Aspiring lawyers have one less option for their legal education as Charlotte School of Law has announced plans to shut down immediately. The move comes as school leadership failed to impress government officials with their plans to improve standards. The school operated in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a for-profit institution.
Government officials say that the school was unable to meet deadlines for improvements. They say the mandates for changes started under the Obama administration. Because the school failed to meet certain educational standards, the Obama administration stopped the school from accessing federal student loans. When the school failed to make required changes on time, education officials shut the school down completely.
Alumni association representative R. Lee Robertson Jr. informed alums of the decision by email. He said students could expect an official announcement later in the day. The school has since taken its website down. Communications representative Victoria Taylor didn’t respond to a request for comment. Liz Hill of the Department of Education also failed to respond to a request for comment.
Because of the closure, displaced students can get their federal student loans erased. That means they can have a clean slate as they make other plans. Some 170 students may take advantage of this option. There were 100 students actively enrolled in June, and another 70 on inactive status. As many as 90 percent of Charlotte Law students depended on federal student loans to fund their education. There’s no word yet on just how many millions of dollars the U.S. Department of Education may have to forgive because of the closure.
Even if the students don’t have to pay back the loans, Charlotte School of Law officials aren’t off the hook. U.S. officials might look to the school’s owners to make the payments. Because the school is for-profit, the owners might have to foot the bill for their education venture gone wrong. These investors, a Chicago-based investment firm, also own Arizona Summit and Florida Coastal law schools.
Education officials began the crackdown when they concluded that the school wasn’t being honest with students about accreditation compliance and bar passage rates. The school said that wasn’t true, and they tried to convince U.S. officials to change their minds. They even hired a lobbyist to make their case. Even though officials gave the school the opportunity to demonstrate its financial viability, the efforts ultimately failed, and students will not report for classes in the fall.