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The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has granted full accreditation to Albany Law School, marking a successful end to a multi-year process.
Albany Law School began pursuing Middle States accreditation in 2016, in part to earn formal endorsement of its new online graduate degree and certificate programs. Two years later, Middle States gave the law school "Candidate for Accreditation" status. In 2019, Albany Law School completed a comprehensive self-study and hosted a Middle States site evaluation team, which signaled its support during a September 11 exit report, giving the law school a clean bill of health on all seven accreditation standards. In March 2020, the commission fully accredited Albany Law School.
"Albany Law School is transforming itself into a graduate school for the study of law—this is a critical step in that evolution," said President and Dean Alicia Ouellette. "This decision affirms that all of our academic programs, including our online graduate programs, meet a high standard of excellence. We thank the commission for its hard work, its transparency, and its willingness to move quickly in granting accreditation."
As an educational institution with regional accreditation, Albany Law School now has the authority to offer federal financial aid to students in graduate degree programs. The law school's offerings also may qualify for accreditation-dependent, employer-paid tuition assistance programs.
Albany Law School launched its first fully online graduate program in 2016. The law school now offers online master's and LL.M. degree programs, as well as certificate programs, in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy, Financial Compliance and Risk Management, and Health Law and Compliance. All of the programs equip working professionals with the law and policy knowledge to advance their careers in these high-growth fields; the master's programs are designed specifically for non-lawyers.
The Middle States site team, in its written evaluation, praised Albany Law School "for the demonstrated commitment to developing and launching non-J.D. academic programs that reflect the same attention to rigor and quality that is clearly evident" in the existing residential J.D. and LL.M. programs.
"This is a proof point that our online graduate programs stand up to those of our peers," said Antony Haynes, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Director of Cybersecurity and Privacy Law. "By seeing the Middle States stamp of approval, anyone interested in our programs will know that Albany Law School offers effective, high-quality instruction and a strong student experience."
Albany Law School's J.D. program is accredited by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (ABA).