In advance of the May 1, 2014 meeting of the Committee on Academic Affairs and Licensing (CAAL) of the CHE, the staff of the CHE has posted a report and recommendation for the Committee’s consideration. Alumni and students had hoped for a recommendation from the Committee that Infilaw’s application for a license be denied. Instead, CHE staff has recommended that Infilaw be granted a limited license to operate the Charleston School of Law. Specifically, the staff has recommended that total enrollment of the school be capped at 750 students.
The staff report focuses on the four areas that are at issue in any licensing decision: Academics and Curriculum, Facilities, Finances, and Reputation and Character. Notably, in spite of voluminous evidence-based submissions by students and alumni, the staff report appears to be based entirely on self-reported data provided by Infilaw. And with the report having been posted to CHE’s website a mere 24-hours before the CAAL is set to meet, there is cause for concern that this decision is being rushed.
While the alumni and students had hoped for a different result, this suggested limitation is clearly a response to the many concerns that Infilaw’s presence at the Charleston School of Law has caused. Alumni and students have evidence-based reasons to fear that students at an Infilaw-owned CSOL will suffer from diminished admissions standards, limited job opportunities, and increasingly heavy debt loads. The CHE staff’s recommendation to cap enrollment is a clear response to these concerns. We do not believe this cap goes far enough, though, and we continue to hope that the Commissioners who sit on the CAAL will vote tomorrow to either deny or table Infilaw’s request pending further inquiry.