Cost Cutting in an Age of Declining Law School Enrollment

Faculty Lounge:

As Alfred Brophy reports, once again law school applicants are down this year. The number of applicants is down 8.5% at this point from last year’s record-low applicant pool.

This will make the fifth straight year of declines from the last application peak in Fall 2010. In 2010, there were 87,900 applicants, 60,400 were admitted to an ABA-accredited law school (69% of applicants) and 52,500 enrolled (87% of those admitted). In 2013, there were 59,400 applicants, and 45,700 were admitted (77%) and 39,700 enrolled (87%). In 2014, there were 54,500 applicants, a 6.7% drop from the previous year. LSAC hasn’t published the final data on the number admitted, but according to data released by the ABA in December, 37,924 enrolled, a 4.5% decrease in enrollment.

For the last four years, enrollment has dropped each year by about two-thirds of the decline in applicants. If the pattern holds true this year, enrollment will decline by about 5.7%, which would put 2015 enrollment at around 35,750.