Villanova University's law school has been censured for knowingly misreporting admissions data to the American Bar Association.
According to school officials, staff members inflated grade-point averages and scores on the Law School Admissions Test.
Both data sets often factor into law school rankings.
Law school Dean John Gotanda says Villanova's median LSAT scores were padded by two to three points between 2005 and 2009. The median GPA was inflated up to 0.16 points.
Gotanda says Villanova began an internal investigation in January, shortly after he took office. The school self-reported its findings to the bar association, which issued a public censure on Friday.
“I think this group of individuals, they were very careful to keep it secret, not to draw any sort of red flags”' law school Dean John Gotanda said Tuesday.
The ABA investigation concluded that the Law School has remedied the violations. According to the ABA, the violations would have justified removing Villanova from its list of approved law schools, but that action wasn’t taken because of the Law School’s decision to self-report the data and take action to correct the problem.
“Such misconduct will never occur again at Villanova,'' Gotanda wrote in a letter to alumni on Monday. “I want to assure you that the actions of a few former employees do not reflect the true character or culture of our institution or our people.”
The fallout has contributed to a 19 percent reduction in applications for this year's class, Gotanda said, noting a much steeper decline than the national drop-off of 11.5 percent.
The ABA sanctions include posting the public censure notice on the Villanova University School of Law web page for two years.
Villanova is a private Catholic university outside Philadelphia.