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KU expanding accelerated program to earn bachelor’s and law degrees to other Kansas universities

Friday, May 15, 2015

LAWRENCE – Students at state universities across Kansas will have an opportunity to accelerate their legal education and save a year of tuition through an expansion of the 3 Plus 3 Program at the University of Kansas.

The program will allow high-ability students at participating Regents universities to maximize their undergraduate coursework, earning a bachelor’s degree and a KU law degree in six years instead of seven. Students will spend three years on requirements for the bachelor’s degree from their undergraduate institution and three years on requirements for a KU law degree. They will graduate with a bachelor’s degree after their fourth year and already have one year of law school under their belt.

“We are excited to expand this opportunity to students across Kansas in collaboration with our Regents partners,” said Jeffrey S. Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. “It saves students a year of study and undergraduate tuition, and in addition it helps ensure that high-achieving students interested in legal careers earn their law degrees in Kansas. We know that students who graduate from a Kansas institution are more likely to stay in the state after graduation to work and serve the people of Kansas.”

The 3 Plus 3 Program is entering its third year at KU with growing enrollment each year since its inception.

Known as the LEAD (Legal Education Accelerated Degree) Program, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the School of Law collaborated on the degree track to provide a new opportunity for high-ability students to maximize their coursework at KU.

“We at the Board are always happy to see collaboration among the state universities,” said Kenny Wilk, chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents. “The ability to move as seamlessly as possible throughout the public higher education system in Kansas is a top priority, and the 3 Plus 3 Program at KU is a perfect example of how working together improves our system in a meaningful way.”  

To be considered for the program, incoming freshmen at participating institutions must meet minimum academic standards, currently a GPA of 3.5 or higher and an ACT score of at least 26. Accepted students are guaranteed admission to KU’s law school after their junior year as long as they maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA and obtain a specified score on the LSAT exam, currently 157.

The KU law school anticipates that Kansas State University will become its next 3 Plus 3 partner. The expansion will be offered to all other state universities, which include Fort Hays State University, Emporia State University, Pittsburg State University and Wichita State University.

“KU Law is at the forefront of changing the way students gain a legal education,” said Stephen Mazza, dean of the law school. “Through this expansion of the 3 Plus 3 Program, Kansas will become the first state with a statewide, guaranteed-admission accelerated law degree. Not only will Kansas students benefit from a great legal education at less cost and in less time, but the university and the state will also benefit by being able to recruit the best and brightest prelaw students nationally.”

KU Law targets smaller classes now and in future

The University of Kansas School of Law will have a significantly smaller incoming class this fall — and in future years for the foreseeable future.

Faced with dwindling applications, law schools across the country either are slashing class sizes or admitting students with inferior credentials. Dean Stephen Mazza said KU set a target of 120 students this year and may end up a bit below that.

By contrast, there are 175 students graduating this year and about 140 each in the first-year and second-year classes.

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Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks used at U.S. law schools
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 33 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,300+ alumni live in all 50 states and 18 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 27th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 70 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • Nearly 800 employment interviews at law school, 2012-13
  • Top 25% for number of 2013 grads hired by the nation’s largest law firms
  • 20th: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at the 250 largest law firms