Today's law graduates often face staggering amounts of debt when they graduate. Because their salaries are generally lower than those of attorneys entering the private sector, student loan obligations can be especially burdensome for public interest lawyers. The Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) eases the financial burdens of recent graduates, allowing more of them to enter and remain in the nonprofit sector. LRAP is a loan forgiveness program that is funded by student fees and private donations. LRAP awards are forgivable loans and must be used to repay law school educational debt. LRAP recipients who meet all program requirements have their loans forgiven at the conclusion of their loan term.
Any graduate of the College of Law who works in a law-related public interest job may apply for an LRAP award and recipients are chosen by a committee comprised of faculty, staff, students and alumni. In making its selections, the LRAP Committee gives priority to candidates who demonstrate the most significant commitment to public interest work as well as the greatest financial need. In particular, the Committee seeks to fund applicants who provide legal services to underserved, low-income or disadvantaged individuals or groups.
LRAP applications should be submitted to the CPIL office and must be postmarked by April 15. See below for the application form, a checklist of all application materials and a statement that describes the program's requirements and guiding principles.
|Average law school debt||......................||$106,412|
|Median salary for public interest work||......................||$38,000|
|Median salary for private practice||......................||$66,500|
If a legal aid lawyer with $106,412 in outstanding law school loans earns an annual salary of $38,000, or $25,650 after taxes ($2,137.50 per month), $1,224.60 per month will go toward school loans over a 10-year period. This leaves $912.90 per month to cover all other necessary expenses including rent, food, insurance, transportation, healthcare and utilities.
* Salary after tax is based upon withholdings of one-third gross salary. Monthly debt payment is based on average Federal Stafford Loan borrowing of $106,412 at a fixed annual interest rate of 6.8 percent.
Access Group: Budget Planning Tools (including online, interactive budget calculators)
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Equal Justice Works: Student Debt Relief is a comprehensive source of information about student loans
FinAid! includes online calculators available to calculate monthly student loan payments
Income Based Repayment & Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a website that offers independent information on federal student loan payment and forgiveness programs
Loan Consolidation – Loan forgiveness for public service employment is available for Federal Direct loans ONLY. To learn more about Loan Consolidation under Federal Direct, go to http://loanconsolidation.ed.gov
National Student Loan Data System is the U.S. Department of Education's (ED's) central database for student aid
Schrag, Philip G., Federal Student Loan Repayment Assistance for Public Interest Lawyers and Other Employees of Governments and Nonprofit Organizations, HOFSTRA LAW REVIEW, VOL. 36, FALL 2007
Student Loan Borrower Assistance is the National Consumer Law Center's resource for borrowers, their families, and advocates representing student loan borrowers.