Kansas State University undergrads will soon be admitted into Kansas University’s fast-track law degree program.
KU launched its Legal Education Accelerated Degree program for KU undergrads three years ago. The so-called “3+3” program allows students to earn a bachelor’s and a law degree in just six years instead of the usual seven.
KU plans to expand the program to other Kansas Board of Regents universities, and K-State will be KU’s first official partner, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little announced this month, during a Regents meeting.
“We’re really excited about the program,” Gray-Little said, adding that it will be the first systemwide 3+3 program for Regents schools.
KU is the only Regents university with a law school. Washburn University in Topeka also has one.
The first K-State freshmen are expected to begin the KU Legal Accelerated Degree program in fall 2016, and — after three years of undergrad work at K-State — would enter the KU School of Law in fall 2019, said Steven Freedman, assistant dean for admissions at the law school.
Second only to KU, more KU law students come from K-State than any other school, Freedman said.
“We wanted to start with K-State first because we do have such a good relationship with them, and they do have the second-largest pre-law program in the state,” Freedman said.
Admission is still “competitive,” Freedman said.
Freshmen must have an ACT score of at least 26 and a GPA of at least 3.5 to qualify for the Legal Education Accelerated Degree program. To be automatically admitted into KU law for their fourth year of studies, they must meet minimum criteria for GPA and LSAT scores. Although, Freedman said, students who don’t meet criteria for automatic admission can still apply to KU law the following year, like non-fast track students.
“We have higher requirements for the automatic admission,” Freedman said. “Because students are going to be graduating a year earlier, we want to be sure they’re ready for the challenge.”
Few law schools nationwide — possibly fewer than 20 — offer accelerated law programs like KU’s, according to a U.S. News and World Report article in 2013, the year KU’s Legal Education Accelerated Degree program started.
Freedman said KU has had “great results” with the program so far, averaging about 40 undergrads per year in the program. The first cohort of undergrads will enter the KU law school this fall.
A traditional law degree track would start with four years of undergraduate work followed by three years of law school. According to U.S. News’ graduate school rankings, it costs nearly $20,000 a semester for in-state students to attend KU School of Law.
The accelerated program aims to take the edge off.
“It addressed directly the biggest barriers of students gaining a legal education,” Gray-Little said. “That is cost and time.”