PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

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twenty
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PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:13 pm

Okay. Look.

I enjoy prestige whoring as much as anyone else, but people need to stop recommending HYS > T14+full ride because omfg, HYS LRAPs are just so great. They're not. In fact, they're (comparatively) fairly terrible. Let's stop misleading prospective students with this crap.

For the sake of discussion, let's assume a prospective student has a full ride to Michigan (and will cover the rest with savings), will be paying close to sticker at all of HYS (250k COA), and also got into Columbia, but also at sticker. We'll also say for the sake of discussion, the PI job the HYSC grads land is a super awesome DOJ spot with upward mobility to a GS-14, and the Michigan grad lands a cool, but less prestigious spot with HUD with upward mobility to a GS-13.

Don't worry, we'll play with less ludicrous numbers later.

The Michigan student graduates with no debt. He doesn't need LRAP.
Year 1) 51k salary, no debt payment.
Year 2) 62k salary, no debt payment.
Year 3) 74k salary, no debt payment.
Year 4) 89k salary, no debt payment.
Year 5) 92k salary, no debt payment.
(at this point a HUD attorney with no debt would probably roll to a boutique/policy gig, but suppose he slugs up the steps):
Year 6) 94k salary, no debt payment.
Year 7) 98k salary, no debt payment.
Year 8) 100k salary, no debt payment.
Year 9-10) 102k salary, no debt payment.
Over ten years, the student has made $864k, and has made no payments

Now, the Columbia student gets DOJ, and needs LRAP. Columbia's LRAP kicks in the entire PAYE payment up to a 71k salary, and then the student more or less pays the rest of it. In reality, Columbia pays a prorated amount, but the difference between the numbers is about 1k, and I'm too lazy to prorate the numbers myself:
Year 1) 62k salary, no debt payment.
Year 2) 74k salary, ($)5.5k in payments.
Year 3) 89k salary, 7k in payments.
Year 4) 105k salary, 8.7k in payments.
Year 5) 108k salary, 9k payments,
(this continues up to...)
Year 6-10, avg. 115k salary, 10k in payments.
Over ten years, the student has earned ~900k, and has paid 75k in payments.

Now the Harvard student gets DOJ and, of course, needs LRAP. Harvard's LRAP covers everything up to 46k a year, which means that even in year 1 at 62k/yr, our HLS grad will be in the highest LRAP bracket.
Year 1) 62k salary, 5.2k in payments.
Year 2) 74k salary, 10k in payments.
Year 3) 89k salary, 16k in payments.
...the fack?

At this point, an H student goes, "wtf, I'm paying literally double of what the Columbia grad in the desk over from me is paying." That is because the Columbia grad is on PAYE. See, HYS LRAPs are not PAYE-contingent, which means that in order to participate, the student must be on a standard repayment plan. Even though both LRAPs allow the student's loans to be forgiven at the end of the ten year period, the monthly payment is more than twice the amount of a straight-up PAYE payment. When all is said and done, the HLS grad will have made approximately 160k in payments, unless the HLS grad decides to bite the bullet, switch his payments over to PAYE, and join the ranks of everyone else trodding down the PSLF path.

Yale's is similar, and is slightly better for the early years of a PI career, but this difference quickly becomes marginalized in the upper salary ranges. On LIPP, an HLS grad will max out at $1,200 + .4*(salary-52k). A YLS COAP participant will be in the top bracket at 80k, but with $6,750 + .6*(salary-80k). That means at 100k/yr salary, a YLS participant will pay $18,750 a year in payments, while an HLS grad will pay $20,400. In either event, that's significantly more than the Columbia/PAYE payment at $8,200 a year. By the fifth year, HLS does offer a "longevity allowance" which is approximately 5k a year, but if you're still in LIPP by the fifth year, you're doing something very wrong.

But that's not all. If you come in with any preexisting cash assets, HLS' LRAP will reduce your award amount based on the time you've been out of undergrad and the time you've spent working outside of undergrad. More details can be found here: http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/sfs/lipp/assets.html

- HLS and YLS claim to forgive 30k of outside student debt with its LRAP forgiveness, but PSLF subsumes all (federal) outside student debt.
- HLS and YLS have no participation window, SLS has a five-year window, but PAYE/PSLF has no participation window.
- HLS and YLS claim to cover federal clerkships, even though these will be covered under not only PAYE/PSLF, but almost all other T14 LRAPs. SLS conditionally covers federal clerkships.
- SLS does not cover academia. PAYE/PSLF definitely covers academia.

Of the three HYS LRAPs, SLS' is unquestioningly the worst. Exceeding 80k puts you in a $9,750 + 70%*(income-80k) block, which means for someone making 100k, your yearly payment is 23.7k. Leaving SLS' LRAP means you lose time spent in eligibility, which means that the year you were expecting to be eligible... well... guess what, you're not. Enjoy whatever interest accumulated on your loans, because you're going to be paying that bitch back in full.

Furthermore, all of HYS LRAPs factor in your spouse's salary. Many T14 LRAPs do not, and even if they did, you block out in a few years to where you're on straight-PAYE, and that certainly doesn't factor in your spouse's salary (as long as you file separately).

To be fair, there are three situations where HYS' LRAPs could presumably be argued as better than PAYE-contingent LRAPs. First, if you only plan on doing PI for <2 years and then immediately transferring into biglaw (which is a dumb idea, and you should have taken the full ride at the T14 regardless), your loans aren't accumulating interest because HYS is paying it. This is different from PAYE, where your loans go all neg-am on you and capitalize as well.

Secondly, if you're pursuing a LONG Ph.D post law school, HLS/YLS are kind of cool (SLS is not). You're making no money as a Ph.D student, so you weren't going to make any payments anyway, but now your timeframe is 10 years on HLS/YLS rather than 20 years on PAYE/non-PSLF. Plus, if you graduate in, like, 7 years, your overall debt will be substantially lower than it would have been on PAYE.

Finally, if you want to open up your own firm, all of HYS cover private firm startups. But then why the frack did you go to HYS if you wanted to open a shitelaw firm? But I guess 10 years in repayment > 20 years, probably.

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ph14
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby ph14 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:17 pm

This is a nice contribution to TLS. Thanks for sharing. Can we get someone to fact check the OP?

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twenty
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:22 pm

ph14 wrote:This is a nice contribution to TLS. Thanks for sharing. Can we get someone to fact check the OP?


I feel badly because you're clearly being a chill bro about me ragging on HLS.

For what it's worth, I would still strongly recommend HYS to anyone interested in prestigious PI (even with LRAP woes), because HYS' exceptional placement in prestigious PI probably outweighs their sucky LRAPs.

Also, HYS >>>> lots of other schools for post-graduate funding in hard-to-hit jobs like direct legal services and human rights gigs.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:30 pm

I really think people underestimate the limiting aspects of LRAP/PSLF. Yes, your debt is paid, unless you change career paths or drop out, etc. I'm glad someone else is paying my loans, but 8 years from now if I'm thinking about doing something different, I can't. It's also just a psychological burden. I may not be paying loans but every time I check my credit I see a six figure loan balance and it freaks me out. PI people should really consider a full ride, and if they are deadset on an elite job that takes an elite degree, really think long and hard about whether that is what they really want and for how long. It may open some doors but it also traps you.

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twenty
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:33 pm

worldtraveler wrote:I really think people underestimate the limiting aspects of LRAP/PSLF. Yes, your debt is paid, unless you change career paths or drop out, etc. I'm glad someone else is paying my loans, but 8 years from now if I'm thinking about doing something different, I can't. It's also just a psychological burden. I may not be paying loans but every time I check my credit I see a six figure loan balance and it freaks me out. PI people should really consider a full ride, and if they are deadset on an elite job that takes an elite degree, really think long and hard about whether that is what they really want and for how long. It may open some doors but it also traps you.


I couldn't agree more. That's why I included my analysis on Michigan to show that even if a student plans on using PSLF, you'll still be 75k+ richer if you take the best LRAP available -- the one where you don't have any debt to begin with.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby Nelson » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:34 pm

Not everyone who gets into HLS gets a full ride to Michigan. Bad strawman is bad. Actually the whole hypo is bad because it assumes fedgov, but whatever.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:36 pm

Nelson wrote:Not everyone who gets into HLS gets a full ride to Michigan. Bad strawman is bad. Actually the whole hypo is bad because it assumes fedgov, but whatever.


If you have HYS numbers you will have a full ride option somewhere in the T14. If you don't...you are a special snowflake and something weird happened with your application.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby ph14 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:37 pm

Nelson wrote:Not everyone who gets into HLS gets a full ride to Michigan. Bad strawman is bad. Actually the whole hypo is bad because it assumes fedgov, but whatever.


The point of the post is to show why the OP thinks that picking HYS over a T14 with a full ride (for example, Michigan) on the grounds that HYS have amazing LRAPs is, in his opinion, an unpersuasive argument.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby Nelson » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:40 pm

ph14 wrote:
Nelson wrote:Not everyone who gets into HLS gets a full ride to Michigan. Bad strawman is bad. Actually the whole hypo is bad because it assumes fedgov, but whatever.


You're bad. The point of the post is to show why the OP thinks that picking HYS over a T14 with a full ride (for example, Michigan) on the grounds that HYS have amazing LRAPs is, in his opinion, an unpersuasive argument.

Sorry I called you out on your great clerkship advice, but the OP is still a strawman. Nobody tells people to take HYS over a T14 solely because of LRAP. And there are other benefits of the HYS LRAP's that aren't mentioned.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:42 pm

Nelson wrote:Actually the whole hypo is bad because it assumes fedgov, but whatever.


I knew someone would pick up on this. The reason I went for fedgov specifically is because there's a clear "pecking order" with prestige (i.e, DOJ/DOS/etc. go up to 14, most of the lower tier agencies go up to 13) which takes into account the financial incentive involved in prestigious PI, which is probably better than non-prestigious PI.

You can literally take out fedgov and replace HUD with a DA's office (the salary structure is very similar) and DOJ with a permanent clerkship gig/ACLU/whatever and the point remains.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:42 pm

And there are other benefits of the HYS LRAP's that aren't mentioned.


Oooh, let's have them.

edit>

Nobody tells people to take HYS over a T14 solely because of LRAP.


And before you go around calling strawman, try dropping your own.

Though incidentally, this post was spawned by two posters who, in the last three days, advocated HYS over CCN with full rides because of "the financial security of LRAP."
Last edited by twenty on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby Otunga » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:46 pm

Nelson wrote:
ph14 wrote:
Nelson wrote:Not everyone who gets into HLS gets a full ride to Michigan. Bad strawman is bad. Actually the whole hypo is bad because it assumes fedgov, but whatever.


You're bad. The point of the post is to show why the OP thinks that picking HYS over a T14 with a full ride (for example, Michigan) on the grounds that HYS have amazing LRAPs is, in his opinion, an unpersuasive argument.

Sorry I called you out on your great clerkship advice, but the OP is still a strawman. Nobody tells people to take HYS over a T14 solely because of LRAP. And there are other benefits of the HYS LRAP's that aren't mentioned.


He did acknowledge the HYS advantages for prestigious PI and whatever. Additionally, the post should be helpful for any PI savants.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby NYstate » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:50 pm

twenty wrote:
And there are other benefits of the HYS LRAP's that aren't mentioned.


Oooh, let's have them.


You don't have to have a job at graduation. You can come in and out of the program. Lots of PI people get jobs in public service well after graduation.

PAYE is very new. I know there was push back.against schools using PAYE amounts because their ( the schools )contribution would be less.
Last edited by NYstate on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby Nelson » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:52 pm

NYstate wrote:
twenty wrote:
And there are other benefits of the HYS LRAP's that aren't mentioned.


Oooh, let's have them.


You don't have to have a job at graduation. You can come in and out of the program. Lots of PI people get jobs in public service well after graduation.


TCR

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby NYstate » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:57 pm

Nelson wrote:
NYstate wrote:
twenty wrote:
And there are other benefits of the HYS LRAP's that aren't mentioned.


Oooh, let's have them.


You don't have to have a job at graduation. You can come in and out of the program. Lots of PI people get jobs in public service well after graduation.


TCR


Other schools may allow joining the program after graduation, but I think Harvard gives the most time to join.

I may look at this more tomorrow.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby ph14 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:58 pm

Nelson wrote:
ph14 wrote:
Nelson wrote:Not everyone who gets into HLS gets a full ride to Michigan. Bad strawman is bad. Actually the whole hypo is bad because it assumes fedgov, but whatever.


You're bad. The point of the post is to show why the OP thinks that picking HYS over a T14 with a full ride (for example, Michigan) on the grounds that HYS have amazing LRAPs is, in his opinion, an unpersuasive argument.

Sorry I called you out on your great clerkship advice, but the OP is still a strawman. Nobody tells people to take HYS over a T14 solely because of LRAP. And there are other benefits of the HYS LRAP's that aren't mentioned.


You're right, LRAP isn't an important consideration for people in deciding between schools at all.

bearsfan23 wrote:If you're considering Harvard over the Ruby at Chicago, you honestly have zero business even attending law school in the first place. Seriously, if your decision-making skills are that poor, its pretty impossible to help you. Plus you're probably going to be an annoying gunner, so there's that.

Let's see - go to Chicago for free + a stipend or go to a MARGINALLY better school for 250k of debt? Tough choice

The ONLY consideration should be Yale vs the Ruby at Chicago - purely b/c Yale's incredible LRAP program means debt is pretty much irrelevant.


zhenders wrote:Cross-reference typical federal PI salary with Yale's LRAP. If you spend the first handful of years making under 80k, you're going to be subsidized pretty heavily at Yale, greatly lessening the cost disparity.


Vincent wrote:Placement aside, why has no one mentioned Yale's insanely good LRAP yet?


AllTheLawz wrote:This one is pretty clear cut for H. LIPP>>LRAP, H placement >> Berkeley placement. If 100% dedicated to PI the finaid offers are pretty irrelevant (especially since you probably can't afford a house in the bay anytime soon).


2014 wrote:I don't think this is a "can't go wrong with either, go with your heart" scenario, I think there is a firmly correct decision here and that decision is the Ruby.

Both schools have good job placement, both have good LRAP programs, and both can get you to the east coast just fine. The thing is you are targeting a series of competitive jobs which cuts Chicago's way in this instance for two reasons.

1. Chicago has a smaller student body and a large percent going to markets you don't care about (California/Texas/Maybe Chicago?) and so instead of competing with dozens of your classmates, many of which will not be K-JD (and so might have better demonstrated connections to PI orgs), you are competing with other schools. This allows the school to put relatively more resources into you at Chicago. This is especially true for Academia, in my experience there are less than a dozen people who are even interested at Chicago and so the faculty is extremely active in helping those who are.

2. Your best intention is to take advantage of LRAP i imagine and while that might seem like an equalizer, you can't underestimate the effect of having an extra $100-$250k of debt hanging over your head. It creates a lot of pressure to take certain kinds of jobs and to stay in them even if you aren't happy. Graduating almost debt free from as good of a school as Chicago gives you huge freedom.


There are a range of specific jobs where H might hold an advantage over Chi and if you are targeting one of those that is the only situation where I might back off my opinion, but it sounds like you want to preserve a large range of options in multiple cities, and financial flexibility is so helpful for that.


wtrc wrote:
I've been thinking about this a lot, especially since some schollies are starting to roll in strongly.

Pretending Yale doesn't exist (or assuming I don't get Yale)... I would consider a Columbia scholly or maybe some others. But emphasis on the "consider." I don't see myself going into biglaw, at least long-term, and HLS has an amazing LRAP program. I'm not fully decided, but I think I might take the arguably irrational choice to take a lot of debt (I'll be paying entirely through loans, and almost certainly won't qualify for grants), in order to not have the "what if" hanging over me forever. It'll be tough, and I will consider a nice scholly at CCN or even some others, but in the end I'll probably end up at HLS. I feel like I worked too hard throughout school and with the LSAT and it might make me make an irrational choice to have the Harvard on my diploma. Idk....


worldtraveler wrote:Either go completely for free or go T14 with LRAP/IBR. Some debt and no job prospects is scarier than lots of debt, likely job, and LRAP, (IMO).

Have you applied to UCLA/USC?


0913djp wrote:Just wanted to say thanks for this thread. I am going the T-14 & LRAP route (at a T6) route so hoping to follow these steps to attain something solid.

Question: How helpful is clerking before entering PI-related organization work (ACLU or ASA/PD)?

Thanks.


tofuspeedstar wrote:
koalacity wrote:SLS is my #1 by a significant margin for several reasons. I want to do PI, so debt is scary, but S has a really good LRAP.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:00 pm

Berkeley gives you 3 years in which to join. I think most others are similar, and also allow you to come in and out of LRAP (PSLF as a whole lets you do that).

But again, the question is whether it is worth it to have to deal with that if you have a full ride at a non-YHS T14, such as Michigan. It might not be for everyone. IMO, if that full ride school has post grad funding, just take it and don't look back.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby TigerDude » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:01 pm

1. Should have used savings to lower COA at CLS & HLS if you're going to do that at MI. So 185 or so vs 250.

2. Neglects PAYE taxable income.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby NYstate » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:04 pm

twenty wrote:
And there are other benefits of the HYS LRAP's that aren't mentioned.


Oooh, let's have them.

edit>

Nobody tells people to take HYS over a T14 solely because of LRAP.


And before you go around calling strawman, try dropping your own.

Though incidentally, this post was spawned by two posters who, in the last three days, advocated HYS over CCN with full rides because of "the financial security of LRAP."


The federal government's actions to provide debt relief for students is only within the past few years. Maybe people aren't as aware of those programs. Before PAYE and ibr, no programs existed to help l o w income students make payments. Schools were filling a gap the federal government has now worked on closing.

But the Harvard grad can do PAYE and PSLF without any contribution from Harvard if that works out better.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:06 pm

Nelson wrote:
NYstate wrote:
twenty wrote:
And there are other benefits of the HYS LRAP's that aren't mentioned.


Oooh, let's have them.


You don't have to have a job at graduation. You can come in and out of the program. Lots of PI people get jobs in public service well after graduation.


TCR


That's not a unique advantage to HYS' LRAP because even without any LRAP assistance, you're still financially better off going in and out of PAYE with the expectation of eventually using PSLF (and if you're not, you're comparing two different scenarios, because HYS' won't help you there either). If anything, SLS in particular mishandles coming in and out of the program because SLS won't let you play with them anymore past year 7 if you bail, and you only have a five year eligibility window at that.

Furthermore, there is nothing stopping a grad that intends to use PSLF from working in the private sector for a couple years and then coming back without access to their school's LRAP.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:09 pm

1. Should have used savings to lower COA at CLS & HLS if you're going to do that at MI. So 185 or so vs 250.


No, because you're going to be relying on LRAP/PAYE/PSLF if you do HYSC (for public interest, of course) to the extent it literally does not matter. Even if you do have savings to cover total COA, you'd be stupid if you used them at HYSC.

2. Neglects PAYE taxable income.


Not a thing on PSLF.

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twenty
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:13 pm

But the Harvard grad can do PAYE and PSLF without any contribution from Harvard if that works out better.


It does, but at the point where you're disregarding your school's entire LRAP program (because you can't participate if you're on PAYE), the viability of your school's LRAP shouldn't factor into your decision to attend there over another T14 on a full ride, for instance.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby TigerDude » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:16 pm

twenty wrote:
1. Should have used savings to lower COA at CLS & HLS if you're going to do that at MI. So 185 or so vs 250.


No, because you're going to be relying on LRAP/PAYE/PSLF if you do HYSC (for public interest, of course) to the extent it literally does not matter. Even if you do have savings to cover total COA, you'd be stupid if you used them at HYSC.

2. Neglects PAYE taxable income.


Not a thing on PSLF.


1. It reduces payments by 25%

2. You were using PAYE I thought for CLS.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby NYstate » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:19 pm

So the federal government may have eliminated the need for school funded loan payment assistance, but why does that make Harvard a bad choice? It just levels the playing field. No debt is obviously better but with the federal government programs it's even easier to repay your loans.

You used to lose IBR eligibility ( I think permanently) once you were above a certain salary. Harvard's program was better than that, if I recall correctly.

The thing is with PAYE and PSLF, the public is funding your massive debt. Some people would prefer to.require the schools pay more.

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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby NYstate » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:20 pm

twenty wrote:
But the Harvard grad can do PAYE and PSLF without any contribution from Harvard if that works out better.


It does, but at the point where you're disregarding your school's entire LRAP program (because you can't participate if you're on PAYE), the viability of your school's LRAP shouldn't factor into your decision to attend there over another T14 on a full ride, for instance.


No, but it shouldn't matter if other programs will pick up that debt. It just means the school isn't paying. Also, not everyone is PAYE eligible. Also.some schools(Harvard) include all debt from school including undergrad (30,000) and even bar loans (10,000)in making their calculation. Harvard doesn't required PSLF jobs.

Again, the idea that the schools were requiring students to be on PAYE because the school contribution becomes minimal has been debated.
Last edited by NYstate on Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:32 pm, edited 4 times in total.




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