In the Aug. 13 edition of The Atlantic, the magazine ran a scathing report on for-profit law schools including InfiLaw System, the company that for the past year has been trying to purchase the Charleston School of Law.
The report begins with an anecdote about David Frakt, a candidate for dean's job at Florida Coastal School of Law, one of InfiLaw's three private law schools. According the story, when Frakt during the interview process made a presentation directly addressing sharply declining enrollment, drastically reduced admission standards and low morale among employees, he was told to leave, and that if he didn't, law enforcement would be called.
The article goes on to say that InfiLaw launched its three schools between 2004 and 2006, the same time that a set of changes in federal loan programs for financing graduate and professional education made launching for-profit law schools tempting opportunities. One of those changes was the extension of the PLUS loan program, which allowed any graduate student to admitted to an accredited program to borrow the full cost of attendance.
And it enrolled many students who wouldn't have qualified for admission at public or nonprofit law schools. Law students must submit scores on the standardized LSAT when they apply to law school. According to the story, students with lower LSAT scores are less likely to pass the bar exam, a requirement to practice law.
Students reportedly racked up staggering debt at Florida Coastal, with the median being $204,000 for students who graduated in 2013. And employment outcomes are grim. Of the 2013 graduates, one quarter of them remained unemployed nine months after graduation.
The story doesn't address the Charleston School of Law, except to mention that InfiLaw is trying to acquire it.
Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.