preLaw - Winter 2011 - 30
employment qualifies for assistance? All LRAP programs are not created equally. If you plan on working in the government sector of public interest law, be sure that LRAP program of the law school of your choice covers you under that type of employment. It’s also important to know which loans are eligible for assistance. Does it cover undergraduate loans or part-time employment? And, how is the award amount determined? Many LRAPs also have salary caps or specific amounts of indebtedness that are required to qualify. These are all good questions to answer, Jarvis said. “Law school-base LRAPs are only as
strong as the school,” she said. “Students need to look a little deeper.” The real hot issue is public service loan forgiveness at the federal level. Students need to understand student loans and avoid private student loans. Private loans aren’t accepted under the Federal Loan Forgiveness Program. Though the Federal Loan Forgiveness Program has the same requirements for everyone, there is still a need for strong school-based LRAP programs, Jarvis said. The latest information from Equal Justice shows that it’s still around 100 law schools that have LRAPs. But what varies a lot is the average annual award. Though
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many are giving much higher rewards than before, most programs still only give modest benefits. Those that give larger amounts — like Yale, Harvard and Stanford — have access to large endowments. Rutgers-Newark has a long history of public service. It was among one of the first clinical programs nationwide, established mostly in the late 1960s as a consequence of the Newark riots. This represented the law school’s reinvestment in the community there. An anonymous donor who is an alumnus of the law school today largely funds the LRAP program, which began in 1998, said John Farmer, dean of Rutgers-Newark.