Charlotte School of Law
Law School’s Actions Misleading and Dishonest
In an abrupt move, the U.S. Department of Education yanked access to federal financial aid for Charlotte School of Law due to “misleading” and “dishonest” actions.
Federal student aid is no longer available to current or prospective students of Charlotte School of Law. According to the DOE, nearly 950 students were using federal funds to help pay the annual $60,000 tuition in the 2015–2016 academic year. That adds up to more than $48 million (mostly in student loans). Currently approximately 700 students attend the for-profit school, which is owned by Infilaw – a corporate enterprise that also operates law schools in Florida and Arizona.
“Charlotte School of Law continuously misrepresented itself”
U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell said in a prepared U.S. Department of Education statement:
“The [American Bar Association] ABA repeatedly found that the Charlotte School of Law does not prepare students for participation in the legal profession. Yet Charlotte School of Law continuously misrepresented itself to current and prospective students as hitting the mark. Charlotte School of Law’s actions were misleading and dishonest. We can no longer allow them continued access to federal student aid.”
The Charlotte Observer reported that the pass rate by Charlotte School of Law graduates last summer was only 45% – the lowest in the state and 20 percentage points lower than the state average. The article explains that after 2008’s economic slide, the school was forced to recruit more at-risk students who have less chance of passing the bar, while still being saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt.
Exactly how did Charlotte School of Law misrepresent itself to unwitting students? The ABA sets fundamental standards to which law schools must comply. No exceptions. Charlotte School of Law missed the mark by failing to:
- Maintain a rigorous program of legal education that prepares its students, upon graduation, for admission to the bar and for ethical, effective and responsible participation as members of the legal profession
- Maintain sound admission policies consistent with the school’s objectives and mission of the school’s program to provide legal education
- Refrain from admitting applicants who appear incapable of satisfactorily completing the program of legal education and gaining admission to the bar
Multiple Warnings Met With Continued Noncompliance
Moreover, Charlotte School of Law administrators and officials were given ample warning and time to respond to accusations of noncompliance. The ABA first warned the school of noncompliance in February 2016 and again in July. Not only did the school fail to respond to these notices, they failed to disclose their notices of noncompliance to current and prospective students.
ABA Places Charlotte School of Law on 2-Year Probation
Finally, in October the ABA placed Charlotte School of Law on probation for two years.
That’s when the DOE got involved. When considering the school’s request for recertification, it took these serious issues into account. Based on their judgment about Charlotte School of Law’s capability and performance as a fiduciary of federal funds, the agency denied the law school’s recertification and participation in federal student aid programs.
“Devastating blow to hardworking students”
Through no fault of their own, hundreds of exam-weary Charlotte School of Law students will now need to scramble to find a way to pay for classes, if and when they resume in 2017. Jonathan Sink, legislative liaison for Mecklenburg County was quoted by the Charlotte Observer saying: “The misrepresentations made by the Charlotte School of Law and … Infilaw are astounding,” He further opined that the government’s decision to cut off aid to the school was not surprising but remained “a devastating blow to hardworking students and alumni.”
NC Lawyers Investigating Potential Fraud Claims Against Charlotte School of Law
If you attended the Charlotte School of Law at any time since 2014, contact us immediately or call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078. Our formidable CSL team has been assembled exclusively for these cases. If you are among the victims of this for-profit institution’s dishonesty, you may be eligible for compensation, including but not limited to:
- Forgiveness of student loans and loans for other expenses
- Tuition, room, and board
- Bar review costs, bar exam fees, and other organization fees
- Certain living and moving expenses
- Loss of opportunities
- Punitive damages if there was fraud
- Among other forms of compensation, based on individual situations