Biggest enrollment gains: For-profit schools buck trend

The InfiLaw System, which owns three of the six for-profit schools with American Bar Association accreditation, has seen its total enrollment climb by 10 percent at a time when the median law school has seen enrollment drop by 13 percent.

Charlotte School of Law, in North Carolina, has led the way. It’s enrollment has grown from 812 students in 2010-2011 to 1,410 this year, faster growth than any other law school during the same period.

The school’s enrollment took off after it received provisional American Bar Association accreditation in 2008 and then full accreditation in 2011. It has maintained its enrollment by increasing the percent of applicants it accepts from 60 to 73 percent. But, its median GPA fell from 3.04 to 2.91 and its median LSAT dropped from 149 to 144.

“We, like every other law school, have been hit by stresses,” said Dean Jay Conison. “We're concentrating on maintaining our core strengths. And we are continuing to invest in academic support systems to deliver high-quality services.”

Another InfiLaw school, Arizona Summit School of Law, in Phoenix, has also increased enrollment since 2010-2011 — from 724 to 947. That represents the second-largest increase during the time span.

But the company, which was launched in 2004 by the private equity group Sterling Partners, based in Chicago, has seen its third school struggle. Florida Coastal School of Law, in Jacksonville, Fla., has seen enrollment drop from 1,742 to 1,249. It also has more than 220 graduate law students.

The school’s acceptance rate increased from 67.7 percent in 2010 to 75.2 percent this year. Its median GPA dropped from 3.14 to 2.97 and its median LSAT from 149 to 144.

Combined, enrollment at the three schools has grown from 3,278 to 3,606.

By comparison, only nine schools have increased enrollment by 10 or more students, and only 16 have seen an increase of any kind. Only one other school has increased enrollment by 10 percent or more — University of Arkansas, Fayetteville is up 12.6 percent.


Enrollment gains

2010-2011 2013-2014 Diff. %

Charlotte School of Law 

    812      1410    598  73.6%

Arizona Summit

   724     947    223    30.8

Barry University 

   717    787    70    9.8
Univ. Arkansas, Fayetteville    390    439    49    12.6
Michigan State University    884    907    23    2.6
Emory University    792    815     23    2.9
Wake Forest University    487    506    19    3.9
University of the District of Columbia    316    330    14    4.4
Washington and Lee University    407    419    12    2.9