Access Group/AIR Research and Dissertation Fellows Program

The Call For Applications Has Closed

Important Dates

  • November 7, 2016 - Application opens​
  • December 19, 2016 - Application deadline​ (11:59 pm EST)​
  • February 2, 2017 - Decisions announced to applicants via email​
  • ​March 1, 201​7 - Funding and project period begins
  • ​​November 7-8, 2017 - Grant recipients attend 2017 ​​Access Group Legal Education Research Symposium
  • February 28, 2018 - Project period ends​
  • April 30, 2018 - Final report and related documents due to AIR​ 
View the grant guidelines, complete with application questions, rubric, budget form and other information.

Grant Program Overview

This research and dissertation fellows program is a partnership between the Access Group Center for Research & Policy AnalysisSM and the Association for Institutional Research (AIR). The program is a grant competition promoting scholarship on issues related to access, affordability and value of legal education specifically, and graduate and professional education more broadly. Preference is given to proposals that utilize regional, national, or multi-institutional datasets, although research that focuses on a single institution is acceptable. Preference is also given to proposals that specifically address legal education; however, proposals that study access, affordability and value of graduate and professional education more generally are also encouraged. Researchers may analyze pre-existing data or include the construction of a new dataset in their proposal. Membership to Access Group or AIR is not required for grant eligibility.

Two levels of grants are available to support year-long research projects for recipients affiliated with a non-profit U.S. postsecondary institution or relevant higher and legal education organization. 

  • $50,000 Research Grants: Research grants of up $50,000 are available to faculty, practitioners, and scholars.

  • $25,000 Doctoral Grants: ​Dissertation grants of up to $25,000 are available to doctoral students to support dissertation research and writing under the guidance of a faculty dissertation advisor.

Applications must be submitted online. ​This funding cannot duplicate or replace other funding from another source for the same project. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions on February 2, 2017. Assistance is available from the AIR grants staff at or 850-391-7109.

Previous Grant Recipients

Press Release: More than $300,000 in New Grants Awarded to Promote Research on Graduate and Professional Education

Funded Research Grants

Principal Investigator: Manuel Gonzalez Canche
Institution: University of Georgia
Award Amount: $49,996.88
Proposal Title: Estimating the Effect of Losing the Federal Loan Subsidy on Debt Accumulation for Law and Professional Students in the United States: Evidence From a Natural Experiment
Principal Investigator: Stephen DesJardins
Institution: University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Award Amount: $49,949.00
Proposal Title: Predicting Law School Admissions and Enrollment
Principal Investigator: Seth Gershenson
Institution: American University
Award Amount: $49,126.80
Proposal Title: A Law School Instructor Like Me: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity Dynamics in Law School Classrooms
Principal Investigator: Dennis Kramer
Institution: University of Florida
Award Amount: $46,693.00
Proposal Title: Examining the Impact of Need‐Based Aid Programs on the Graduate and Professional School Enrollment of Low‐Income Students: A National and Institutional Analysis
Principal Investigator: Karen Webber
Institution: University of Georgia
Award Amount: $49,508.08
Proposal Title: The Rising Tide of Graduate Student Debt: Examining Change from 2008 to 2012
Principal Investigator: Yonghong Xu
Institution: University of Memphis
Award Amount: $50,000.00
Proposal Title: Diversity in Law Schools and Legal Profession: A Theoretically Guided Inquiry about Gender and Racial Differences in Persistence and Valuation

Funded Dissertation Grant

Principal Investigator: Nayoung Rim
Institution: University of Chicago
Award Amount: $12,398.00
Proposal Title: The Effect of Title IX on Gender Disparity in Graduate Education

Abou​t the Partnership:


Access Group is a nonprofit membership organization comprised of nearly 200 nonprofit and state-affiliated ABA-approved law schools working to further access, affordability and the value of legal education through research, policy advocacy, and direct member and student educational services. Access Group has continually evolved to meet the ever-changing challenges and needs of their member law schools, and the graduate and professional school community at large. From providing financial education resources and services for students and schools, to supporting research programs and data collection, to driving policy advocacy, they work to promote broad access, affordability and the value of legal education specifically, and graduate and professional education more broadly.

​The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) is the world's largest professional association for institutional researchers. The organization provides educational resources, best practices and professional development opportunities for more than 4,200 members. The primary purpose of the Association is to support data-informed decisions for the enhancement of higher education. AIR is the premier source of institutional research (IR) education and professional development, and is a respected voice for its leadership in institutional research and data policy issues.