The New York Times last week published an editorial outlining a partnership between Bethune-Cookman University and the for-profit Arizona Summit School of Law. Elie Mystal, a Harvard University graduate, decried the partnership which seeks to offer Bethune-Cookman graduates affordable law school entry as a predatory program that will increase the number of black law school graduates with crushing student loan debt and low prospects for passing the bar or finding quality jobs.
This month, Bethune-Cookman, a historically black university in Daytona Beach, Fla., announced an “affiliation” deal with Arizona Summit Law School, a for-profit institution in Phoenix. A joint scholarship program will send Bethune-Cookman students and students from other historically black colleges to the law school.
From the NYT:
To compare, the law school at Arizona State posted a 77 percent pass rate for first-time test takers of the same bar. Statewide, 64 percent of first-time test takers passed. In other words, Arizona Summit’s results weren’t even in the ballpark of respectability.
Arizona Summit can’t blame the aptitude of its students for its low bar passage rate. The median LSAT score at Arizona Summit is 143, which is on the low end, but about the same as the median score at Florida A&M University College of Law. Still, over half of Florida A&M law school graduates passed the Florida bar last summer. And Florida A&M charges about $14,000 in yearly in-state tuition, a fraction of the cost of Arizona Summit, which charges about $45,000 in tuition and fees per year. That doesn’t include the cost for Bethune-Cookman students to move from Florida to Phoenix.
Bethune-Cookman and Arizona Summit graduate Kelvin Daniels, who practices criminal and personal injury law in Daytona Beach, recently recorded a video to describe his experience in both schools, and to defend the partnership.