Point-counterpoint in the ODE here:
Background: The Daily Emerald reported last week that the University of Oregon Law School will waive the LSAT requirement for UO undergraduates who have a 3.5 GPA upon graduating and scored in the 85th percentile of the ACT or SAT. Emerald opinion columnists weighed in on the decision:
Cappelletti: The real reasoning behind this policy change
The real reason that the UO School of Law decided to waive LSAT scores is very simple: Their enrollment has been decreasing at an alarming rate since 2010. Instead of making fundamental changes to fix this decade-long problem, the school will now be accepting unqualified students in hopes of boosting enrollment.
From the fall of 2010 to 2018, law school enrollment went from 583 students to 410. In that same period of time, enrollment in the School of Journalism and Communication and College of Arts and Sciences increased. The UO Law School’s response to this has been to exploit an American Bar Association policy that allows 10% of incoming students to not take the LSATー the standardized test required for admission into law school that many students spend months studying for. …
The reason that the UO School of Law desperately needs more applicants is that in 2014, then-Provost Scott Coltrane gave the school a bailout of $10 million over the course of five years. The law school needs to improve their enrollment in order to pay back the bailout and fund the school going forward. …
Birch: Increasing diversity at the law school
This new policy could have potential benefits, however, including an increase in the accessibility of attending law school. …
The basic cost of taking the LSAT is $200, but this does not take into account the necessary prep courses and tests that most students take. Though a few free practice resources are available, most students will choose to pay for prep courses that will better prepare them for the test. One of the most popular and highly ranked of these courses is Kaplan, which costs at minimum $799.
This price could be a hindrance for low-income students to choose to go to law school, as there are high costs before you even get accepted, if you do get accepted.