LSAC Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars Programs (PLUS) 2022 RFP FAQ

Eligibility

My law school has already received an LSAC PLUS grant in the past. Are we eligible for funding from this new RFP?

Schools that have previously been awarded grant funding to administer the PLUS Program may apply, but the proposal must explain how the current PLUS Program will differ from the prior PLUS Program administered by the institution rather than operating merely as an extension of the prior PLUS Program.

My law school has never conducted any prelaw programs longer than one-day weekend sessions. Are we eligible to submit a proposal?

Yes! We strongly encourage law schools that have never conducted programs to submit proposals. The LSAC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Team will work with interested law schools on the development and submission of proposals; however, please note that such support does not guarantee an award. Contact us at diversityoffice@LSAC.org for more information.

Program Design

My law school wants to develop a program targeting advanced undergraduates including recent graduates. We’re planning to partner with two local community colleges and a tribal college in our state. Should we submit a proposal for Option A or Option B?

In this situation, we recommend that you submit your proposal for Option B, but highlight how your targeted group also addresses the objectives for Option A.

My law school is initiating prelaw programming for diverse students for the first time. How will we know if our program proposal is innovative? Can you explain more about what LSAC means by “innovative”?

Innovative proposals will demonstrate familiarity with existing prelaw program models. We encourage you to read about LSAC’s existing PLUS Program and to learn more about other programs via the ABA’s National Pipeline Diversity Initiatives Directory

LSAC’s DEI team views innovation as new, creative approaches to prelaw pipeline programming that intentionally address the needs of minoritized students. Innovation could be suggested in a variety of ways within a proposal. The emphasis of innovation could be in the recruitment and longitudinal support of students, the length or format of the program calendar, the pedagogical methods used, or the content of the curriculum, for example. 

We encourage you to reach out to colleagues throughout your law school and at other law schools who have experience working with minoritized students to learn more about the specific needs of these students along the law school enrollment journey.

Historically, LSAC PLUS Programs have been four to five weeks in length. Do you have the same expectation about the program length for proposals submitted under this RFP?

There is no set length for program options under this RFP. The total length of your program should align with your proposed outcomes and description.

How many students should we enroll in our program?

The total number of students should align with your proposed program outcomes and budget. LSAC has allocated $30,000 of funding designated for student stipends; therefore, you should aim to enroll at least 30 students. If you propose to admit more than 30 students, your proposal should provide a description of your plan to allocate stipend support for all participating students.

Can we restrict the selection of participants to undergraduate schools from our local region?

Yes, however, because there are many students who could benefit from participation in a PLUS Program, you should be sure to provide clear justification for why your proposed program can best achieve success by focusing only on participants from your local region. Be sure to provide a detailed description of your region.

How will we know if the rural undergraduate institution(s) with which we intend to collaborate to submit a proposal for a PLUS Program under Option B fulfills your definition of a rural undergraduate institution?

For the purposes of the PLUS Program, a rural undergraduate institution is one located in any U.S. rural territory without a law school in close proximity. An undergraduate institution may be considered rural if accessing opportunities at the nearest law school is limited by long distances of travel to that law school; limited or nonexistent access to reliable, regular public transportation to that law school; or unreliable internet connectivity for remote learning opportunities.

We would like to target our program towards one specific minoritized group such as first-generation students or Black/African American men. Can we do this?

Yes, however, because there are many groups of students who could benefit from participation in a PLUS Program, you should provide clear reasons as to why your proposed program chose to focus on the needs of this one particular group of minoritized students and how your program will achieve success with these students. 

Do we have to physically host our program at the law school?

No. You could propose a fully remote learning program. You could also opt to partner with an undergraduate institution, or even a corporation, that agrees to host the program classes or sessions. If you do not plan to physically host the program at your school’s location, be sure to provide adequate detail about the involvement of your school and the designated program host.

Can we offer our participants academic credit for their participation?

Yes, you can propose a program that offers academic credit for student participation; however, grant funds from LSAC cannot be used to fund this portion of your program. In addition, your proposal must include details about how students participating in your program would navigate course enrollment, tuition costs, and credit completion agreements between the host law school and their undergraduate school.

Can our program include paid mentors?

Yes, this is a staffing option that you are able to propose. Your proposal must include a clear description of the role these mentors will play in your program and provide sufficient budget details about how funds will be allocated for these positions.

Can participants work while in the program?

Yes, you can decide to allow participants to work during your proposed program. However, taking into account the rigor and length of your program, among other factors, you should be prepared to describe how your staff will balance student needs with expectations regarding participation.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Process

I just learned about the PLUS Program RFP but missed the deadline to submit a Letter of Interest. I’d like to learn more about the program before preparing a proposal. Who can I talk to for more information?

Please contact LSAC’s DEI team at diversityoffice@LSAC.org.

My university requires that I submit budgets for all grant proposals in a certain format. Will LSAC accept my law school’s budget format?

You must adapt your proposal budget to fit the required LSAC PLUS Budget Template. However, you may attach additional budget information if doing so enables you to meet your institution’s requirements.

I would like to apply for the PLUS grant precisely because my law school is not in a position to contribute any budget dollars to such a program. Why does the budget still require that I list contributions from my law school?

We require that you list these contributions as one indication of the degree of support your law school has for the proposed program; however, please note that your law school contributions do not have to be direct monetary contributions. Contributions can include a variety of in-kind support, such as faculty instruction or administrative support. You can also include contributions from partnering organizations as in-kind support. Contact us at diversityoffice@LSAC.org for additional information on how to prepare your budget proposal.

If we are not selected for a grant, will we receive any feedback from LSAC about the merits of our proposal?

While LSAC is unable to provide individual feedback regarding each proposal as part of the final selection process, we strongly encourage you to submit a Letter of Interest. Any institution submitting a Letter of Interest will receive feedback regarding the fit of their proposed program to the RFP and a recommendation as to whether a full proposal should be prepared and submitted to LSAC.

I’m having trouble uploading my documents. Who should I contact for help?

You may contact LSAC’s DEI team at diversityoffice@LSAC.org. We will be happy to assist you.

I missed the live Q&A session offered in May. Will there be another session before the proposal deadline?

LSAC is considering the possibility of a second informational session if it appears that there is interest from law schools. In the meantime, you are welcome to contact us at diversityoffice@LSAC.org for more information or to ask individual questions.

Miscellaneous

We will have a new dean begin their position shortly after the proposal submission deadline. Should we still submit a proposal?

Support from a law school dean is essential for the long-term success of a PLUS Program. Therefore, we would encourage you to submit your proposal at a time when you have the full support of your dean. You are welcome to contact us at diversityoffice@LSAC.org or submit a Letter of Interest, if you would like more information. 

Do we need to have agreement from our faculty and other instructors confirming their participation in next year’s program prior to submitting a proposal?

Firm commitments from faculty and other instructors are not required. However, your proposal should clearly describe the process the law school will use to design the details of its curriculum, including how it will fill key instructional roles. We encourage you to involve faculty or other instructors in preparing and reviewing the proposal. 

I have applied for funding support from other sources. In the unlikely event that I receive funding from all of these sources, would I be able to defer the grant award from LSAC until 2023?

Due to the innovative nature of this RFP, LSAC will not be able to defer any grant awards.

If our law school is awarded grant funding, when would we be able to actually begin the program?

LSAC intends to notify applicants of whether they will be awarded grants by no later than October 29, 2021. As soon as your law school signs the official contract with LSAC, you would be able to begin your program. Please be advised that LSAC will administer grant payments to grantees at intervals related to your PLUS Program benchmarks. LSAC will not provide grant awards in a single, lump-sum payment to any institution approved to administer the PLUS Program.