AccessLex Institute/AIR Research and Dissertation Fellows Program

Application Process is Closed

Important Dates

  • November 30, 2017 - Application process closed at 11:59 pm EST​
  • February 2, 2018 - Decisions announced to applicants via email​
  • ​March 1, 201​8 - Funding and project period begins
  • November 11 -12, 2018 - Grant recipients attend 2018 ​​AccessLex Legal Education Research Symposium in Scottsdale, AZ
  • February 28, 2019 - Project period ends​
  • April 30, 2019 - Final report and related documents due to AIR​ 

Grant Program

This research and dissertation fellows program is a partnership between the AccessLex Institute 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 AccessLex Institute 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.

View/Download the Grant Guidelines
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, 2018. Assistance is available from the AIR grants staff at or 850-391-7109.

 2016-2017 Grant Recipients

Funded Research Grants

Principal Investigator: Amy Farley
Institution: University of Cincinnati
Award Amount: $50,000.00
Proposal Title: Law Student Success and Supports: Examining Bar Passage and Factors that Contribute to Student Performance
Principal Investigator: Robert Kelchen
Institution: Seton Hall University
Award Amount: $32,322.00
Proposal Title: Response to Federal Loan Policy Changes: Examination of the Bennett Hypothesis in Professional School Prices
Principal Investigator: Amy Li
Institution: University of Northern Colorado
Award Amount: $49,423.00
Proposal Title: Dollars and Sense: Student Price Sensitivity to Law School Tuition Costs
Principal Investigator: Hironao Okahana
Organization: Council of Graduate Schools
Award Amount: $49,851.30
Proposal Title: A place in between: An event history analysis of graduate & professional education without a degree attainment and its implications
Principal Investigator: Erdal Tekin
Institution: American University
Award Amount: $50,000.00
Proposal Title: The Relative Efficacy of Adjunct Faculty in Law School Classrooms
Principal Investigator: Xueli Wang
Institution: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Award Amount: $49,999.95
Proposal Title: The Role of Community College Attendance in Shaping Baccalaureate Recipients' Access to Graduate and Professional Education
Principal Investigator: Gregory Wolniak
Institution: New York University
Award Amount: $49,862.00
Proposal Title: Strengthening the Graduate Education Pipeline through Diversity: Examining Factors that Influence Aspirations, Enrollment, and Completion

2015-2016 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

About the Partnership:


AccessLex Institute is a nonprofit organization committed to helping talented, purpose-driven students find their path from aspiring lawyer to fulfilled professional. In partnership with its nearly 200 Member law schools, improving access and positively influencing legal education have been at the heart of the Company’s mission since 1983. AccessLex Institute has offices in West Chester, Pa., and Washington, D.C., with a team of accredited financial education counselors based throughout the United States.

The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) supports higher education professionals in the collection, analysis, interpretation, and communication of data, and the strategic use of information for effective decision making and planning. AIR provides resources, innovative practices, and professional development opportunities for AIR members and the higher education community, including professionals from institutional research, effectiveness, assessment, planning, and related fields.