Rising FTEs and Budgeting

According to the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) the number of applicants and number of overall applications are up over 20% and 30% respectively. LSAC’s website is surprisingly transparent as it includes a publicly available graph charting the week to week total number of applications and total number of applicants. Additionally, users can easily compare between the last five years on the chart to see the trends in admissions. While this may not necessarily translate into higher incoming 1L classes, and it is not institution specific, it does raise some questions such as:

  • Are any of your schools databases tied to FTE (full time equivalents)?
  • Do you expect your school’s FTE to increase based on the national trends?

While looking at national numbers as a crystal ball for individual law schools may be tricky, it is possible to see trends in a larger incoming class and use this number to assist in budgeting for FTE-sensitive databases. Checking with your own Admissions office can help sharpen predictions as well.

Has anyone found it effective to try to predict future FTEs when budgeting? Is it closer to psychic predictions than science? Comment below!

Further useful links: The TaxProf Blog frequently reports and analyzes future class sizes using the LSAC data above.

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