Marx famously said that the major events and personages of history appear twice: first as tragedy, then as farce. With Indiana Tech, however, the farce seemed to come first. The second around will be scarcely better—and now it is taking place at Golden Gate University.
In a desperate but ill-fated attempt to save itself, Indiana Tech one year reduced tuition to zero and slashed enrollment to 15 students. Über-toilet Golden Gate—maybe Rusty Gate would be more like it—has taken a leaf from Indiana Tech's book by doing the same: only 21 full-time and 24 part-time students enrolled, so this year's class is a third of the size of last year's. And all of the little full-time dolts, and about half of their part-time analogues, who were ass enough to sign up at this dump are getting zero tuition for all three years.
Why would a moribund über-toilet suddenly whore itself out free of charge? Obviously not in a spirit of generosity or public service. No, Golden Gate did this for the sake of its survival: the ABA threatened last year to pull the plug because Golden Gate fell short of a standard by which at least 75% of those graduates who take a bar exam pass one within two years of graduation. In theory, Golden Gate could lose its ABA accreditation next year by failing once more to meet the standard. In practice, we know damn well—from ample experience—that the ABA doesn't seriously enforce its "standards": it instead readily makes excuses for the underperforming über-toilet and offers extensions and other dispensations as often as it pleases. Thus Golden Gate isn't really in danger, even though last year only 38% of those who took the bar exam in California passed it. None of the 17 other ABA-accredited law schools in California did so poorly.
Anyway, by offering free tuition, Golden Gate hopes to draw in slightly better students. And it has succeeded: the median LSAT this year went up to 153 from last year's 151. Two lousy points, however, can hardly suffice to bridge the immense gap in bar passage so as to propel Golden Gate barely over the line this year. In any event, cheap stunts such as this are unsustainable. Perhaps for a couple of years this über-toilet will draw money from an endowment or otherwise keep the lights on for its handful of charges and its similarly large faculty (many of whom are being reassigned to bar-review courses in support of that desperate attempt to meet the 75% threshold). Once the gimmick of free tuition has expired, however, whatever appeal this thing may have will predictably dry up and the median LSAT score will sink like a stone.
Two new ventures—a useless master's degree and a "Bachelor of Arts in Law"—will throw a few shekels into the coffers. But these recent stunts in the JD program presage the law school's death in the next, say, four years. Old Guy reminds everyone that Golden Gate is not worth attending even on free tuition.