Saturday, January 28, 2017

Charlotte School of Law students still left hanging on how they'll pay

While classes at Charlotte Law School started last Monday, its students are in limbo concerning their short-term and long-term futures. 

Charlotte Observer, Charlotte School of Law starts food drive so students get something to eat.  Nope, this is not a joke.

"Cut off from millions of dollars in federal loans because of their school’s chronic failings, students at Charlotte School of Law still don’t know how they’ll pay tuition, rent and utilities. Now they are apparently running out of food. In response, one of their professors announced Friday that some faculty and other law school employees have started a food drive to make sure students of the reeling school have enough to eat."

"The government agency and the American Bar Association have both accused the for-profit law school of hiding chronic problems with admissions, curriculum and test scores from students. But the cutoff of federal money has left students pondering how they will pay for school and living expenses. There are reports that some students have stopped attending classes because they can’t afford gas for their cars. Observers say more than half the student body has already left the school."

How can we be prepare for class when we can’t feed ourselves?” said third-year student Margaret Kocaj of Charlotte. “How can we study when we have headaches because we can’t afford to eat? This is our reality now. There are no words.”

"For weeks, school leaders have been promising to list of series of alternatives to replace missing federal loans. But deadlines have come and gone. Thursday, the school sent out an email that it would release details within 72 hours."

"Sigman, along with other faculty, staff and school administrators, have stepped in to help meet the need for food. A makeshift pantry has been set up in the student commons of the College Street school."

“By remaining open the school has done more harm than good, and the results appear to be starving students who are on the verge of homelessness. It’s incredible,” a student said.

More:

Charlotte Business Journal, Does Charlotte Law’s teach-out plan mean its closing?

"Charlotte School of Law’s leadership said this week it expected to submit a teach-out plan to the American Bar Association by the end of the day Friday."

“Given the timeline for the school and its students, we would expect the school to not only file its plan in a timely fashion, but begin executing it. Nothing in the teach-out rules bar a school from beginning to address the needs of the students in advance of the plan being reviewed,” Barry Currier, managing director of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions, said in a statement.

"So does that mean Charlotte is closing?

The ABA declined to offer further clarification on Friday as to whether submission of that plan means Charlotte Law will have to close its doors."

"Charlotte Law President Chidi Ogene was adamant on Tuesday that the school intended to remain open. He called the teach out plan a “fall back” and said Charlotte Law has a moral, ethical and financial obligation to its students."

"Initial reports showed that roughly 230 students have transferred — a 33% drop — from the about 700 students taking classes last fall."

"Loss of federal funds has forced the law school to lay off half of its faculty and staff to bring its cost structure into balance. It now employs roughly 35 people."

Even more:

David Frakt, Update on the Charlotte Law School Faculty Firings

"The school also fired three full-time clinical faculty members, denying their requests for a reasonable opportunity to wind down their many active cases, placing them in a difficult ethical position."

"Charlotte School of Law has characterized the firings as a reduction in force, but multiple faculty members have reported to me that the administration did not comply with the contractual requirements for declaring a reduction in force, making the legality of the terminations questionable, to say the least.

Many of the faculty members are consulting with counsel and weighing their legal options.  Expect multiple lawsuits by the faculty in addition to the multiple lawsuits already filed by students."

Questions:

1.  What is Charlotte doing about the clients of the closed clinics?

2.  When is Charlotte going to fix its website to comply with ABA rules?  For example, they still list the availability of federal financial aid.  Likewise, personnel changes have not been made on the site.

3.  Charlotte is on probation with the ABA.  How does its refusal to fix its website affect its probation?

4.  How will Charlotte's refusal to close affect the dischargeability of its students' federal loans?

5.  Will Charlotte refund spring tuition to those students who are unable to obtain financial aid?

6.  How will the transfer of students from Charlotte affect its 2017 bar passage rates?

7.  Is there any possibility that Charlotte can remain accredited considering its loss of students, faculty, and clinics?  And, credibility?

If you have more questions, email me at lw111989@aol.com, and I will post them here.

Stayed tuned.

(Scott Fruehwald)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2017/01/charlotte-school-of-law-students-still-left-hanging-on-how-theyll-pay.html

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