​AccessLex Institute/AIR Research and Dissertation Fellows Program

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Grant Program

The AccessLex Institute/AIR Research and Dissertation Fellows Program is a partnership between AccessLex Institute and the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), designed to promote scholarship on issues related to access, affordability and the value of graduate and professional education. Preference is given to proposals focusing on diversity in legal education or the profession; the bar exam; or graduate and professional school finance, student aid, or financial education. In addition, proposals utilizing regional, national, or multi-institutional datasets are encouraged. Single institution research proposals that are designed to yield findings that are scalable and replicable are also accepted. 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 education organization.

  • $50,000 Research Grants: Research grants of up $50,000 are available to faculty, practitioners, and scholars.
  • $25,000 Dissertation 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.

2020 Application Process - Important Dates

  • January 21, 2020: Proposal submission process opens
  • March 2, 2020 (11:59 pm ET): Proposal submission process closes
  • May 4, 2020: Decisions announced via email
  • June 1, 2020: Funding and project period begins
  • November 16-17, 2020: AccessLex Legal Education Research Symposium
  • May 31, 2020: Project period ends
  • July 31, 2020: Final report due

Application Guidelines Coming Soon


About the Partnership:

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The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) is a global association that empowers higher education professionals at all levels to utilize data, analytics, information, and evidence to make decisions and take actions that benefit students and institutions and improve higher education.

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Since 1983, AccessLex Institute has continually evolved to meet the ever-changing challenges and needs of the law students and institutions that we serve. We are steadfast in our commitment to inform students of the economic realities of law school without limiting their aspirations. We conduct and commission research to illuminate the latest data and evidence on the most critical issues facing legal education today. And we are resolute in our appeal to policymakers and influencers to take actions that make legal education work better for both students and society at large. As a nonprofit organization underpinned by nearly 200 American Bar Association-approved nonprofit and state-affiliated law schools, we are intently dedicated to the betterment of legal education. 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. We currently have more than $650 million in total net assets. 


2018-2019 Grant Recipients 

Funded Research Grants

Principal Investigator: Andrés Castro Samayoa
Institution: Boston College
Award Amount: $49,978
Proposal Title: What's it all for? Exploring how Latinx Students and University Officials at Differently-ranked Law Schools Articulate Legal Education's Value through Normative Case Studies

Principal Investigator: Jaekyung Lee
Institution: University at Buffalo
Award Amount: $49,925
Proposal Title: Academic and Sociocultural Readiness for Postgraduate Education among Immigrant and International Students: Promoting Equal Access and Success in Graduate/Professional Schools

Principal Investigator: Louis Rocconi
Institution: University of Tennessee
Award Amount: $50,000
Proposal Title: Examining the Relationship between Law School Rank and Student Engagement

Funded Dissertation Grant

Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Bodamer
Institution: Indiana University
Award Amount: $24,600
Proposal Title: The Balancing Act: The Law School Experience of Minority Students


2017-2018 Grant Recipients

Funded Research Grants

Principal Investigator: Andrea Curcio
Institution: Georgia State University
Award Amount: $50,000.00
Proposal Title: Reducing Over-Reliance on the LSAT in Admissions Decisions: Examining Correlations Between the LSAT, Lawyering Skills and Pro Bono Work

Final Report (Scholarly Paper 1): Measuring Law Student Success from Admissions Through Bar Passage: More Data the Bench, Bar and Academy Need to Know

Final Report (Scholarly Paper 2): A Preliminary Study Looking Beyond LSAT and LGPA: Factors During the Bar Study Period That May Affect Bar Exam Passage

Principal Investigator: Kevin Escudero
Institution: Brown University
Award Amount: $50,000.00
Proposal Title: "Education, Not Deportation": Undocumented Law and Medical Students' Pursuit of Graduate Education

Final Report (Scholarly Paper): Education, Not Deportation”: A Pilot Study of Undocumented Student Experiences in Law and Medical Degree Programs

Principal Investigator: Frank Fernandez
Institution: University of Houston
Award Amount: $46,722.00
Proposal Title: Examining Gender and Race Intersectionality in Public Law School Admissions and Enrollment – A Multi Institutional Analysis

Final Report (Scholarly Paper): Examining Gender and Race Intersectionality in Public Law School Admissions and Enrollment: A Multi-Institutional Analysis

Principal Investigator: Ryan Wells
Institution: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Award Amount: $49,816.00
Proposal Title: Graduate and Professional Education for Students with Disabilities: Examining Access to STEM, Medical, and Legal Fields

Final Report (Scholarly Paper): Graduate and Professional Education for Students with Disabilities: Examining Access to STEM, Legal, and Health Fields in the United States

Principal Investigator: Liang Zhang
Institution: New York University
Award Amount: $49,973.00 Proposal Title: Veterans Going to Graduate School: Evaluating the Impact of the Post-9/11 GI Bill on Graduate School Enrollment

Final Report (Scholarly Paper 1): Evaluating the Impact of the Post-9/11 GI Bill on Veterans’ Graduate School Enrollment

Final Report (Scholarly Paper 2): Aspirations and Decisions to Enroll in Graduate Programs: A Literature Review of Contributing Factors

Funded Dissertation Grant

Principal Investigator: Ya-Chi Hung

Institution: The Pennsylvania State University
Award Amount: $25,000.00
Proposal Title: Diversifying Graduate Education: The Need to First Understand What Contributes to Graduate Degree Aspiration Changes During College

Final Report (Scholarly Paper): Diversifying Graduate Education: The Need to First Understand What Contributes to Graduate Degree Aspiration Changes During College


2016-2017 Grant Recipients

Press Release: More than $330,000 in New Grants Awarded to Promote Research on Graduate and Professional Education

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
 
Final Report (Scholarly Paper): 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
 
Final Report (Scholarly Paper 1): An Empirical Examination of the Bennett Hypothesis in Law School Prices
 
Final Report (Scholarly Paper 2): Does the Bennett Hypothesis Hold in Professional Education? An Empirical Analysis
 
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
 
Final Report (Scholarly Paper 1): Dollars and Sense: Student Price Sensitivity to Law School Tuition
 
Final Report (Scholarly Paper 2): Law School Prices and the Enrollment of Students from Different Racial Backgrounds
 
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
 
Final Report (Scholarly Paper): Implications of Attrition from Graduate Education to Labor Market Outcomes
 
Principal Investigator: Erdal Tekin
Institution: American University
Award Amount: $50,000.00
Proposal Title: The Relative Efficacy of Adjunct Faculty in Law School Classrooms
 
Final Report (Scholarly Paper): 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
 
Final Report (Scholarly Paper): 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
 
Final Report (Scholarly Paper): Examining Sex and Ethnoracial Differences in Graduate School Enrollment

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

Final Report (Scholarly Paper 1): Borrowing Smarter or Borrowing More? Investigating the Effects of a Natural Experiment in Federal Loan Policy

Final Report (Scholarly Paper 2): 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

Final Report (Scholarly Paper): Predicting Law School Enrollment: The Strategic Use of Financial Aid to Craft a Class

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

Final Report (Scholarly Paper): The Effects of Demographic Mismatch in an Elite Professional School Setting

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

Final Report (Scholarly Paper): More Money, More Opportunities: The Impact of a No-Loan Program on the Post-Baccalaureate Enrollment Decisions of Low-Income and First-Generation Students

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

Final Report (Scholarly Paper): The Rising Tide of Graduate Student Debt: Evidence of Change 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

Final Report (Scholarly Paper): ​Equality at the Starting Line? Gender- and Race-Based Differences at the Transition from Law School to the Legal Profession

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
 
Final Report (Scholarly Paper): The Effect of Title IX on Gender Disparity in Graduate Education