Beginning in Spring 2009, UNC School of Law will assist alumni working in public service positions with the repayment of their law studies student loans. Public service lawyers are those working at a not-for-profit organization, international non-governmental organizations, government prosecution offices, public defender's office or another government offices in the United States.
"Carolina Law has a deep commitment to educating lawyers who will work in the public interest after graduation, often at salaries far below those offered in private practice," says Jack Boger '74, Dean and Wade Edwards Distinguished Professor of Law. "Yet even with encouragement, with supportive faculty and with dedicated administrative help, the debt burdens graduates face are often too great to permit them to accept the public service opportunities that drew them to law school. Our current students expressed a willingness to pay higher tuitions in part to create a new revenue stream that would support debt repayment among our graduates interested in public service. We are grateful for that support and proud to be able to begin this new program."
In order to qualify for assistance, alumni must be using their legal skills for at least 20 hours a week in a public service capacity. They also can not make more than $59,000 a year and must be current on their loans.
"Whether they serve in public prosecutor or defender offices, as legal services attorneys for the poor or in public advocacy settings, this new program will allow dedicated graduates to follow their hearts and do the meaningful work that often brought them to Carolina," explains Boger, who credits student leaders Laura Lee '07, Luis Lluberas-Oliver '08, Elizabeth Hartnett '08, Cory Haller '09 and others with helping to create the program.
UNC School of Law has long been a contributor to the North Carolina Legal Education Assistance Foundation, which is the state's loan repayment program. Alumni who receive assistance under the school's new loan repayment program are encouraged to seek assistance from NC LEAF as well as federal repayment programs.
UNC alumni who graduated between December 2006 and August 2008, plus May 2006 graduates who worked as judicial clerks, are eligible to apply for debt repayment for up to five years of school loans. Unfortunately, funding cannot be guaranteed. Applications are due by March 2, 2009. A review committee will notify award recipients by June 2009. Successful applicants will have to reapply annually to continue the benefit and must confirm their employment half way through the year.
UNC alumni who are interested in more information can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.law.unc.edu/admissions/financing/lrap/.
-January 31, 2009