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Brooklyn Law Joins Independent Graduate Schools to Launch Groundbreaking Coalition


Brooklyn Law School has joined with 10 independent graduate schools from across the country to launch the National Association of Standalone Graduate Schools, a first-of-its-kind coalition that will offer a collective voice and platform for independent graduate institutions while serving as a source of innovative partnerships and strategies.

The inaugural coalition members are diverse in size, geographic location, and academic focus. In addition to Brooklyn Law School, the group includes New York Law School, Appalachian School of Law, Bank Street Graduate School of Education, California Western School of Law, Erikson Institute, New England Law School, Relay Graduate School of Education, South Texas College of Law Houston, UC Hastings Law, and Vermont Law School.

There is currently no coalition of any kind that is solely dedicated to representing the needs and interests of independent graduate schools. The coalition will have three main goals: advocate in Washington for new federal funding and support, create model state legislation and regulations, and serve as a hub for shared, innovative strategies.

“We are excited to join this association representing the particular interests of independent graduate schools, especially at this time of ongoing change, and challenge, for higher education,” said Michael T. Cahill, President and Dean of Brooklyn Law School. “We welcome this opportunity to collaborate strategically with other member schools to strengthen our institutions, individually and collectively, and keep delivering an outstanding education to our students.”

The schools organized in response to challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the initial COVID-19 relief negotiations, independent graduate schools received far less on average than many other institutions affiliated with undergraduate universities. A number of independent graduate schools were able to secure additional funding in later relief bills through persistent advocacy. Going forward, the coalition will continue to advocate for increased stimulus dollars and for more permanent funding streams in anticipation of Congressional reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

On the state level, the coalition will work with local officials to cut bureaucratic red tape and streamline existing regulations. In addition, this formal arrangement will facilitate new partnerships and shared strategies that will allow for stronger and more efficient services, such as shared-service arrangements and joint academic programs.

The coalition’s operations will be funded through dues contributed by member schools. The coalition expects that the number of participating schools will grow in the coming months.

“It is essential that independent graduate schools have a seat at the table with our policymakers,” said Anthony W. Crowell, Dean and President of New York Law School and the lead organizer of this effort. “Our institutions play a vital role in communities across the country. This coalition will ensure that our students, faculty, and staff have the resources needed to thrive.”