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UD to begin offering new ‘hybrid’ online law degree

The University of Dayton will launch a law degree program in 2019 in which students can complete most of their courses online.

UD has partnered with 2U, Inc., to offer the ‘hybrid” program which will include on-campus instruction with online coursework, according to the university. Law@Dayton will will be the second program the university has created with 2U, Inc., following the creation of its MBA@Dayton program that was launched in 2017.

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The American Bar Association approved a variance on May 17 that allows UD to establish the new program. Each week, students will be taught by UD law school faculty through an online platform and once a semester they will visit UD’s campus for a week for additional classes and networking opportunities, according to the school.

“We are thrilled that the American Bar Association recognized the value of our innovative format and look forward to taking this next step in the evolution of providing legal education,” UD president Eric Spina said in a prepared statement. “We are confident that 2U — with its 10-year proven track record of placing the highest value on student outcomes — will help us deliver quality legal education.”

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Low bar exam passage at UD’s law school has prompted administrators to look for ways to bolster the school in recent years.

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At 58 percent, UD graduates passed the bar exam in July 2017 at the lowest rate among Ohio’s nine law schools, according to the Ohio Supreme Court. Ohio State University had the highest passage rate at 87 percent.

Law students must pass the bar exam in order to become practicing attorneys. To improve passage, UD has implemented an early alert system that flags troubled students and now requires students to take a bar prep-class, among other initiatives.

Enrollment at UD’s law school has also declined in recent years, following a nationwide trend that has forced Whittier Law School in California and Charlotte School of Law in North Carolina to close. Valparaiso University’s law school in Indiana announced in November that it would not admit any new students.

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