COLUMBIA, S.C. — As students enter the first wave of the law school admissions cycle, they must grapple with an unprecedented degree-granting program called Beyond the Law.
The law school is a two-year public institution with an average of 100 students per class.
Applicants must submit an application with a final grade of at least B+, which can be earned through the school’s law school or as an associate’s degree.
The program is being touted by U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as an alternative to law school.
The New York Democrat said he will introduce legislation to create a three-year program for law schools that can earn as many as 30 percent of students with a law degree.
Schumer told The Associated Press that the goal is to give students who would otherwise go to law schools an opportunity to go to the law schools where they will have the most support.
Schumer’s bill would also allow students to transfer to a non-law school after they graduate, as long as the law degree is a B+ or higher.
Law schools are expected to open their doors for applications by July 15, according to the Law Schools Association of America.
Schumers proposed legislation in June to create the program.
He said he was inspired by the success of the “beyond law” program in the U.K., which was established in 2015.
The Beyond the Laws program began in the fall of 2015 when U.N. agencies announced a $1.6 billion commitment to help countries improve their legal education.
The plan has been scaled up over the past several years and has seen more than $60 billion raised for education.
Schultz has called Beyond The Laws the best program for students from low-income families who want a better education but are unable to afford a law program.
The senator has said Beyond The Law will not discriminate against students from a minority group, saying he has no intention of discriminating against students with disabilities.
This article has been updated to reflect that Beyond The Rules is not part of the New York State Law School Association’s mission.