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May 17, 2016 09:58 AM EDT

Law Schools Offer Loan Assistance Program; Lending A Helping Hand To Debt-Burdened Grads!

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Looks like a good news for debt-ridden grads as many law schools are now offering loan assistance plans that are usually limited to grads in public sector jobs.

Given a choice between a law school with good scholarship and a school with an eminent loan assistance plan, Michael Kaercher decided to opt for the loan assistance plan provided after graduation. Kaercher, 30, graduated from Harvard Law School in 2010 and works at the IRS as an attorney adviser.

According to Kaercher if he joined a firm, he wouldn't miss the $100,000 in scholarship, however if he opted to go into the public sector and went to Harvard, he'd qualify for this program.

Although several law schools offer a loan assistance program to their graduates, it's mostly restricted to those in the public sector and has an income cap.

Harvard offers an extremely generous program based on their formula, says the fifth-year attorney who gets $8,849 in loan assistance every six months from Harvard in order to pay his $220,000 law school debt. In addition, they are not expected to work for a 501(c)(3) or anything similar to be qualified.

"You just have to not make that much money," the fifth-year attorney said.

Prospective and current law students as well as graduates should consider a law school's loan assistance program, specifically one with rising student debt among law school graduates.

Data submitted to U.S. News by 183 ranked institutions divulged that students from the class of 2015 who borrowed in order to pay for law school took out about $110,618 in loans. Over 100 law schools offer some type of loan assistance program to their graduates, according to a record accumulated by the American Bar Association.

Programs at law schools offer 2 options:

1) Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP)
2) Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LRAP)

LRAP is more common.

According to Lyssa Thaden, director of financial education at Access Group, it is obvious that top 20 schools have these programs.  Access Group is a non-profit that supports affordable law school education.

Differences between a LIPP and an LRAP

Kenneth Lafler points out that LIPP works like a backend scholarship particularly because its benefits can probably be as big as many up-front merit scholarships. Lafler is assistant dean for student financial services at Harvard Law School.

LRAPs on the other hand are generally restricted to students entering public service.

LIPPs are available to borrowers on an income sliding scale that considers the size of debt as well as cost of living, according to experts. Ivy League law schools including Cornell University Law School and Yale Law School offer identical programs.

Law Schools Offering Loan Assistance

Many law schools started offering assistance program following the reaction from debt-strapped students who failed to find legal work easily. According to Thaden, this is also a way for law schools to show their commitment to the success of their students and alumni.

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