This post is the Infilaw law schools. Infllaw is a subsidiary of the good folks at Sterling Partners. Infilaw currently owns three ABA-accredited law schools, Arizona Summit (formerly Phoenix), Charlotte, and Florida Coastal, and is trying to acquire Charleston. These schools are for-profit operations, and a question I’ve been puzzling over lately is whether non-profit status (195 of 201 ABA law schools are non-profits) produces any significant ideological constraint on the institutions that maintain such a status.
The 25th percentile LSAT score for matriculants into the part-time program of Florida Coastal’s entering class of 2013 was 138. A 138 means that 90.4% of test takers scored higher than you did. That means a quarter of the entering students had an LSAT score below that. How far below? That’s unknown, but Florida Coastal was imprudent enough to publish its 2012 LSAT/GPA admissions grid in the 2014 ABA Guide, which shows the school admitted eight applicants with LSAT scores between 130 and 134. Note this information is regarding the entering class of 2012, which ended up having a 25th LSAT for the part-time program of 140, i..e, two points higher than that of the class of 2013, which in turn suggests that the school in this past admissions cycle admitted many more than eight people with LSATs of 134 and below.
An LSAT of 134 means that 95.3% of test takers scored higher. To get a 134 you have to choose the right answer on about 29 of 100 LSAT questions, but since it’s a multiple choice test this means that, accounting for random correct answers, you only need to get nine questions right as a consequence of something other than chance.
Typical LSAT question:
Laird: Pure research provides us with new technologies that
contribute to saving lives. Even more worthwhile than this,
however, is its role in expanding our knowledge and
providing new, unexplored ideas.
Kim: Your priorities are mistaken. Saving lives is what counts
most of all. Without pure research, medicine would not be
as advanced as it is.
Laird and Kim disagree on whether pure research
(A) derives its significance in part from its providing new technologies
(B) expands the boundaries of our knowledge of medicine
(C) should have the saving of human lives as an important goal
(D) has its most valuable achievements in medical applications
(E) has any value apart from its role in providing new technologies to save lives.
(You can spend an average of about a minute and a half per question).
Moving right along, the Infilaw schools have published student loan data for their 2013 graduating classes (this information won’t be available for law schools in general for another month or two), and the numbers are startling. Arizona Summit reports that the “median cumulative program debt” for its 2013 grads is $184,825. Note that this number doesn’t include interest accrued during law school, which can be calculated fairly precisely since these are all federal loans, at interest rates of 6.8% for a minority of the debt and 7.9% for most of it. So the median law school debt of the school’s class of 2013 is approximately $220,000 at repayment (November 2013). This doesn’t include undergraduate or other educational debt.
Charlotte’s 2013 grads took out a median of $175,715 in loans (translating into about $210,000 in law school debt at repayment), while Florida Coastal’s numbers were $162,549 and $196,000.
Collectively these schools produced 1,214 JDs in 2013, which means a single year’s worth of graduates of the three Infilaw law schools are carrying roughly a quarter of a billion dollars in federal loan debt, none of which is dischargeable in bankruptcy. A glance at schools’ employment statistics suggests that approximately seven of these 1,214 graduates acquired jobs that would make it possible for them to service the median debt acquired by the school’s graduates without in enrolling financial hardship programs (Income-Based Repayment/Pay As You Earn). These programs will cause the graduates’ principal debt balances to balloon over the next 20 to 25 years, until it is discharged, with the discharged amounts imputed as income to them at that point (if man is still alive).