Wake Of 89% Enrollment Decline, ABA Again Says Florida Coastal Law School Is Not In Compliance With Accreditation Standards, Again Rejects Conversion From For-Profit To Non-Profit Status (Dec. 23, 2019)
- ABA Ends Three-Year Investigation, Finds Florida Coastal Law School In Full Compliance With Accreditation Standards (Mar. 1, 2020)
- ABA: Four Law Schools Are Back In Compliance With 75% Bar Passage Accreditation Requirement (Mar. 1 2021)