Charlotte School of Law's state license expires after missed deadline
The Charlotte School of Law. ABA file photo by Albert Dickson.
The Charlotte School of Law’s operating license has reportedly expired, leaving unclear what happens next to the embattled school or its students.
The law school did not met a Thursday deadline set in by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, a spokesperson for the agency confirmed. A press release (PDF) from the law school states that it has asked the board for an extension to meet all conditions.
The board did not immediately confirm it granted an extension. However, it appears the school will remain open, Inside Higher Ed reported.
State conditions for licensure included the Charlotte School of Law submitting an ABA-approved teach-out or remedial plan by this past Thursday, and obtaining a tuition guaranty bond at least equal amount the prepaid tuition from students who may participate in the proposed teach-out plan. Also, the school was not to admit any new students.
A representative from the UNC system told the ABA Journal on Tuesday that the InfiLaw campus had submitted its proposed plans to the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. Barry Currier, the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education, said that he could not disclose when council would release its decision to the public. The group met Friday at the ABA’s annual meeting in New York City.
In October, the council issued a decision (PDF) to place the school on probation. Two months later the U.S. Department of Education announced the school would lose its federal student aid after finding it made “substantial misrepresentations” to current and prospective students regarding its compliance with ABA accreditation standards.
Over the past year, Charlotte School of Law has made several statements that student loan funds would be released. In May the second disbursement of direct loan funds was released, reportedly only to students with fall-spring packages. At the end of July, the school announced that the Department of Education was “prepared to reinstate the school’s ability to award” federal student loan money under the Title IV program.
When contacted last week by the ABA Journal, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said discussions were ongoing. The agency’s requirements were outlined in a July 27 letter (PDF).
“Until the discussions reach a successful conclusion, CSL will remain ineligible to participate in the Title IV programs,” the spokesperson said. The department did not immediately respond to an inquiry Friday regarding a deadline extension.
Amidst the accreditation matter, the North Carolina attorney general’s office earlier this year announced a civil fraud investigation against the law school.
“Our office will do everything possible to enforce state law and protect students,” a spokesperson for state attorney general Josh Stein wrote Friday in an email to the ABA Journal. Stein has contacted the law school, according to the email, “to request the school demonstrate its compliance with the licensure statute. Along with all other licensure requirements, the Department of Justice is monitoring whether Charlotte School of Law met the U.S. Department of Education’s requirement for a $6 million letter of credit to benefit students.”