Frequently Asked Questions Answered
How much does it cost to attend BSL?
Tuition and fees for the Fall 2019 – Summer 2020 Terms are:
– Tuition, Weeknight classes $776/course (3 Credit Hours @$258.66/credit hour) NOTE* You must schedule and enroll in a minimum of three courses per semester (total tuition and fees cost $2,578/semester for the weeknight program).
– Tuition, Saturday classes $925/course (3 Credit Hours @$308.33/credit hour) NOTE* You must schedule and enroll in a minimum of three courses per semester (total tuition and fees cost $3,025/semester for the weekend program).
– Tuition, Lawyering Fundamentals Course $925/course (2 Credit Hours @$462.50/credit hour)
– Tuition, Independent Study (IDS) courses $1,183/course (3 Credit Hours @$394.33/credit hour)
Based on the tuition and fee expenses for the 2019 – 2020 academic year, you should expect to spend at least $27,731 for the weekday program and at least $32,350 for the Saturday program for the full 32 class course of instruction (books, supplies, living expenses, and other fees are not included). This is an approximation based on fall 2017 the tuition and fee expenses detailed above and assumes the student will begin matriculating at BSL in the fall of 2017. These amounts and should not be considered as a promise or a contractual offer to freeze program costs through to your graduation.
All program costs are subject to change without advance notice or approval from students. The prudent applicant and/or enrolled student should anticipate and plan for periodic tuition and fee increases during the four-year program.
What are the application deadlines?
July 1 **Fall Application Deadline
November 1 **Spring Application Deadline
** Both dates are subject to extension. If you are considering submitting an enrollment application near or just after the published deadline (4-5 days), please contact the Registrar, Kerri Stone, at (205) 322-6122 for information.
What does the student & technology fee cover?
These fees cover access licenses and expenditures for Westlaw (computerized legal research), maintenance and repair of computer hardware and the wireless network, software licenses and software updates for computer antivirus and word processor programs loaded to school computers, IT services, law library expenses (photocopiers, supplies, etc.), and janitorial and security services.
When do classes meet?
– Weeknight classes meet from 6:00 – 8:45 pm, Monday through Friday.
– Saturday classes meet in four class periods: 1st period 9:00 am – 11:45 am, 2nd period 12:30 pm – 3:15 pm, 3rd period 3:30 pm – 6:15 pm, and 4th period 6:30 pm – 9:15 pm.
**There is a 45-minute break for lunch between the 1st and 2nd periods, and a 15-minute break between the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th periods.
Are student loans or loan deferments available?
– Federally insured student loans are not available because BSL is not an “eligible school” as defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965 (see 34 C.F.R. 600, et.al.). This law requires, among other things, that law schools must be accredited by the American Bar Association in order to participate in federal student aid programs or loan deferment activities.
– Deferments of your current federally insured student loans may not be available. Loans obtained prior to attending BSL are generally not eligible for deferment under the same Higher Education Act, and you may face significant limitations and challenges when seeking loan deferments while attending BSL. We recommend you contact your lender or loan servicing agent as soon as possible to determine your eligibility for any lender-sponsored voluntary deferment or forbearance payment programs they may offer.
Does BSL participate in any veteran’s education programs?
In December 2016, President Obama signed into law a revised version of 38 U.S.C. § 3676, which provides that law schools not accredited by the American Bar Association are no longer authorized to accept Veteran Administration funds. BSL is currently seeking to obtain a waiver/exception to this provision. As of September 2017, however, new BSL enrollees may not use VA education benefits to fund their BSL education. Students at BSL are not eligible for the State of Alabama disabled veteran dependent’s scholarship program.
Does BSL have scholarships available for entering students (First Year or “1L” students)?
No. BSL has a limited endowment and has chosen to create scholarships for 2L and above students based on academic performance and, in certain instances, financial need. A complete list of scholarships and their requirements are available on the scholarships page.
How many semesters is BSL open for classes each year?
BSL operates on a year-round basis, scheduling three terms of equal length every year (fall, spring, and summer). All students must attend all three terms unless an extraordinary circumstance beyond the student’s control prevents year-round attendance (illness, job loss, military call-up, etc.). The summer term is not a shortened or “mini” term but is a full academic term of 15 weeks including final exams. There is a term break of approximately one week between the spring and summer terms and another weeklong break between the summer and fall terms. We have a longer break of approximately three weeks at the end of the fall term through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
How many courses may you schedule each term?
– Absent extraordinary circumstances, BSL students must schedule a minimum of three courses each term. Under certain rare circumstances, and at the discretion of the Associate Dean, a student may be allowed to take two courses during a term.
– With express permission from the Dean or Associate Dean, a student maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher after his or her second term may take as many as five courses during a term. A student maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher after his or her second term may schedule four courses without additional permission or approval.
– Students with a GPA lower than 3.0 may schedule more than three courses only with the permission of the Dean or Associate Dean. Factors the Deans will consider in making the determination to allow a student with lower than a 3.0 GPA to take additional classes include (but are not limited to):
— The student’s employment and familial obligation,
— Whether the desired class is a core class or an elective
— The student’s GPA relative to 3.0
— Time left before graduation
— The student’s tuition payment history
— Whether the student has shown improved performance over time
– Students with substandard academic performance indicated by a GPA of 2.25 or below after their second term will be placed on Academic Warning status. Those on Academic Warning status are ineligible to take more than three classes during a term.
Is BSL accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA)?
No, BSL is not accredited by the ABA nor do we anticipate applying to the ABA for future ABA accreditation.
However, pursuant to state law (Code of Alabama, 1975, § 34-3-2.1), BSL graduates are allowed to sit for the Alabama State Bar attorney licensing examination and, upon successful completion, may practice law before all federal, state, and municipal courts or administrative bodies in Alabama. A graduate’s ability to practice law in other states varies from state to state depending on each state’s bar association requirements. A jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction list of bar licensing requirements may be found here. (Link is also available at the bottom of this page)
What is the effect of attending a non-ABA school?
Attending a law school not accredited by the ABA may restrict the portability of your degree/license to practice law in other states.
Graduates of BSL, with a current Alabama law license, currently enjoy reciprocity with a small number of other states… meaning BSL graduates may sit for the bar in these states after a period of active practice in good standing. That list of states includes, but is not limited to California, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Your legal training and law license may be transferable to one of these states with reciprocity if you meet the secondary state’s admission rules (most will require you to take the bar exam a second time). We recommend you contact the state bar association in the secondary state of interest if you are considering practicing law in a state other than Alabama. A jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction list of bar licensing requirements may be found here.
How many students are currently enrolled at BSL?
Approximately 365 students are currently taking classes toward their Juris Doctor degree at BSL.
What is the average class size at BSL?
The average class size at BSL ranges from 40 to 45 students. The largest class for the summer of 2017 was approximately 75 students; the smallest class has approximately 6 students. Classes with fewer than six students are rarely allowed.
How many new students does BSL admit each term?
Students may begin attending classes in either the spring or the fall. However, students beginning in the spring must attend the weeknight program, as BSL is unable to offer 1L appropriate classes on Saturday during the spring term. Students beginning in spring who wish to attend Saturday classes may switch to the Saturday program when appropriate, but it generally takes 4 or 5 terms before the available Saturday classes and the student’s progress correspond.
What is required to complete an application?
To complete an application, an applicant must:
1) Submit the online application.
2) Pay the required application fee online.
3) Order official transcripts from each college and/or university attended.
4) Write and submit a personal statement.
5) Submit an updated resume listing all past employers and positions held.
All documents except transcripts must be received by BSL by the published deadline. If an applicant has attended graduate school, those transcripts must also be submitted.
At least one of the applicant’s transcripts must indicate the award of a baccalaureate degree (B.S., B.S., Ed., etc.). Associate degrees (A.A., A.S.) or post-graduate level degrees (M.A., M.S., M.Ed., etc.) are generally not acceptable to the Alabama State Bar for law school admission.
(If you have taken the LSAT and are currently registered with LSDAS, the applicant is not required to forward individual official transcripts. We will contact LSDAS for copies of your LSAT scores and LSDAS documents.)
Does BSL require the LSAT and is there a set score?
The LSAT is not required and we do not set a minimum score for most applicants at BSL. However, if your undergraduate GPA is below 2.75 you may find it beneficial to take the LSAT and participate in the Law School Admission Council’s (LSAC) Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Members of BSL’s Admissions Committee use submitted test results to augment the information contained in your transcripts and other application documents in order to estimate your predicted performance in law school and judge whether or not you should be admitted as a regular student or admitted to the school on a probationary status.
NOTICE: If your undergraduate baccalaureate degree was earned from a college or university foreign to the United States you must participate in both the LSAT and CAS. Please see www.lsac.org for more information concerning the LSAT and CAS programs, test dates and required fees.
What is the GPA cutoff for admission?
The GPA cutoff is different each fall or spring semester. The cutoff point depends on the number of applicants, the relative performance of each individual within the application pool, and the number of seats available to the new class.
What is the average undergraduate GPA for admitted students?
This statistical number will also vary from class to class based on the performance of the members of the class. We typically accept most applicants within a range of grades from C+ (2.5) to A+ (4.0).
Depending upon the information contained in a student’s application, we may deviate from the minimum stated GPA and admit applicants with performance grades/GPA outside the parameters we seek for admission. These waivers, if any, will be made on a case-by-case basis for good cause.
What other factors influence admission decisions?
In addition to GPA, we consider undergraduate degree/major, undergraduate school attended, life/work experience, and any personal challenges an applicant may face and have to overcome (mobility disabilities, sight/hearing impairment, education disabilities such as ADHD, etc.).
What is the minimum GPA requirement to remain in school?
Any student who fails to maintain a 2.25 GPA after a minimum of two terms is placed on Academic Warning status, after which the student is allowed two terms to achieve a GPA higher than 2.25. Those who do not achieve the minimum 2.25 GPA after being placed on Academic Warning status may not be allowed to enroll for the following term.
Who are the professors at BSL?
Approximately 95% of our professors are adjunct professors and practicing attorneys/judges who are actively engaged in the day-to-day practice of law in Alabama. Some of our professors are also corporate professionals working as in-house counsel for banks, insurance companies, and land title companies. Several hold law licenses in multiple states and a large number have experience teaching at the graduate and undergraduate level at local colleges and universities.
Meet our professors here.
Does BSL make accommodations pursuant to ADA (American Disability Act)?
Yes, BSL makes reasonable accommodations with proper diagnosis and documentation provided to school administrators by the affected student.
For specific accommodation policies, please contact the Associate Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is BSL’s absentee policy?
A student may not miss more than three (3) class meetings per subject, per term.
BSL treats all absences equally and does not differentiate between what some would describe as excused or unexcused absences or the reason for the absence (death in the family, illness, employment conflicts, automobile problems or accidents, or a voluntary day off).
**If a student misses four (4) or more class meetings, the student becomes ineligible to sit for the final exam, will receive a grade of “F/A” (failure due to excessive absences), and must repeat the course.
What is the dress code for students at BSL?
Anything from business casual (which is the norm) to casual is allowed. Most students wear jeans or long pants in cooler weather and short sleeves and shorts during the summer months.
Above all else, we expect all students and faculty to use good taste and decorum and to avoid provocative or suggestive clothing.
Is there parking available?
There are two close-by parking lots (one surface lot and one parking deck) plus nearby street parking.
May I tour the school before I apply?
Potential applicants are always welcome to tour the school. Please call the school administration office at (205) 322-6122 to schedule a tour or learn more about touring BSL here.