Merit-based scholarships prove difficult to keep

July 15, 2013 Merit-based scholarships may not be the excellent deal that they appear to be, according to Above The Law.

US students considering taking up such scholarships should be aware that they can be difficult to keep, coming with conditions and being subject to the law school grading curve.

The American Bar Association has started monitoring the schools offering these programs and publishing the retention rates school by school.

Professor Jerry Organ of the University of St. Thomas School of Law crunched the numbers for the 2011-12 academic year, and found that about 69 percent of students were able to retain their school funding. Professor Organ points out that there are 140 schools offering conditional scholarships, and that at 23 schools, less than 50 percent of students were able to retain their conditional scholarships.

The law school with the worst scholarship retention rate - based on data from students entering law school in 2011 - was Akron, where just 21 percent of students retained conditional scholarships. St. Mary’s is almost as bad, with 21 percent of scholarships retained, followed by St. Thomas in Florida and Howard, which each had 24 percent scholarship retention.

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