For the first time, the American Bar Association has fined a university for reporting incorrect consumer data. The school that was censured and fines is the University of Illinois College of Law. The school was fined $250,000. The law school has also been required by the ABA to post a copy of the censure on its website in noticeable areas and to hire a compliance monitor for the next two years. The compliance monitor will be responsible for monitoring the admissions process and data reporting of the law school.
The University of Illinois College of Law will be able to keep its accreditation, according to the ABA section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. The section did discover that the law school violated the policy of the ABA that law schools have to maintain excellent admissions practices and publish accurate information for consumers. The law school was found to report incorrect LSAT scores and GPAs of incoming students to the American Bar Association and other entities for the classes of 2005 and 2007 through 2011.
Officials from the law school claim that a former admissions dean was the sole perpetrator of the inflated data. On the contrary, the American Bar Association determined that the school created too much of an importance on rankings. The ABA has also told the University of Illinois to cease the use of an early entrance program that was used to recruit undergraduates from the school.
Paul Pless, the former admissions dean, said in emails that the iLEAP program lured students with high GPAs in an effort to boost the law school’s rankings.
“No matter what the competitive pressures, law schools must not cheat. The College of Law cheated,” the censure said.