UNC School of Law has a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) for recent graduates working in public interest employment. For more information, visit http://www.law.unc.edu/admissions/financing/lrap/.
Many other states provide assistance through LRAP programs. Each varies in age, size and scope. Some are administered by a state bar association or foundation while others are administered through stand-alone nonprofit organizations. Some are funded through state legislative appropriations while others rely on funding from the private sector or from Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) funding. For more information, visit the ABA's State Bar LRAP list.
Some legal services employers around the country and several of the post-graduate legal fellowships have a loan forgiveness component to their programs. For more information on employers-based and other loan forgiveness options, visit http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/ed-debt.
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 established two key programs to support careers in public service. First, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program offers forgiveness of federal educational loans after 10 years of public service employment. Second, Income-Based Repayment (IBR) calculates monthly loan payment amounts based on income, rather than the amount owed. These programs will significantly reduce loan burden for public interest lawyers, who often make lower salaries than those in the private sector. The most comprehensive and up to date information can be found at http://equaljusticeworks.org/ed-debt/students/public-service-loan-forgiveness.
For more information regarding loans and law school budgeting, contact Vanda Chou, Director of Law School Financial Aid.