Chesterton Tribune



Valparaiso University Law School, in funding crisis, cancels firstyear 2018-19 class

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Valparaiso University’s Board of Directors has voted to suspend admission of a first-year class at its School of Law for academic year 2018-19.

According to a statement released after deadline on Thursday, the university’s administration “will coordinate, as necessary or appropriate, with its accrediting organizations to prepare plans to allow the opportunity for currently enrolled law students in Valparaiso, Ind., to complete their legal educations.”

The move follows “a several-year process which has included efforts to seek to improve the Law School’s financial circumstances, and analysis of the Law School’s projected future financial position conducted by third-party financial consultants,” the statement said.

“Similar to other law schools across the nation facing declining student enrollment and severe financial challenges, the Law School has faced a number of challenges in recent years as legal education struggles in response to the lessening demand for students in the legal job market,” the statement said. “Based upon third-party projections, including the Law School’s probable continuation of significantly decreased student enrollment, it has been determined that the Law School is financially unsustainable for the foreseeable future and its continued operation could significantly impede the University’s ability to achieve its mission, vision and goals.”

“This has been a very difficult decision,” VU Board Chair Frederick Kraegel said. “As the need for legal education continues to be challenged, we have taken numerous actions during the last several years to try to stabilize the Law School’s financial situation. Actions have included a reduction in employment levels last year in an attempt to align the school’s faculty and staff to its decreased student population. Despite these efforts, it is highly unlikely that the Law School’s operations will achieve financial stability.”

“We are focused on ensuring fair and reasonable treatment of those impacted by this decision through an orderly and carefully considered process,” Kraegel added. “These financial circumstances do not diminish the Law School’s proud legacy of more than 130 years and the thousands of successful law graduates who lead and serve around the world. It is important to note that the Law School’s situation is distinct from that of the overall University. Valparaiso University continues to be financially sustainable while maintaining strong, high quality undergraduate enrollment, high national rankings, and a track record of 96 percent of recent undergraduate alumni employed or in graduate programs.”

Meanwhile, the board has directed the university’s administration “to explore alternative possibilities related to the severe financial challenges facing its Law School. These could include “the possibility of affiliating the Law School with another existing law school, or relocating the Law School to another geographic market with perceived greater demand for legal education.”

“Depending on the circumstances of such changes, approval of various accrediting organizations may be necessary,” the statement noted.



Posted 11/17/2017




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