Summer Start Initiative

The Summer Start Initiative (SSI) is a five-week summer program available for students who have earned admission to the North Carolina Central University School of Law. Because legal education will likely represent a completely new way of learning for incoming students, the first semester of law school is often critical to the matriculation of entering students.

Our SSI program extends our first semester by allowing students to begin attending classes in June as opposed to our traditional calendar start in August. SSI participants begin study in four first year classes. Upon completion of the summer component, SSI participants receive academic credit for their work. They then return to school in August and resume their studies, picking up where their summer course study left off. Participation in SSI allows students to complete the remainder of their fall semester work at a slightly reduced pace, which yields greater opportunity to master the subject matter in each course.

Those candidates whom the Admissions Committee believe would benefit from enrollment in SSI will be required to participate in the program. All other admitted students will have the option to enroll in SSI. Those students must indicate their interest in SSI on their Intent to Enroll form. Because space is limited, admitted applicants are encouraged to submit their enrollment fee and Intent to Enroll form as early as possible upon receipt. It is imperative that applicants who have indicated that they are attending SSI and no longer wish to do so, contact the Admissions Office immediately at  to avoid paying tuition and fees for this program. If you are planning to continue with fall admission only, you are required to submit a revised Intent to Enroll form noting the change.

More details follow:


How does the SSI program benefit its participants?

There are very few academic endeavors that are as challenging and difficult as the first year of law school. SSI is designed to give students a head start on their legal education by introducing them to the material they’ll be studying, as well as the strategies they will need to successfully navigate our curriculum. Getting adjusted to the rigor of the classes in a professional school setting will be highly important to your first-year success. Our belief is that SSI will increase the odds that students will perform at a higher level during their first year and give participants a solid foundation upon which to build for the remainder of their matriculation at Central.

What is the timeframe of the program?

The program runs from late June/early July until late July/early August.

What classes will be offered to SSI participants?

Participants receive instruction in the four major classes that are offered during the first-year of law school. Property is the study of concepts and rules that govern the ownership of real and personal property. Civil Procedure covers the set of rules and standards that courts use to conduct civil litigation. Contracts covers both oral and written agreements that dictate how goods and services will be exchanged. Legal Writing introduces students to the basics of legal reasoning, analysis and writing. SSI participants will take each of the four classes during the summer, and then resume their studies in each class when we reconvene in August.

Will SSI participants take the same classes during the summer that they will take during the year? Will participants receive academic credit?

Yes. SSI’s core classes will be the same classes that students will take all year. By successfully completing SSI, participants will receive five (5) hours of academic credit. In the fall, students will receive ten (10) hours of academic credit, giving SSI students a total of 15 credits heading into the Spring 2018 semester.

What will a regular day/week at SSI look like for participants?

Below is an example of the schedule for those who participated in the program in 2016.  Each year the schedule differs slightly and the final schedule is typically available in late April.

Will there be limited seating for the program?

Yes. Last year we had a large number of students express interest in the program than anticipated. While we will accommodate as many students as possible, we unfortunately will be unable to offer a seat to everyone. If you are interested in the program please submit your enrollment fee as soon as possible and complete the Intent to Enroll form to indicate your interest.  We will confirm your place in the program and if space is not available you will be placed on our SSI waitlist. 

Will books be needed for the program?

Yes. The books you will use in SSI will be the same books you will use for the entirety of the academic year.

Will there be exams during the program period?

Yes. Students will take a graded examination assessment in each of the four major classes during SSI’s last week.

Is the program free?

No. Because students will receive academic credit for participation, there will be a tuition and fee cost for attending. By clicking on the following link, SSI participants can see the charges for enrolling in five credits during what amounts to the second session of summer school at the law school:

Tuition and fees (not including room and board) charged to last year’s cohort, based upon their 5 hours of law school credit, was $1,502.40 for in-state students and $4765.40 for out-of-state students.  Typically, final summer session costs are released in the late spring.

Will financial aid be available for SSI participants to help offset the program costs?

Yes. Although many students will have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms for the upcoming academic year, because SSI participants will begin during the summer those courses technically fall under the previous academic year. This means SSI participants will need to complete an additional FAFSA form for the prior academic year if they wish to receive financial aid during the program. Please follow the following steps so your aid can be processed in a timely manner:

  1. Complete a FAFSA form for both the upcoming and prior academic year. Students are required to record the school code of 002950 for North Carolina Central University in Section Six of the FAFSA. Again, students must complete a FAFSA for both the upcoming and prior year.
  1. Upon completion, you should receive an e-mail from the Department of Education to the address listed on the FAFSA within one week of submission. The University should also receive an electronic file once you’ve completed this stage, usually within 48 hours of your submission. As we get notification of who is going to attend SSI, we can alert our financial aid office on main campus to potentially anticipate your application.
  1. Please verify that North Carolina Central is the university listed on the Student Aid Report. (SAR).
  1. We ask that SSI participants try completing this process by the end of May. That is an earlier deadline than may be the case at other institutions, but we want to make sure we have a little bit of latitude on our timeline to address any unexpected issues that arise. 

Is housing available for SSI participants?

The University does not offer on-campus housing to graduate students.  For suggestions on housing in and around the Durham area please go here –

What about parking during SSI? How will that be handled?

The law school is located at the corner of South Alston Avenue and Cecil Avenue in the northeast corner of the campus. We are noted as Building No. 1 on this link:

During the academic year, students need a parking permit to park on campus. The permits cost approximately $300 apiece and typically are valid from July 1-June 30 each academic year.   Additionally, there is free parking located along Cecil Street and Lincoln Street, as well as a parking garage adjacent to Location No. 35 on the above-referenced map.

We are working with our University Police Department to provide temporary permits to SSI participants for parking on campus at no cost.