Student Loan Data Will Be Part Of Mandatory ABA Law School Disclosure

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Student Loan Data Will Be Part Of Mandatory ABA Law School Disclosure

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Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, 509 Law School Standard Briefing Reports will include information on the number of students receiving student loans, and the data will be classified by race, ethnicity, and gender.

The ABA Legal Education and Admissions Section Board approved the change on Friday when it met virtually. Data collection for loan information will begin in the 2022-2023 academic year, according to memo from the committee on questionnaires and templates.

The Council also endorsed the committee’s recommendation that reports include data on students receiving scholarships and grants, disaggregated by race, ethnicity and gender. The committee members found this information to help the board determine the law school’s compliance with Standard 206, which deals with diversity and inclusion.

Proposed changes to this standard were recently circulated for notice and comment, and they created many answers… Consequently, the standards committee in Memo dated August 16 asked the council to cancel the vote on the proposed revision and provide further guidance. This request was also approved.

The proposal includes a requirement for public accountability if the law school does not meet Standard 206, and adds “ethnicity,” “gender identity or expression,” and “military status” to its definition of underrepresented groups. In addition, it is suggested that instructions be added on which actions to demonstrate compliance. Currently, Standard 206 requires schools to take “concrete actions” to demonstrate compliance, and some say the language is vague.

Puerto Rico’s law schools, as well as those historically associated with black colleges and universities, have many students of color. The Standards Committee asked if it was beneficial to attend law schools where most people belong to the same racial or ethnic group, or if such schools should require more white students. “We understand that this is unlikely; however, we want to better understand what the council wants in terms of diversity-related action or progress, as commentators have expressed concern that progress has not been identified, ”the memo said.

The memorandum indicated another way of revising the standard: clarification that people from under-represented groups in the legal profession should be included in the number of students, faculty and staff.

The proposed revision also drew criticism beyond the comments sent to the board, including Wall street journal an article titled “Why the Lawyers Cartel Seeks to Wake Law Schools” by John O. McGinnis, professor of the Pritzker School at Northwestern University.

In response, then ABA President Patricia Lee Refoe wrote to Letter dated July 22 newspaper that the council acts as the national accrediting faculty of law and is an independent arm of the association. Refo, litigation partner at Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix, also noted that the proposal could be revised based on the number of responses to notices and comments.

“ABA is firmly committed to eliminating bias and increasing involvement in the legal profession and the justice system. Current legal education standards reflect these goals. I am confident that when considering changes in standards for diversity and inclusion, the council will weigh all opinions and make decisions that are in the interests of legal education and its many stakeholders, ”she wrote.

The council on Friday approved other proposed standard changes, which are expected to go to the ABA House of Delegates for approval at the mid-year meeting in February. They include:

    • Adding the words “ethnicity”, “gender identity or expression” and “military status” to the language of Standard 205, and adding language requiring law schools to accept, publish, and adhere to a policy of non-discrimination.
    • Adding a new requirement that law schools must provide education on bias, intercultural competence and racism in Standard 303, which focuses on the curriculum. Proposals must be conducted at the beginning of the student’s legal education program and at least once again before graduation.
    • Adding language to Standard 507, which deals with student loan programs, which will require schools to provide loan advice to applicants and students.
    • Amendment to Standard 508 on student support services to require schools to provide students with information or services related to mental health, including substance use disorders.

In addition, the council approved changes to the annual employment summary report that law schools are required to submit along with the employment data of recent graduates. For the 2021 employment summary class, the employed-non-professional category will be changed to employed-other, and people who have put off work because they are new parents or are sick or caring for sick family members will be exempted. from counting and not classified as “unemployed”. Revision proposals have been made in Memorandum of August 10



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