For months now signs have suggested that law schools are losing their appeal to applicants. All year long, far fewer people have been taking the Law School Admission Test than were doing so the year before. Now data examined by The New York Times indicate a 20 percent decline in the number of applications to law school, compared to this time last year. The long-term trend is even more dramatic. Currently, there are projected to be 54,000 applicants this admissions cycle, down from 100,000 in 2004.
Could the National Football League offer a model for reforming college admissions? A paper being released today by the Center for American Progress argues that it could. The NFL "establishes rules that temper competitive practices that could harm the game of football," says the paper, by Jerome A. Lucido, executive director of the Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice at the University of Southern California. Lucido argues that just as the NFL bans steroids, college admissions (with institutions acting collectively) could ban "hyped facts and figures." Every college could be required to report information such as the extent to which the college considers family ability to pay in admissions decisions, how close to full need colleges' aid packages are, policies that govern the renewal of aid awards, and the admission rates for students with various credentials. And just as the NFL engages in revenue-sharing, colleges could (possibly with some relief from antitrust monitors) work together to increase need-based aid, and agree on common terms so families could better understand the true "price" of a college education.
Colleges and universities in Utah are preparing for enrollment declines (and tuition revenue declines) following a change in the age at which members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints go on missionary trips, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Some institutions are imposing hiring freezes and stepping up efforts to recruit out-of-state students as a result. Mormon men can now leave on the missionary trips at age 18 (a year earlier than before) and women at 19 (two years earlier). Up until now, many have enrolled for a few semesters of college before leaving on the trips, and those enrollments are now in danger. Higher education officials still hope to recruit those who have completed their missionary travel, but are concerned about losing the transition from high school to college.
The Law School Admission Council has sued the state of California over a new law barring the council from alerting law schools that applicants have received extra time on the Law School Admission Test, The National Law Journal reported. Supporters of the new law and advocates for people with disabilities say that time extensions are an appropriate tool to help people with some disabilities, and that their scores should not be called into question through "flagging" them, as the process is known. But the Law School Admission Council's suit charges that California is violating the group's First Amendment rights by controlling what it says. Further, the suit says that the law inappropriately focuses on only the LSAT and not other standardized tests that may use flagging.
Postsecondary enrollments will grow by 15 percent between 2010 and 2021, far less than the 46 percent increase that occurred between 1996 and 2010, the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics said in an annual report released Wednesday. The report, "Projections of Education Statistics Through 2021," provides a slew of data that anticipate how key K-12 and higher education indicators (enrollments, degrees conferred, etc.) will change over the next decade. By comparison, last year's report projected a 13 percent increase in college enrollments between 2009 and 2020; whether the uptick is a sign that the "completion agenda" is having an effect will be a subject for debate.
This year's report also projects a 21 percent increase in the number of associate degrees awarded by 2021-22, a 21 percent increase in the number of bachelor's degrees, a 34 percent rise in the number of master's degrees, and a 24 percent upturn in the number of doctoral degrees. In all cases those numbers are roughly half the number awarded in the 1996-97 to 2009-2010 period.