The restructuring of higher ed in Virginia continues with relentless efficiency. First St. Paul’s College. Then Virginia State University. Then Sweetbriar College. Now it’s the Appalachian School of Law.
At its peak enrollment, ASL in Grundy (far Southwest Virginia, for the Virginia-geography impaired) had 150 students in the graduating class. The incoming class for 2014 was 45, and the next class will drop again this fall, according to the TaxProf blog. The faculty has dropped from 14 full-time professors to eight.
ASL has entered into discussions with Emory & Henry College to work out a possible affiliation. Meanwhile, writes the TaxProf:
We have heard from many members of the ASL Alumni Association. Everyone we spoke to says they are worried about their school. They believe the ASL Board of Trustees isn’t doing enough pro-actively to save it and may have missed opportunities in the past. They fear the school will close if something isn’t done soon. … [T]he Alumni Association is looking at all options including legal action against the board the trustees. …
In an effort to get students in the doors (which is basically tuition), ASL has joined a growing number of law schools that are lowering their requirements. This means bringing in students who may not otherwise get into law school. … In July 2014, the percentage of people who passed the bar in Virginia was 68% compared to 42% of ASL students that was the lowest rate for any law school located in the Commonwealth.
Clarification: The wording of my first paragraph has confused at least two readers. I do not mean to imply that all four colleges listed are threatened with closing. I do mean to say that they have had widely publicized financial difficulties, which in at least once case has led to closing.