Law School Loan Forgiveness Program Makes its Way to Berkeley

During the summer, we reported on new legislation regarding law school loan forgiveness that went into effect on July 1st, 2009. We’re happy to see that this rock has made ripples in the law school pond, including UC Berkeley School of Law. Boalt Hall reports that, beginning with the fall 2009/2010 class, it will be implementing a new loan forgiveness program. The program, based on the College Cost Reduction & Access Act, hopefully marks the beginning of a new era in law school. With big law foundering, it’s not clear that undertaking substantial law school debt makes sense anymore. After all, if there’s no adequate salary on the other end, how does one repay the 80K or so in debt with which many law students graduate?

But the Boalt loan assistance program “will provide up to 10 years of unlimited support for repaying law school student loan debt, and some undergraduate debt, for alumni who earn less than $65,000 per year working for non-profit public interest groups or government agencies.” In addition, “Law school graduates in qualifying employment who earn between $65,000 and $100,000 will continue to receive proportional benefits.” Berkeley School of Law also offers additional measures, including health care, career placement services, post-graduate fellowships, and other programs to help students in the current economic downturn.

Kudos to Berkeley! Home of the Free Speech Movement, Birkenstocks, and manageable law school loan debt.

4 Responses

  1. spags says:

    I’ll be interested to see if there’s a measurable increase in their applicants due to the availability of this new program. I know that I’d be much more interested in Berkeley knowing that something like this was available to me.

  2. erica says:

    The thought of law school debt is definitely a bit less daunting knowing that there are programs like this starting up. Now I guess I just have to worry about getting into Boalt!

  3. Annie Oakley says:

    Are they doing anything for the 2Ls or 3Ls? Or is it just a “sorry about your luck” type of thing? It would totally suck to come in a year too early and miss out on that deal.

  4. spags says:

    Annie,

    It sounds like they aren’t SOL. According to Berkeley’s website:

    “Participation in Berkeley Law’s new program option will be contingent upon an individual’s enrollment in the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan. Qualifying 2009 graduates will start receiving payments in January; payments also will be applied to any previous Berkeley Law Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) participant still working in the public sector who qualifies for support.

    Through the graduating class of 2012, LRAP participants can choose between receiving support according to the current program guidelines or the revised ones. Starting with the graduating class of 2013, all participants will receive support for only federal student loans, and IBR enrollment will be required.”

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