Indiana law schools post decline in enrollment

December 19, 2017

Although nationally the number of 1L students starting law school in the 2017 fall semester increased, the 2017 first-year class enrolled Indiana’s four law schools declined by nearly 100 students compared to the class that began in 2016.

Hoosier law schools welcomed a total of 628 new students in 2017, down from the 721 who started classes in the year before. Both Indiana University Maurer School of Law and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law enrolled slightly fewer students this year but the biggest drop came from Valparaiso Law School which offered admission to 179 students but had only 28 accept the offer.

The data comes from the recently-released 2017 Standard 509 Information Reports from the American Bar Association. Stats from each of the 203 ABA-approved law schools, including those in Indiana, provide a snapshot of the incoming 1L class.

Overall, law schools reported 37,398 students beginning first-year classes in the fall of 2017. This is an increase of 291 students who started in 2016.

Nationally, the number of students working toward a J.D. degree across all three years slipped in 2017 by 795 students to 110,156 compared to 2016. However, students studying in non-J.D. programs buoyed the total enrollment in law schools to 126,638, a jump of 2,010 students from the year prior.    

Enrollment data for the 1L students starting classes in the fall of 2017 in Indiana law schools is as follows:

IU Maurer welcomed a class of 162 who had a median LSAT of 161 and median GPA of 3.75. The Bloomington law school received 1,882 applications and made offers to 822 applicants for an acceptance rate of 43.7 percent.

IU McKinney enrolled a class of 240 who carried a median LSAT of 153 and a median GPA of 3.45. The Indianapolis law school received 873 applicants and made offers to 556 for an acceptance rate of 63.7 percent.

In 2016, IU Maurer and IU McKinney had 1L classes of 178 and 253, respectively.

Notre Dame Law School opened its doors to a class of 198 who came with a median LSAT of 164 and a median GPA of 3.73. The South Bend institution received 2,498 applicants and offered admission to 754 for an acceptance rate of 30.2 percent.

Last year, Notre Dame welcomed a smaller class of 187.

Valparaiso Law School entered the recruiting season for 2017 under public censure from the ABA. The northwest Indiana school was cited for admitting students who were unlikely to either complete their studies or pass the bar exam.

Since then, the ABA removed the censure but the law school has announced it is struggling under declining enrollment and decreased revenues. It will not admit students in the fall of 2018 and is looking for ways to remain open.

Valparaiso received just 471 applications for 2017 enrollment, down from the 777 submitted in 2016. The school had an acceptance rate of 38 percent. Although the 1L class is tiny, it boasts a median LSAT of 151 and median GPA of 3.19.


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