Will you keep your conditional scholarship?

Despite negative press coverage in the past, more law students receive conditional scholarships than ever before. American Bar Association data shows that 120 law schools offered conditional scholarships to more than 11,300 students, or 29 percent of all students, in 2013-2014, the most recent year data is available. Seventy-three percent of those students kept their scholarships, up from 68.5 percent in 2011. 

But there are still big disparities in school retention rates. While 46 of the 120 law schools have retention rates higher than 80 percent, there are still 29 schools with retention rates below 60 percent.

A conditional schoalrship is any financial aid award which is dependent upon the student maintaining a minimum grade point average or class standing, other than remaining in good academic standing. This is the first year the ABA released detailed data on conditional scholarships. It did so in an effort to provide more transparency for prospective students. 

"I am not in favor of lower retention rates," said Jerry Organ, a law professor at University of St. Thomas School of Law who has studied this issue in depth. "But people can make their own choice now that data is available [on retention rates]. In 2011, people were making choices without a lot of information."

Law schools must now include its schoalrship retention rate in scholarship offer letters and on its website. 

"It is hard to avoid this information," he said. "If you want to take this risk, it is at least an informed risk."

Organ previously analyzed website statistics for 140 ABA-accredited schools that offered conditional scholarships based on academic achievement for entering students in 2011 and found that only eight schools had retention rates lower than 40 percent and 26 law schools had retention rates of 90 percent or better. The numbers have changed slightly since his first study. In fall 2013, only four schools have retention rates lower than 40 percent and 20 had retention rates above 90 percent. The data is now collected by the ABA. 

Organ said that while a higher percent of students receive conditional scholarships, the number of schools that offer scholarships based on good academic standing is up, from 54 to 78. 

"This would seem to indicate that at least some law schools have decided conditional scholarships aren't good for law schools or for law students," Organ wrote in a recent article. 

The University of Akron School of Law, which previously had the lowest retention rate for conditional schoalrships at just 15.7 percent, recently changed its policy so that all scholarships are guaranteed. 

"Acting upon my belief that we should be investing in our students and providing them with financial certainty during their law school careers, we ... changed our admissions scholarship system," said Dean Matt Wilson, who became dean a year ago. "All students entering our institution this year have received admissions scholarships that are guaranteed throughout the duration of their legal education. Accordingly, our scholarship renewal rate for the Class of 2015 will be 100 percent."

In fall 2013, the University of New Hampshire, Howard University and Golden Gate University posted the lowest retention rates. University of New Hampshire dropped from 87.9 percent to 30.6 percent.

Here are the 120 schools that offer conditional scholarships, sorted by lowest retention rate in 2013-2014:

 

Law School 2013-2014 Retention 2012-2013 Retention 2011-2012 Retention 3 year average
University of New Hampshire 30.6% 87.9% 66.7% 62.2%
Howard University School of Law 31.1% 29.3% 15.3% 25.3%
Golden Gate University 34.6% 43.2% 50.0% 42.3%
University of Akron* 36.8% 15.7% 21.2% 24.5%
Charlotte School of Law 42.0% 46.9% 42.3% 43.9%
Southern University 43.8% 100.0% 95.0% 80.0%
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 44.8% 55.6% 52.4% 50.5%
Texas A&M 46.1% 38.7% 35.7% 39.5%
St. John’s School of Law 46.2% 55.2% 56.6% 52.0%
Appalachian School of Law 46.2% 50.0% 69.2% 53.3%
Chapman Fowler School of Law 48.1% 48.0% 43.9% 46.8%
The John Marshall 48.9% 49.2% 50.4% 49.6%
Hofstra University 49.0% 46.7% 48.6% 48.1%
Wake Forest University 50.0% 100.0% 100.0% 83.3%
Arizona Summit 50.3% 53.4% 55.7% 53.2%
St. Thomas University 51.4% 44.4% 32.0% 42.0%
Capital University 53.6% 58.3% 64.8% 59.0%
Western State College of Law 54.1% 48.6% 39.3% 46.4%
Brigham Young University 54.4% 63.4% 50.9% 55.5%
St. Mary’s University 55.0% 24.2% 20.7% 31.4%
Touro Law Center 55.7% 64.4% 59.2% 59.6%
Barry Law School 56.0% 43.5% 39.4% 46.3%
Louisiana State University 57.3% 68.2% 58.8% 60.3%
Drake University 57.4% 63.4% 50.6% 56.8%
University of San Diego 57.5% 75.8% 70.6% 67.3%
George Mason University 59.3% 54.0% 32.2% 49.7%
University of Toledo 59.3% 50.7% 59.6% 56.1%
Drexel University Kline School of Law 59.6% 59.2% 63.7% 60.9%
Florida International University 60.7% 65.2% 62.5% 62.1%
University of Baltimore 60.9% 62.2% 66.3% 62.9%
New York Law School 61.4% 61.4% 53.0% 59.4%
Creighton University 61.8% 55.6% 64.3% 60.3%
Santa Clara Law 62.8% 46.7% 49.4% 53.3%
University of Nevada, Las Vegas 63.6% 59.3% 45.6% 56.4%
Willamette University 63.7% 56.0% 61.9% 60.6%
Florida Coastal School of Law 64.1% 66.8% 65.2% 65.5%
University of Alabama 64.8% 58.5% 54.2% 60.5%
Seattle University 66.2% 50.7% 45.7% 54.4%
Quinnipiac University 66.7% 64.2% 69.2% 66.7%
University of Arkansas at Little Rock 66.7% 69.4% 73.7% 69.8%
Thomas Jefferson School of Law 66.8% 72.2% 68.2% 69.2%
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School 68.1% 57.4% 53.4% 59.5%
Ave Maria School of Law 68.1% 57.4% 53.4% 59.5%
University of Kansas 68.8% 66.7% 66.7% 67.4%
Roger Williams University 69.6% 66.0% 73.8% 69.6%
University of Dayton 70.5% 61.1% 59.3% 63.1%
University of Idaho 71.2% 68.4% 48.6% 64.0%
Texas Tech University 71.3% 74.0% 57.3% 67.4%
Gonzaga University 71.3% 80.3% 77.3% 76.7%
Pacific McGeorge School of Law 71.4% 42.9% 41.7% 46.8%
University of Missouri 71.7% 68.5% 72.6% 71.1%
Rutgers — Camden 71.7% 69.6% 32.3% 54.0%
University of Memphis 72.0% 76.9% 63.6% 71.2%
Ohio Northern University 72.4% 64.1% 67.0% 67.7%
Campbell Law School 72.7% 77.6% 81.4% 77.4%
Pepperdine University 73.2% 71.7% 69.8% 71.6%
Belmont University College of Law 73.3% 67.4% 70.7% 70.5%
NSU’s Shepard Broad Law Center 74.0% 69.2% 63.4% 69.7%
Northern Illinois University 75.0% 93.3% 66.7% 78.7%
University of Detroit Mercy 75.0% 52.2% 69.2% 65.2%
University of Miami 75.3% 71.4% 62.1% 70.2%
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles 75.4% 62.3% 51.0% 64.1%
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 75.7% 70.0% 63.0% 70.2%
University of New Mexico 75.7% 70.0% 63.0% 70.2%
North Carolina Central University 76.0% 68.4% 68.8% 71.7%
Mississippi College 77.4% 83.3% 83.3% 80.1%
University of Nebraska 77.6% 74.2% 70.8% 74.2%
Southern Illinois University 77.6% 75.0% 64.8% 72.4%
South Texas College of Law/Houston 77.9% 68.3% 73.0% 73.8%
West Virginia University 78.5% 77.3% 72.9% 76.7%
Rutgers School of Law-Newark 79.0% 80.0% 82.4% 80.2%
Catholic University 79.1% 95.9% 87.3% 86.8%
Albany Law 80.4% 84.6% 64.5% 75.3%
University of Kentucky 80.7% 79.8% 69.1% 77.1%
Michigan State University 80.8% 87.5% 81.3% 83.0%
Loyola University New Orleans 81.0% 78.0% 65.8% 76.1%
Charleston School of Law 81.4% 81.4% 77.1% 80.1%
Pace University 81.6% 67.0% 54.5% 68.1%
UC Hastings 81.8% 100.0% 73.7% 82.1%
Washburn University 82.0% 68.5% 70.0% 73.7%
IU McKinney School of Law 82.3% 78.1% 59.6% 72.8%
Suffolk University 82.6% 83.8% 83.1% 83.2%
Seton Hall University 82.8% 71.0% 63.6% 71.4%
Tulane University Law School 82.9% 77.5% 82.5% 80.8%
Syracuse University 83.8% 83.3% 90.3% 85.5%
Northern Kentucky University 83.8% 93.2% 81.6% 85.6%
Southwestern Law School 84.2% 88.2% 88.9% 86.1%
University of La Verne 84.4% 58.3% 68.2% 71.8%
Faulkner Law 84.9% 66.7% 61.8% 73.2%
Samford University (Cumberland) 85.0% 85.0% 83.9% 84.7%
University of Pittsburgh 85.3% 81.2% 88.7% 85.1%
New England Law 86.0% 83.2% 84.6% 84.4%
Western New England University 86.4% 86.7% 82.5% 85.1%
SMU Dedman School of Law 86.7% 66.7% 100.0% 86.5%
University of Denver 87.6% 86.1% 82.0% 85.4%
Brooklyn Law School 88.1% 83.8% 47.3% 73.3%
Wayne State University 88.6% 65.5% 51.8% 67.6%
UMKC School of Law 88.9% 95.0% 83.8% 89.3%
Temple University 89.0% 84.6% 76.8% 84.1%
Valparaiso University 90.5% 60.6% 70.2% 76.1%
Cardozo School of Law 91.3% 91.1% 91.5% 91.3%
Oklahoma City University 92.1% 68.0% 66.7% 75.3%
California Western School of Law 93.6% 69.9% 72.5% 81.8%
CUNY School of Law 95.8% 100.0% 90.0% 94.9%
Hamline University 97.6% 93.4% 77.0% 87.4%
UCLA Law 98.7% 100.0% 100.0% 99.4%
Lewis & Clark Law School 99.0% 97.1% 82.7% 92.8%
University of Utah 100.0% 68.8% 75.0% 78.9%
Elon University 100.0% 90.9% 90.8% 92.3%
Ohio State University 100.0% 100.0% 98.6% 99.4%
American University 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Emory University 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Liberty University School of Law 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Stetson University 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
University of Connecticut 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
University of Minnesota 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
University of Oklahoma 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
University of South Dakota 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
University of Tennessee 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Vermont Law School 100.0% 99.1% 100.0% 99.6%
University of Florida Levin College of Law NA 97.0% 98.5% 97.6%
University of Oregon NA 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

* University of Akron no longer offers conditional schoalrships

Categories: