Charlotte School of Law students reportedly will receive spring loan money
Image from Charlotte School of Law’s Facebook page.
Updated: Spring semester student loan proceeds for Charlotte School of Law students will be disbursed, a school spokesperson told the ABA Journal on Tuesday. Students were informed Tuesday that the spring semester, previously announced as starting Jan 17, would begin Jan. 23 “to aid in a smooth transition.”
Previously, it was reported that access to the funds was in jeopardy, after a U.S. Department of Education finding that the school made “substantial misrepresentations” to current and prospective students regarding its compliance with ABA accreditation standards. The financial aid cutoff was scheduled to begin Dec. 31, and Charlotte School of Law had until Jan. 3, 2017 to dispute the Department’s findings. On Jan. 4, the school reported in a blog post that the agency had extended the deadline.
In the same post, the school reported that it was working on getting students awarded Federal Direct Loans their money, and that it is also looking into “bridge financing” for loan proceeds that would cover things besides tuition and fees. The post also noted that the school was exploring private loans for students, including institutional loans.
A U.S. Department of Education spokesperson would not confirm that the agency released federal loan money to the school. He did tell the ABA Journal that the department was “in conversations” with the law school about students “getting an option to participate in a teach out for next semester.”
The ABA first informed the law school that it was out of compliance with various standards in February 2016, and again in July 2016. At neither time was the information shared with current or prospective students, according to the education department. The standards in question include 301(a), which states that law schools must maintain a legal education program that prepares students to be lawyers, and 501(a) and (b), which address admissions policies and practices.
Charlotte School of Law appealed the ABA finding, and it was upheld (PDF) in October. At that time, the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar placed the law school on probation. It remains an ABA-accredited law school.
The ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in December issued a FAQ sheet (PDF) about the Department of Education’s findings. It noted that the law school had been placed on probation, and the notice “spells out the process” for what the school should do to remove itself from probation status. It also stated that the Department of Education action was a “separate action” from the accreditation process.
Also, the Charlotte Observer reports that Camille Davidson, the law school’s associate dean for academic services and faculty development, was asked to resign from that position by its dean, Jay Conison. The newspaper reported that she would remain on staff at the law school. The article reported that Davidson is known as a good student advocate.
“Integrity is important to me. I have always acted with, and will continue to act with integrity. Everyone who knows me, including faculty, staff, students and alumni can confirm this,” Davidson told the ABA Journal. “I joined Charlotte Law 10 years ago because I was passionate about teaching. The students have suffered the most, and I will continue to advocate for them as a full-time tenured member of the Charlotte Law faculty.”
Updated at 1:54 p.m. to note that the spring semester start date has been pushed back to Jan. 23.