NYU vs. Penn vs. rest of lower T-14 vs. UCLA $$ and USC $$$

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Which School Should I Attend? Details in post.

NYU: sticker
20
29%
Penn: sticker
13
19%
UVA: sticker
1
1%
Berkeley (might get some money off Matching program)
7
10%
Michigan: $45,000 in total scholly
9
13%
Duke: TBD, presumably $45,000-$60,000 total
6
9%
Cornell: TBD, presumably $45,000-$60,000 total
2
3%
Vanderbilt: $96,000 total
2
3%
UCLA: $90,000 total + in state + $3000/year in grant aid
5
7%
USC: $120,000 total
5
7%
 
Total votes: 70

tis
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:25 pm

Re: NYU vs. Penn vs. rest of lower T-14 vs. UCLA $$ and USC $$$

Postby tis » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:38 pm

megagnarley wrote:In regard to LRAP Mich is definitely a competitor. They use a sliding scale to help with payments up to 75k and even count private practice, meaning it doesn't have to be PI related, in addition to letting you slide in and out.

They revamped it in 2011 I believe.
megagnarley wrote:In regard to LRAP Mich is definitely a competitor. They use a sliding scale to help with payments up to 75k and even count private practice, meaning it doesn't have to be PI related, in addition to letting you slide in and out.

They revamped it in 2011 I believe.


I don't think Michigan's LRAP is much competition for NYU's, as far as I understand it, IF you are set on PI work. NYU has a base of 80k (and caps at 110), whereas Michigan's is around 50. If you bail on it, Michigan pays -- I think -- only interest accrual, whereas NYU pays what you would have paid for those years under a 10 year plan (correct me if I'm wrong). Michigan's advantage is that allows for a little more flexibility in the low salary range, since you can take non PI jobs and still qualify for LRAP.

I"m in a similar situation to OP and want an informed opinion as to the significance of LRAPs, but there seems to be a shortage which I think comes from not understanding the system's grounding in PSLF. Given PSLF and IBR (or even better, PAYE), the school's LRAP isn't what saves you from crushing debt, though it can certainly make life easier. Most LRAP plans force you on to IBR, under which you pay 15% of discretionary income (let's say it's gross income - 23k). The school is banking on you NOT making enormous sums of money, under which circumstances your 15% is not all that huge - and they pay that 15%, in accordance with their caps etc. After 10 years, provided you meet the PSLF/Government's requirement for PI jobs (namely, working for a 501 c or for the government), poof - it all dissappears.

As I understand it, the issue is commitment to -- and finding -- a qualifying PI job. That being said, it doesn't really matter what the school says qualifies - if you qualified for a school's LRAP and it made your miniscule payments for 10 years and you didn't qualify for forgiveness under PSLF, you're 10 years into a massive loan you haven't made much of a dent in, NOT good.

However, if you were to completely disregard any LRAP, the worst case you're looking at is not as dire as people seem to be implying. You can still maintain your IBR plan (or better yet, switch to PAYE; the same, but with 10% of discretionary income as opposed to 15%). The debt doesn't preclude you from having a family as Nelson suggests.
Consider this: you do some PI work, have a family, and you stop working. You'd probably need to file separately from your SO, but if your income is 0 (though hard to have a family off of...), your monthly payment is zero. Say you've made 5 years of payment. Family time over, you go back to work in PI, make another 5 years of payments, paying 10% of discretionary income, and then it's forgiven.

If you had roughly a full 10 years of work in PI with no LRAP help, averaging let's say 80 k, and joined PAYE, then your yearly payment average is about 6k (or $500/month). It's not ideal, but with an 80k salary it's not necessarily crushing. After 10 years the remaining balance is forgiven and you paid, in total after graduation: 60k.

That being said, the question is whether you're committed to working at a 501 c or with the government, because with a mega-debt you have very little other choice. In the family example, your debt is going to be fucking hideous, growing 7% while you're not working, and possibly by less even when you are.

As I understand it, the problem isn't a vague risk of a heinous albatross of debt, it's being pigeonholed into one of these types of jobs before you even go to law-school or know the tax status of employers. Please correct me though.

On that note - does anyone have a sense on what proportion of "PI" work actually falls within 501 c or gov't jobs? I can imagine certain things which don't (e.g. a civil rights firm), but it'd be nice to have a general sense of the market.

User avatar
Nelson
Posts: 2061
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:43 am

Re: NYU vs. Penn vs. rest of lower T-14 vs. UCLA $$ and USC $$$

Postby Nelson » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:54 pm

tis wrote:However, if you were to completely disregard any LRAP, the worst case you're looking at is not as dire as people seem to be implying. You can still maintain your IBR plan (or better yet, switch to PAYE; the same, but with 10% of discretionary income as opposed to 15%). The debt doesn't preclude you from having a family as Nelson suggests.
Consider this: you do some PI work, have a family, and you stop working. You'd probably need to file separately from your SO, but if your income is 0 (though hard to have a family off of...), your monthly payment is zero. Say you've made 5 years of payment. Family time over, you go back to work in PI, make another 5 years of payments, paying 10% of discretionary income, and then it's forgiven.

This is just not how real lives and careers work. Oh just take years off while your debt accrues interest, then go back to your career, where they've magically held your job open for you. That's not plausible. Plus you're going to have a hell of a time keeping your finances separate from your spouse if you're married. So basically this becomes a magic scenario where your partner pays your law school debt. Not very realistic for most people.

tis wrote:As I understand it, the problem isn't a vague risk of a heinous albatross of debt, it's being pigeonholed into one of these types of jobs before you even go to law-school or know the tax status of employers. Please correct me though.

No, it's that it's incredibly difficult to get this kind of work in this economy. Especially since most people who talk about PI don't want to do direct client service, but instead have some vague idea of being the next Supreme Court litigator for the ACLU.

If you want to do direct client service, then you shouldn't be taking any debt at all since you should be going to school for free in your target market (or on a public service full ride to a T14).

tis wrote:On that note - does anyone have a sense on what proportion of "PI" work actually falls within 501 c or gov't jobs? I can imagine certain things which don't (e.g. a civil rights firm), but it'd be nice to have a general sense of the market.

Most PI work falls into this definition, but good luck getting it to begin with. A lot of civil rights firms will qualify (but getting a job at one out of law school is highly unlikely).

I snipped all of the 0L theoretical debt math from your post because you'll find when you actually get to law school that very few recent grads rely on LRAP to pay sticker debt. Most PI people have relatively small debt loads that they use LRAP to further mitigate.

User avatar
bruinfan10
Posts: 510
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:25 am

Re: NYU vs. Penn vs. rest of lower T-14 vs. UCLA $$ and USC $$$

Postby bruinfan10 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:07 pm

LOL at the 0Ls voting to attend lower T-14s at sticker. Horrible value proposition.

User avatar
jvincent11
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:38 pm

Re: NYU vs. Penn vs. rest of lower T-14 vs. UCLA $$ and USC $$$

Postby jvincent11 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:13 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:LOL at the 0Ls voting to attend lower T-14s at sticker. Horrible value proposition.


So when, if ever, are lower T14s at sticker appropriate? For someone who wants to work in NYC there is no UCLA, Texas, or Vandy to fall back on

tis
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:25 pm

Re: NYU vs. Penn vs. rest of lower T-14 vs. UCLA $$ and USC $$$

Postby tis » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:12 pm

Nelson wrote:This is just not how real lives and careers work. Oh just take years off while your debt accrues interest, then go back to your career, where they've magically held your job open for you. That's not plausible. Plus you're going to have a hell of a time keeping your finances separate from your spouse if you're married. So basically this becomes a magic scenario where your partner pays your law school debt. Not very realistic for most people.
I don't understand the attack here. Your point was it's difficult to take time for a family with an LRAP, which, according to this is equally difficult whether you have an LRAP or not, so I'm not sure why you mentioned it... As for the impossibility of filing taxes separately I don't know if I agree...

Nelson wrote:No, it's that it's incredibly difficult to get this kind of work in this economy. Especially since most people who talk about PI don't want to do direct client service, but instead have some vague idea of being the next Supreme Court litigator for the ACLU.

If you want to do direct client service, then you shouldn't be taking any debt at all since you should be going to school for free in your target market (or on a public service full ride to a T14).
I'm giving those who say they are interested in PI the benefit of the doubt that they understand what PI is. The constraint seems to be a commitment to that kind of employment (which was the point of the post you're responding to).

Secondly, is it really that bleak, coming from a T14 school, say NYU, to find ANY qualifying PI jobs? If that's the case I advise all RTK scholars interested in PI to jump ship now, because the debt from cost of living in NYC is unjustifiable without employment.

Nelson wrote:Most PI work falls into this definition, but good luck getting it to begin with
Thank you.

Nelson wrote:I snipped all of the 0L theoretical debt math from your post because you'll find when you actually get to law school that very few recent grads rely on LRAP to pay sticker debt. Most PI people have relatively small debt loads that they use LRAP to further mitigate.
Aside from being a fatuous jab (I anxiously await my 1L math courses...) how does that actually speak to anything I said?

Your nugget of wisdom that some people don't understand PI is a revelation to us all. Now, let's move on to the thread and the concerns that prompted it.

dixiecupdrinking
Posts: 3142
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: NYU vs. Penn vs. rest of lower T-14 vs. UCLA $$ and USC $$$

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:59 pm

Nelson wrote:
02889 wrote:I said in my original post that most people will say that counting on LRAP is a risk. But while NYU's LRAP is also based on IBR, I hardly think the differences are nominal. At Penn, if you're on LRAP for 5 years then need to work part-time to raise children, you're kicked out of LRAP and you're in a terrible position because your debt balance will be more than when you graduated. With NYU, you've made significant headway on your loans (forgiveness after 3 years) and you can continue to participate. Almost all of the "shit, life is going to get in the way of 10 years of LRAP-eligible employment" things that make it a risk in the first place are addressed by NYU's plan and mostly unaddressed by Penn.

As schools, they are equal (and thus equally risky at sticker). My point, which I clearly said, was that NYU's LRAP does more to reduce the LRAP-associated risk than the other schools on the list.

You're right in principle but its pretty irrelevant in practice at sticker price since 3 years of IBR payments on a PI salary won't make a dent in the balance regardless of whether someone picks up your amortization. You're 10 year PI or bust either way. If you at any point plan to go part time to have a family, then make sure you can pay off your loans before you do.

FWIW I think that NYU will actually forgive your debt as if you had been making payments on a regular 10-year repayment plan if you exit the plan, not just IBR payments. (At least I think it used to be, wouldn't be that surprised if they changed this for future classes). Still, your basic point remains. Even if your $250,000 debt is now like $180,000 or something, good luck making enough money to pay that back in whatever career you're in after three years as a public interest lawyer.

User avatar
thelawyler
Posts: 902
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:00 pm

Re: NYU vs. Penn vs. rest of lower T-14 vs. UCLA $$ and USC $$$

Postby thelawyler » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:26 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Nelson wrote:
02889 wrote:I said in my original post that most people will say that counting on LRAP is a risk. But while NYU's LRAP is also based on IBR, I hardly think the differences are nominal. At Penn, if you're on LRAP for 5 years then need to work part-time to raise children, you're kicked out of LRAP and you're in a terrible position because your debt balance will be more than when you graduated. With NYU, you've made significant headway on your loans (forgiveness after 3 years) and you can continue to participate. Almost all of the "shit, life is going to get in the way of 10 years of LRAP-eligible employment" things that make it a risk in the first place are addressed by NYU's plan and mostly unaddressed by Penn.

As schools, they are equal (and thus equally risky at sticker). My point, which I clearly said, was that NYU's LRAP does more to reduce the LRAP-associated risk than the other schools on the list.

You're right in principle but its pretty irrelevant in practice at sticker price since 3 years of IBR payments on a PI salary won't make a dent in the balance regardless of whether someone picks up your amortization. You're 10 year PI or bust either way. If you at any point plan to go part time to have a family, then make sure you can pay off your loans before you do.

FWIW I think that NYU will actually forgive your debt as if you had been making payments on a regular 10-year repayment plan if you exit the plan, not just IBR payments. (At least I think it used to be, wouldn't be that surprised if they changed this for future classes). Still, your basic point remains. Even if your $250,000 debt is now like $180,000 or something, good luck making enough money to pay that back in whatever career you're in after three years as a public interest lawyer.

Pretty sure you're right on the LRAP for NYU.

Its actually terrible people spout things like they know it to be 100% fact when it is actually wrong. At least qualify it if you're not sure.

swordking90
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:20 pm

Re: NYU vs. Penn vs. rest of lower T-14 vs. UCLA $$ and USC $$$

Postby swordking90 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:17 am

Thanks everyone for your kind input (and to those few who PM'ed me your detailed opinions)! Do you guys think it's likely that Penn will give me (at least a little) scholarship if I leverage against it with an NYU acceptance (with no scholarship)? Has anyone tried this? Thanks for sharing!




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 3 guests