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Bethune-Cookman Affiliates With Arizona Summit

March 13, 2017
 
 

Arizona Summit Law School is drawing closer to a historically black university in Florida, with the for-profit law school striking an affiliation agreement with Bethune-Cookman University.

Leaders hope the affiliation, which must still be approved by accreditors, will help them diversity the legal profession. They also want it to cut the cost of legal education, improve student outcomes and establish Bethune-Cookman -- located in Daytona Beach -- nationally.

The agreement comes as Arizona Summit attempts to improve a bar-passage rate that dropped to 25 percent for first-time test takers in July 2016, according to The Arizona Republic. Arizona Summit, located in downtown Phoenix, is owned by the controversial InfiLaw System, which also owns the Florida Coastal School of Law and the Charlotte School of Law. The Charlotte School of Law continues to operate despite being placed on probation by the American Bar Association and losing its access to federal financial aid.

Arizona Summit’s president told the Republic the law school is working toward becoming a nonprofit institution but the Bethune-Cookman affiliation does not change its for-profit status. Arizona Summit drastically cut its student body in recent years; it now has 300 students after previously enrolling as many as 1,000. It has previously been noted as a school that admits students with low median LSAT scores, which drew concern that many of its students may have trouble passing the bar exam.

The two institutions already had a relationship allowing Bethune-Cookman students early admission into Arizona Summit. A news release on the new agreement noted that affiliations have sometimes come before acquisitions.

 
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