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William Howard Taft University is a private online university headquartered in Santa Ana, Californiamarker. Founded in 1976 as a source of continuing education for certified public accountants (CPAs), the school expanded into a specialized distance education university that now offers multiple academic programs of study and currently operates Taft Law School.

Taft Law School

Founded as The Witkin School of Law for an online law school offering several programs: the Juris Doctor - Attorney Track Program (JDAT), which is intended to prepare students to sit for a bar exam; Juris Doctor - Executive Track Program (JDET), which is intended to educate students in general aspects of business law but not prepare them for traditional legal practice; and a Master of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.) Program aimed at those already holding law degrees. Founded in 1984 as the School of Law, the school is named after legal scholar Bernard E. Witkin.

The School of Law is currently authorized to grant Juris Doctor degrees by the California State Department of Education and is listed with the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California.

The law school is not accredited by the American Bar Association. Because of this, students interested in taking the bar exam must take and pass the First-Year Law Students' Examination, also known as the "Baby Bar", at the end of their first year in order to receive credit for their law study and eventually qualify to sit for the California Bar Exam. Graduates are eligible to take the California Bar Exam. Currently the State of California is the only U.S. jurisdiction that allows graduates of online law schools to sit for its bar exam.

According to the California Bar, in October 2006 Taft had a 23% success rate of students passing the "baby bar", in June 2006 had a 33% pass rate, and July 2008 had a 33% rate. More recently in early 2009, Taft had a 33% rate.

Accreditation

On 7 June 2003, William Howard Taft University was awarded accreditation by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Both the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education recognize the DETC as an accrediting agency for institutions of higher education.

On June 7, 2008 the Commission voted to extend its accreditation until 2013. Taft Law School is a voting member of the International Association of Law Schools. Taft Law School Students are eligible for In School deferments, Federally Insured Student Loans, private loans, military or employer tuition assistance, and/or Taft University System grants. The Taft University System Federal Financial Aid code is G41004.

William Howard Taft University is not accredited by the American Bar Association, nor is it seeking such accreditation because it is ineligible. No on-line law school is accredited by the American Bar Association. William Howard Taft Law School is accredited by The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council through 2013 State Bar of California.

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