Legal Education

Florida Coastal federal financial aid to be released, following letter of credit submission

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Florida Coastal School of Law

Florida Coastal School of Law. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Updated: The U.S. Department of Education approved Thursday the release of federal student aid to Florida Coastal School of Law, a for-profit InfiLaw school, after the school submitted a letter of credit to the agency.

Florida Coastal students were expecting the student loan money by or before Sept. 9, Above the Law reported.

The letter of credit requirement followed Florida Coastal not meeting fiscal responsibility standards required by the department for the fiscal year ending in 2018.

“The school did post a letter of credit. The school responded to the regulatory requirements of the Department of Education. Florida Coastal has recently been found in compliance with the ABA Standards. It continues to have stronger bar pass rates and significantly increased academic credentials for each entering class,” Peter Goplerud, who was recently appointed as the law school’s president, told the ABA Journal in an email.

He is also the interim president of another InfiLaw campus, Arizona Summit Law School, which is currently operating under a teachout plan.

The council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in August denied Florida Coastal’s application to convert to a nonprofit, and its dean, Scott DeVito, recently left the school. Jennifer Reiber is now Florida Coastal’s interim dean, according to its website.

In regards to the council finding, Goplerud said it needed additional items, and the law school will have the information to the council before it’s next meeting, in November.

The InfiLaw Corp., an entity of the private equity company Sterling Capital Partners, had three law schools until recently. But Florida Coastal is the only one that remains open and not operating under a teach-out plan. The law schools, in separate lawsuits, sued the ABA in May 2018 regarding accreditation findings. By April, all the law schools agreed to dismiss the actions.

Florida Coastal is the only InfiLaw campus that has not been placed on probation by the ABA legal ed section’s council. In 2017, the council found that the law school was “significantly out of compliance” with various standards regarding admissions and legal education programs. But by May, the council found that the school had demonstrated compliance with the standards in question.

According to Florida Coastal’s Standard 509 Information Report for 2018, its median LSAT score is 150; the median undergraduate GPA is 3.14. The document showed a total of 207 students. For the class of 2016, the ultimate bar passage rate was 64.54%, according to ABA data. In 2018, the law school had 185 first-time test takers, and the pass rate was 56.76%.

Also in August, the ABA legal ed section’s council accepted Michigan State University College of Law’s application to fully integrate with Michigan State University. Despite its name, the law school is a private, stand-alone school. It’s been affiliated with MSU since 1995, but it is a separate legal entity and is fiscally independent, Dean Lawrence Ponoroff previously told the ABA Journal.

Hat tip to Faculty Lounge.

Updated Sept. 12 at 9:57 a.m. to add information about the student financial aid. Updated Sept. 13 at 10:30 a.m. to include information about the release of the financial and to update the story headline.

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