Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

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VPorell
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Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby VPorell » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:58 am

I've seen lots of advice suggesting that Boalt (UC Berkeley) is not a good choice without any scholarship money. The only rationale that I have seen is the cost/debt load that it would accrue.
What about if you are certain that you want to go into public interest and are planning to enroll in LRAP? In this case, wouldn't it make more sense to go a better ranked school with a top-notch LRAP program over a lower-ranked school (UCLA or USC) with scholarship money, but a worse LRAP program?


(Sorry I can't be more specific with figures, but I don't have scholarship info back yet.)

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Skool
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby Skool » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:28 am

You're taking a big risk.

You're assuming LRAP is going to be there in 13 years. One of the few things Dems and GOP agree on is the Fed gov. is about to get sodomized by students/higher ed as more people try and take advantage of ibr/pslf (most LRAP is tied to this , if you didn't know already).

So what you're looking at is a potential return to the bad ole days where the LRAP payments by law schools are capped and you're still on the hook for significant monthly payments (since the Fed gov may no longer be subsidizing you and the law schools). Take a look at Columbias LRAP program in the section that doesn't stip Fed Pslf/ibr enrollment. That will give an example of what the alternative could be.

Even then, unless you're at H/Y, you have to maintain a pretty strict definition of legal employment for ten years, which is a challenge in itself In order to qualify.

But I'm right there with you in making this decision. So I don't feel like I'm able to say which is better since I'm struggling a little too.

Not sure how I'm going to handle this. I think my plan is to negotiate with the above information as a premise in my argument, come armed with $$$ from other schools in my region/lower T-14 (hopefully) and truly be willing to walk away if my needs aren't met.

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gamerish
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twenty
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:52 am

Keep in mind that a solid 70%+ of "PI" legal jobs don't actually care that much about your school name. There's kind of a "high prestige" and "low prestige" split that occurs -and the local DA's office couldn't care less whether you went to UCLA or Berkeley.

Take a look at Columbias LRAP program in the section that doesn't stip Fed Pslf/ibr enrollment. That will give an example of what the alternative could be.


And Columbia's is a solid contender for best pre-IBR program in the law school universe.

ub3r
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby ub3r » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:03 pm

I'm ignorant, so I'd love some help. What is "ibr/pslf", and why should a law school student like me care? And hopefully without having to write out an economics lecture for me, why is Columbia's good compared to most others?

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twenty
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:26 pm

Go read this thread. It's from 2010, but the information is mostly up to date.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=115245

ub3r
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby ub3r » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:16 pm

Thank you.

k5220
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby k5220 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:31 am

LRAP is a terrifying gamble. You have to let your debt balloon out of control before the big payoff. Scared me too much.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:37 am

IBR/PAYE cap the interest at something, I can't remember what/how exactly.

And if I can't pay off the original number, I certainly can't pay off the larger number, so at a certain point I stop caring.

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twenty
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby twenty » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:16 pm

Maybe not if you're going to rely on PSLF, but the tax bomb at the end of 20/25 years of IBR/PAYE is significant enough to where you should care about the interest cap.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:45 pm

Yeah, to be fair, I should say that was an off-the-cuff remark based on hindsight - since I went to school and I do have the debt, I can't really worry about the interest going up. But no, that's not a good plan when choosing schools.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Feb 21, 2015 12:11 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote: But no, that's not a good plan when choosing schools.

Depends on the amounts. If you're committed to PI I'd go with Boalt for 250k over USC for 150k.

Nomo
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby Nomo » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:32 pm

The LRAPs that are tied to IBR/PAYE (and at this point that's almost all of them) are only providing marginal benefits. Its IBR/PAYE and PSLF that are keeping the payments low and allowing you to wipe away your debt. Boalt LRAP is never paying you more than a few thousand dollars a year.

I think your question is better phrased as, "Why should anyone care about paying full price with PAYE and PSLF available?" The answers are: (1) PSLF and PAYE are likely to get gutted and its unclear exactly how any grandfathering rights might work; (2) You're forced to either work in public service or face 20 years of debt and the tax bomb, and even the most ardent public interest folks might wish they had the flexibility to go into the private sector sometime in the next 13 years (the administrative details really make it closer to 14 years); (3) Its psychologically difficult to have a large and growing debt hanging over your head; (4) The debt can have economic consequences affecting your ability to get a mortgage, auto loan, or even certain credit cards.

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twenty
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby twenty » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:32 pm

In fairness, though;

Nomo wrote:The answers are: (1) PSLF and PAYE are likely to get gutted and its unclear exactly how any grandfathering rights might work;


PSLF is significantly more likely to be gutted than PAYE. Unlike PSLF, borrowers actually enroll currently in PAYE/IBR, and taking this option away would result in some massive defaults pretty much overnight. It's also much harder for the feds to suddenly change the terms on PAYE for similar reasons.

(2) You're forced to either work in public service or face 20 years of debt and the tax bomb, and even the most ardent public interest folks might wish they had the flexibility to go into the private sector sometime in the next 13 years (the administrative details really make it closer to 14 years);


Possibly, but keep in mind that leaving PSLF-eligible employment doesn't "restart the clock", per se, it just pauses it. If, at year 7, a PSLF-dude decides to take private sector employment, he/she can come back and do the last three years of PSLF at some point in the future.

(3) Its psychologically difficult to have a large and growing debt hanging over your head;


Maybe that's exacerbated by the insecurity of the present predicament of PSLF, but it seems like a large number of TLSers in this position are not as concerned about this as one might think.

(4) The debt can have economic consequences affecting your ability to get a mortgage, auto loan, or even certain credit cards.


PAYE/IBR doesn't affect your credit score or your debt/income ratio, so I'm not quite sure how that happens?

Nomo
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby Nomo » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:34 pm

In response to the post above.

I think your caveats to my first two answers are correct. You might be right about the third point, but I think weariness and psychological issues with the heavy and growing debt tend to intensify after people leave school and get worse every years. But for whatever reason nobody seems to care about debt much during school. To your fourth point, lenders look at your debt to income ratio - not just your credit score. The algorithims aren't friendly to a mortgage seeker who already has 250k debt, but only a 60k income. Though there is evidence that some banks will consider overlooking this if you can get in front of a human and explain IBR to them.

James Maa
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby James Maa » Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:44 pm

I remember almost exactly a year ago when law school decisions came out. I was devastated. You see, at the school I attend now, UC Berkeley, there are a variety of students who get admitted, but generally fall into 2 categories. There are students who are happy to make the cut, and then there are students who fall from grace from the Ivy’s. Last year, I fell into the latter half of the population.

After fumbling to get everything together, I made a last-minute decision to attend UC Berkeley from the pressures of my parents. I actually never considered going there. It was always kind of a safety school for me. I’ve done mental calculations in my head, which I would evaluate myself against my peers, figure that I was in the top 10% of my school, and assume, yes, statistically speaking, coming from a rich and well educated school like Stanford, there is somewhat hopeful chance that, yes, I do deserve to go to the Ivy’s.

But that acceptance letter never came, and I dreaded my eventual defeat. I was forced to face the reality — I was not in the top 1% of the world. I was repeatedly told through numerous emails that despite all my struggles, my accomplishments, my friends, and my existence, that I was not special enough. Furthermore, I was going to attend a school that would theoretically be surrounded by thousands of students who look exactly like me.

For the first couple of weeks when I attended UC Berkeley, I socialized, I tried out as many clubs as I could, and I made damn sure that I wouldn’t be like any other Asian there. I was confident, but I was also arrogant as hell. I prided myself knowing that I was better than everyone else because I wasn’t part of the system and because I belonged at a higher-ranked school.

I’ve done things that were immature and were lashing outs from my bruised ego. One of them was that I chose comfort over uncertainty. To me, Friday nights were not interesting enough for me to go out and venture. People were either spending Friday nights partying or staying indoors studying. I chose to not associate with either stereotype and just lounged in my apartment. I would surf Reddit sometimes, play guitar on others, but generally, I felt too suffocated to do homework, but too repulsed to go out and party.

I also didn’t expend the effort to make close friends. My schedule is packed. I’m busy, how would I have time to make friends? Another consideration was that it was hard to find someone as intellectually stimulating as me. People talk about how excited they are to be at UCB, about how difficult the Rule Against Perpetuoties was, and I just sit there, thinking, “Wow, how did I end up with people like them?” It was an immature thought, but it was understandable in hindsight.

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kjartan
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby kjartan » Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:49 pm

James Maa wrote:I remember almost exactly a year ago when law school decisions came out. I was devastated. You see, at the school I attend now, UC Berkeley, there are a variety of students who get admitted, but generally fall into 2 categories. There are students who are happy to make the cut, and then there are students who fall from grace from the Ivy’s. Last year, I fell into the latter half of the population.

After fumbling to get everything together, I made a last-minute decision to attend UC Berkeley from the pressures of my parents. I actually never considered going there. It was always kind of a safety school for me. I’ve done mental calculations in my head, which I would evaluate myself against my peers, figure that I was in the top 10% of my school, and assume, yes, statistically speaking, coming from a rich and well educated school like Stanford, there is somewhat hopeful chance that, yes, I do deserve to go to the Ivy’s.

But that acceptance letter never came, and I dreaded my eventual defeat. I was forced to face the reality — I was not in the top 1% of the world. I was repeatedly told through numerous emails that despite all my struggles, my accomplishments, my friends, and my existence, that I was not special enough. Furthermore, I was going to attend a school that would theoretically be surrounded by thousands of students who look exactly like me.

For the first couple of weeks when I attended UC Berkeley, I socialized, I tried out as many clubs as I could, and I made damn sure that I wouldn’t be like any other Asian there. I was confident, but I was also arrogant as hell. I prided myself knowing that I was better than everyone else because I wasn’t part of the system and because I belonged at a higher-ranked school.

I’ve done things that were immature and were lashing outs from my bruised ego. One of them was that I chose comfort over uncertainty. To me, Friday nights were not interesting enough for me to go out and venture. People were either spending Friday nights partying or staying indoors studying. I chose to not associate with either stereotype and just lounged in my apartment. I would surf Reddit sometimes, play guitar on others, but generally, I felt too suffocated to do homework, but too repulsed to go out and party.

I also didn’t expend the effort to make close friends. My schedule is packed. I’m busy, how would I have time to make friends? Another consideration was that it was hard to find someone as intellectually stimulating as me. People talk about how excited they are to be at UCB, about how difficult the Rule Against Perpetuoties was, and I just sit there, thinking, “Wow, how did I end up with people like them?” It was an immature thought, but it was understandable in hindsight.

KYS

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goldenflash19
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby goldenflash19 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:02 am

James Maa wrote:I remember almost exactly a year ago when law school decisions came out. I was devastated. You see, at the school I attend now, UC Berkeley, there are a variety of students who get admitted, but generally fall into 2 categories. There are students who are happy to make the cut, and then there are students who fall from grace from the Ivy’s. Last year, I fell into the latter half of the population.

After fumbling to get everything together, I made a last-minute decision to attend UC Berkeley from the pressures of my parents. I actually never considered going there. It was always kind of a safety school for me. I’ve done mental calculations in my head, which I would evaluate myself against my peers, figure that I was in the top 10% of my school, and assume, yes, statistically speaking, coming from a rich and well educated school like Stanford, there is somewhat hopeful chance that, yes, I do deserve to go to the Ivy’s.

But that acceptance letter never came, and I dreaded my eventual defeat. I was forced to face the reality — I was not in the top 1% of the world. I was repeatedly told through numerous emails that despite all my struggles, my accomplishments, my friends, and my existence, that I was not special enough. Furthermore, I was going to attend a school that would theoretically be surrounded by thousands of students who look exactly like me.

For the first couple of weeks when I attended UC Berkeley, I socialized, I tried out as many clubs as I could, and I made damn sure that I wouldn’t be like any other Asian there. I was confident, but I was also arrogant as hell. I prided myself knowing that I was better than everyone else because I wasn’t part of the system and because I belonged at a higher-ranked school.

I’ve done things that were immature and were lashing outs from my bruised ego. One of them was that I chose comfort over uncertainty. To me, Friday nights were not interesting enough for me to go out and venture. People were either spending Friday nights partying or staying indoors studying. I chose to not associate with either stereotype and just lounged in my apartment. I would surf Reddit sometimes, play guitar on others, but generally, I felt too suffocated to do homework, but too repulsed to go out and party.

I also didn’t expend the effort to make close friends. My schedule is packed. I’m busy, how would I have time to make friends? Another consideration was that it was hard to find someone as intellectually stimulating as me. People talk about how excited they are to be at UCB, about how difficult the Rule Against Perpetuoties was, and I just sit there, thinking, “Wow, how did I end up with people like them?” It was an immature thought, but it was understandable in hindsight.


If you never posted again on this site, that would be great. Enjoy apathy and a miserable life of regret....

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BruceWayne
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby BruceWayne » Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:15 am

Does anyone have any actual experience with the mortgage IBR/PLSF thing? It seems like you'd have a better shot at explaining how it works and getting some slack from a credit union than a big bank. But even then, I don't see lenders caring that much about this sort of program. But if anyone has any anecdotes to the contrary please share.

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havemercylorde
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby havemercylorde » Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:32 am

OP, please reach out to people pursuing this track at Berkeley and recent alums, as well as people in LRAP programs at other schools. A lot of this is really, really bad advice. Several of the top schools offering LRAP are guaranteeing funding regardless of what the federal gov't does with the program. (Big retroactive cuts are relatively unlikely.)

ETA: I don't know exactly what Berk's guarantee is but at the very minimum reach out to the school and ask.

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Skool
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby Skool » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:23 pm

havemercylorde wrote:OP, please reach out to people pursuing this track at Berkeley and recent alums, as well as people in LRAP programs at other schools. A lot of this is really, really bad advice. Several of the top schools offering LRAP are guaranteeing funding regardless of what the federal gov't does with the program. (Big retroactive cuts are relatively unlikely.)

ETA: I don't know exactly what Berk's guarantee is but at the very minimum reach out to the school and ask.
Sure, certainly reach out to Berk, but take what they say with a grain of salt.

You should ask yourself, how can they promise me guaranteed funding (presumably at the current level of support), when their ability to fund students is predicated on the Federal government's subsidy, and the schools have no control over whether or not the Federal Government removes the subsidy.

I also agree that retroactive removal of PSLF for people who already have loans is unlikely, but it's entirely possible that the Feds could say in the next year, any new loans you take out after July 1, 2016 will no longer be subject to PSLF (and thus the most generous forgiveness formulations in LRAP). This would be similar to what happened a few years ago when they eliminated subsidized federal loans for graduate students. It's not like people who made the decision to go to Law school with the idea of depending on subsidized loans could continue accessing new subsidized loans (and the better interest deals) through to the end of graduation.

So you could find yourself the summer before 2L with the first third of your loans subject to PSLF, but the other 2/3 not (or subject to some alternative plan).

I truly don't believe anyone knows what's going to happen, and I don't think law deans anywhere are in a position to make any sort of promises, unless they have a concrete plan to raise money and cover the differences in forgiveness should changes occur. Take everything these people say with a grain of salt because ultimately, they're more than willing to leave you holding the bag.

So again, going at sticker with LRAP still looks like a big risk.

Edit: I guess it would have been better for me to say, even if they did maintain the same levels of funding for IBR/PAYE, who cares if PSLF is gutted? That's really where the rubber meets the road in getting rid of your debt. Unless they are planning to take over the Federal governments share of PSLF, promising to make your IBR/PAYE payments is empty.

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twenty
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby twenty » Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:33 pm

BruceWayne wrote:Does anyone have any actual experience with the mortgage IBR/PLSF thing? It seems like you'd have a better shot at explaining how it works and getting some slack from a credit union than a big bank. But even then, I don't see lenders caring that much about this sort of program. But if anyone has any anecdotes to the contrary please share.


I've talked with a handful of industry people about this. Conventional is catch as catch can, with the vast majority landing in the "we look at payments, not total debt" category. FHA and VA loans will look at actual payments based on IBR documentation. USDA loans will NOT as of 2014, and if you have a zero minimum payment (which is the case for IBR/et al.) they'll look at a percentage of your total loan.

edit> Also, keep in mind that larger lenders may in fact be more likely than a small credit union because they've seen this kind of situation before. Underwriting is a pretty uniform process at most places.

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twenty
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby twenty » Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:38 pm

Skool wrote:I also agree that retroactive removal of PSLF for people who already have loans is unlikely, but it's entirely possible that the Feds could say in the next year, any new loans you take out after July 1, 2016 will no longer be subject to PSLF (and thus the most generous forgiveness formulations in LRAP). This would be similar to what happened a few years ago when they eliminated subsidized federal loans for graduate students. It's not like people who made the decision to go to Law school with the idea of depending on subsidized loans could continue accessing new subsidized loans (and the better interest deals) through to the end of graduation.

So you could find yourself the summer before 2L with the first third of your loans subject to PSLF, but the other 2/3 not (or subject to some alternative plan).


This is actually really insightful. For (hopefully-not) future generations reading TLS; if you find yourself in this situation, drop out.

Nomo
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby Nomo » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:13 am

havemercylorde wrote:OP, please reach out to people pursuing this track at Berkeley and recent alums, as well as people in LRAP programs at other schools. A lot of this is really, really bad advice. Several of the top schools offering LRAP are guaranteeing funding regardless of what the federal gov't does with the program. (Big retroactive cuts are relatively unlikely.)

ETA: I don't know exactly what Berk's guarantee is but at the very minimum reach out to the school and ask.


If you can get a guarantee in writing that's great. But I don't know of any schools that are guaranteeing to give you any more money than they give you under the current plan. So at many schools they might make you're entire payment if you're income us 50k, but that whole payment is only like 250 bucks a month. Without IBR that whole payment might suddenly be $3,400 per month. Make sure they're explicitly guaranteeing to make that gigantic payment. Otherwise you're going to have to find $3,150 a month yourself.

hayoungiee
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Re: Boalt at sticker with LRAP?

Postby hayoungiee » Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:05 pm

Going on a bit of a tangent but -- is Boalt @ sticker worth it at all? I saw a thread going back to ~2010, but I was wondering if anyone had any more up-to-date opinions on this? I'm asking because I was admitted, but I'm debating whether I should go to Berk or a more regional school with more $$$.




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