The average pass rate for first-time takers of the July state bar exam was 76 percent � down one percentage point from the prior year and two points below the 2003 rate. It was the first time in more than 20 years that candidates were required to score an additional five points to qualify for licensure, an extra hurdle that has affected individual campus statistics and as many as 170 candidates.

According to a confidential projection provided to campus officials by the State Board of Law Examiners in Albany, the first-time pass rate would have been 78 percent if not for the higher cut score. Applying the projected average to the 8,609 first-time applicants means that as many as 170 candidates who failed the exam in July would have passed it last February.

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