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US News: Law Schools Should Quit Blaming Us for Their Policies

Posted May 5, 2011 8:55 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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U.S. News & World Report is on the defensive after an article suggesting law schools are offering bait-and-switch scholarships in an effort to game the rankings.

Law schools should stop blaming us, according to the Morse Code blog of U.S. News. “Law schools need to take far more direct responsibility for their policies instead of citing the oft-repeated claims that they are forced into these actions solely because U.S. News exerts so much power over law school behavior,” the blog says.

Morse Code was responding to a New York Times story on merit scholarships. Law schools use grant programs to attract the best students possible in hopes of improving their U.S. News rankings, the Times reported. Many scholarship winners are left in the lurch when law schools cut off funds because the students didn’t maintain the required grade point average.

“It's clear that the U.S. News law school rankings have a large impact on law schools and prospective law school students,” Morse Code says. “However, the U.S. News Best Law School rankings are not why students lose their scholarships.”

The blog calls on law schools to disclose more information about the percentage of students who lose their scholarships. “One key question is whether law school students who lose their merit awards because they didn't achieve a certain GPA are being ripped off by the schools,” Morse Code says.

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