Troubled Charlotte School of Law’s license under review

The Charlotte School of Law.
The Charlotte School of Law. Charlotte Observer file photo

The license of the troubled, for-profit Charlotte School of Law will be reviewed by the UNC system’s General Administration.

An outside peer review team is studying the school. A report in the next few weeks could result in a recommendation to alter the school’s license to operate in North Carolina.

The University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors controls licensure for higher education institutions in the state. The issue was discussed Thursday at the board’s educational planning, policies and programs committee. A vote Friday could activate that committee to act on the law school’s licensure in May or June on behalf of the full board, which does not meet again until July.

The for-profit law school is also under investigation by the N.C. Attorney General’s Office, according to a letter last month from the office to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

The school’s future has been in doubt since the Obama administration cut off its federal student loan funding last year. The U.S. Department of Education accused the school’s top leaders of trying to hide the seriousness of problems in order to maintain enrollment, as well as $40,000-per-student tuition. School leaders appealed.

The school has also been on probation from the American Bar Association because of its admissions policies.

Kimberly van Noort, UNC vice president for academic programs and instructional strategy, said the external review team will finish its work soon, and then UNC President Margaret Spellings will make a recommendation to the board. Charlotte School of Law officials would have an opportunity to present evidence before any final action.

Charlotte School of Law opened in 2006. It has experienced low bar passage rates, administrative turnover and enrollment declines. One question still looming is whether students at the school would be eligible for loan discharges if the school shuts down.

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559, @janestancill