Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Debt and School Choice.

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Manhattanman
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Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Debt and School Choice.

Postby Manhattanman » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:35 pm

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2007, provided for loan forgiveness on Federal education loans in exchange for public service employment. To be eligible, Federal loan borrowers are required to make 120 loan repayments on their Federal loans while employed in eligible employment, after which any remaining balance on their loans will be forgiven.


Eligible loans repayments are those repayments made under one or any combination of three repayment plans: Income Based, Income Contingent or the Standard (ten-year) Repayment Plan.


Another aspect of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act was to lower monthly repayments on student loans by adding an Income Based Repayment (IBR) option to the repayment plans available to borrowers of Federal loans. Under IBR, a borrower’s monthly loan repayments are capped at 15% of discretionary income


So the question is...If you want to be a career prosecutor (or any public interest job) does it matter how much debt you have? Should you just go to the best school you get into in the area you want to work in?

My personal situation is that I have close to full tuition at BU, 1/2 tuition at USC, tiny scholarship at Fordham. Would like to work in NY as a prosecutor, but would not rule out CA if I could get a job there (I hear it is very tough to get an assistant da gig). I have NY ties and experience working closely with one of the prosecutor offices in the 5 boroughs.

No one will be an expert on this, but I would like to get some opinions.

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UVAIce
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Re: Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Debt and School Choice.

Postby UVAIce » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:54 pm

Debt still matters for a number of reasons. First, a lot of the LRAP programs offered by top schools are based on annual salary. So after 5-6 years you may actually be making enough money that the LRAP program at a particular school stops paying the loan amount in full, at which time you would have to start paying things off IBR style.

A lot of people on here will also mention that IBR and LRAP are not guaranteed to be around in ten years. Personally I think that they will be, but you never know given the current fiscal climate. From what I can tell the LRAP programs at the top 10 schools or so will essentially cover your loan costs if you go public service and don't make more than X (it varies from school to school). Most of the school programs will also pay the loan balance off in 10 years, regardless of your annual salary.

I think going to a better school will make things easier for you. For one, it will be easier to get a public service job in a first place. A lot of legal aid organizations are just as particular as big law firms. The other is that you may very well change your mind about public service in law school. If that happens you'll be in a much better position at a T14 school to gain employment at a big law firm than BC, etc.

Manhattanman
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Re: Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Debt and School Choice.

Postby Manhattanman » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:19 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:In theory, yes, if you're gunning for a PSLF-eligible job, debt doesn't really matter. And usually the better the school, the better LRAP program it has, too. The catch is 1) you have to get that DA job, and 2) you have to keep that job for 10 years (or 120 payments). It's probably worth considering what you'd do about massive debt if you don't end up with the DA job (or if you decide you want to do something else - maybe less relevant for you if you have experience working with DAs, but a lot of people change their minds during law school).

The other thing is it's not clear how much being at a more highly-ranked school always matters for prosecutor gigs. It probably matters for AUSA - which you're extremely unlikely to get straight out of school anyway - although excellent grades at a less good school can be more helpful than ordinary grades at a snazzy school; it seems it's also becoming more important for NY and LA, which is of course relevant to your interests. But outside of those contexts, dedication to the cause/experience is more important for DA gigs than school rank per se. So it's not always clear that going to a more highly-ranked school (especially outside the T14) is automatically an advantage.

That said, if you want to work in NY as a prosecutor, going to law school there so you can intern during the school year and make connections is probably pretty important. So I can see your dilemma.


Thanks for the response.

Yeah, it seems that ite public interest jobs are becoming more and more competitive, so if I was to take on a large amount of debt and not be able to find an eligible job I would be screwed. Ideally if I do chose Boston I will still try to do internships in NY. I worry about BU and NY placement, but that is a question for another thread.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Debt and School Choice.

Postby somewhatwayward » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:56 pm

I also see your dilemma bc of your desire for NYC, but don't turn down a full-ride at BU for near-sticker at its peer, Fordham. BU places 15% of its class into NY although I would guess a lot of those are big law. If you decide that you absolutely would not be okay with Boston, then you probably need to retake and reassess. Fordham is not worth 250K since you can't be anywhere close to certain to get either a big law or PSLF-eligible job. Have you tried negotiating with Fordham using BU's offer? The problem is that Fordham only gives like two full rides, and even if you do get one, you'll still owe a lot for COL.

Manhattanman
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Re: Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Debt and School Choice.

Postby Manhattanman » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:25 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:I also see your dilemma bc of your desire for NYC, but don't turn down a full-ride at BU for near-sticker at its peer, Fordham. BU places 15% of its class into NY although I would guess a lot of those are big law. If you decide that you absolutely would not be okay with Boston, then you probably need to retake and reassess. Fordham is not worth 250K since you can't be anywhere close to certain to get either a big law or PSLF-eligible job. Have you tried negotiating with Fordham using BU's offer? The problem is that Fordham only gives like two full rides, and even if you do get one, you'll still owe a lot for COL.


From NJ so I would have commuted, but that point is moot since they shot me down when I tried to negotiate. I wouldn't mind USC, but pretty sure LA DA's office is on a hiring freeze... In this legal market nothing is guaranteed, and I feel like my options aren't good enough to feel confident about going, but aren't terrible enough that I definitely don't go.




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