LRAP question

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cthulhudaddy

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LRAP question

Postby cthulhudaddy » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:30 pm

Hey gang

Future law school applicant here, taking the LSAT in Feb. I’ll be applying to law schools in Fall 2018. While I know that goal #1 right now needs to be knocking the LSAT out of the park, I’m also spending some of my non-studying hours thinking about financing my degree, and when it might be best to take the $ and run. This question concerns LRAP programs. I’m pretty dead-set on working for the government, nonprofits, or public interest firms. That being the case, to what extent does financial aid matter if the programs to which I’m accepted have decent LRAP programs? Obviously a PI scholarship to a top school would be great, but I’d like to consider what to do in the absence of $. Note: I’m thinking Columbia/NYU, as I live in NYC and I’m not trying to leave (I’m married, and my wife has a good career here).

Potentially relevant tidbits about me: I already owe a little over $200k in federal student loans—I was on a different academic path until a couple of years ago, and now I’m paying it down a bit before I jump into a legal career. My UGGPA is 3.62, I already have an advanced degree from an Ivy League, and I have several years worth of public interest experience already (mostly to do with labor and debt-relief).

Any advice would be much appreciated! :)

cavalier1138

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Re: LRAP question

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:17 pm

Both Columbia and NYU have excellent LRAPs. Columbia's is a bit stronger, because you get to choose whether to use their non-PSLF plan, but that's the only substantive difference. Most LRAPs outside of HYSCCN are 100% attached to PSLF, but most T13 schools have stated that if PSLF is discontinued, they will go back to their old pre-PSLF program.

cthulhudaddy wrote:I already owe a little over $200k in federal student loans


This is a much bigger issue. Regardless of where you go, LRAP is only good for law school debt. I'm not sure how you'd have to deal with the IBR/PAYE repayment schedule with two different debt loads.

GreenEggs

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Re: LRAP question

Postby GreenEggs » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:23 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Both Columbia and NYU have excellent LRAPs. Columbia's is a bit stronger, because you get to choose whether to use their non-PSLF plan, but that's the only substantive difference. Most LRAPs outside of HYSCCN are 100% attached to PSLF, but most T13 schools have stated that if PSLF is discontinued, they will go back to their old pre-PSLF program.

cthulhudaddy wrote:I already owe a little over $200k in federal student loans


This is a much bigger issue. Regardless of where you go, LRAP is only good for law school debt. I'm not sure how you'd have to deal with the IBR/PAYE repayment schedule with two different debt loads.


More than choosing, the non-PSLF at CLS goes to 100k before contribution, it's 80k at NYU.

But more importantly, NYU requires a minimum of 15k in contributions during law school by the student. 15k is pretty substantive to me at least...
Last edited by GreenEggs on Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

cavalier1138

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Re: LRAP question

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:50 pm

Kummel wrote:But more importantly, NYU requires a minimum of 15k in contributions during law school by the student. 15k is pretty substantive to me at least...


Just to clarify this, because it's an oft-misunderstood system:

The student contribution does not mean that all students have to literally pay $15k during school. If you take out the full amount available to you in loans every year, that $15k just refers to the portion of your loan balance that won't be covered by LRAP. If it's that big a concern, take a firm position in 2L and pay it off early. But it's really not that big a deal.

cthulhudaddy

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Re: LRAP question

Postby cthulhudaddy » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:55 pm

Kummel wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Both Columbia and NYU have excellent LRAPs. Columbia's is a bit stronger, because you get to choose whether to use their non-PSLF plan, but that's the only substantive difference. Most LRAPs outside of HYSCCN are 100% attached to PSLF, but most T13 schools have stated that if PSLF is discontinued, they will go back to their old pre-PSLF program.

cthulhudaddy wrote:I already owe a little over $200k in federal student loans


This is a much bigger issue. Regardless of where you go, LRAP is only good for law school debt. I'm not sure how you'd have to deal with the IBR/PAYE repayment schedule with two different debt loads.


More than choosing, the non-PSLF at CLS goes to 100k before contribution, it's 80k at NYU.

But more importantly, NYU requires a minimum of 15k in contributions during law school by the student. 15k is pretty substantive to me at least...


Word, thanks for the advice y’all. Yeah, I was initially just planning to hunt for the most amount of $ from Fordham or Cardozo (and pray for a PI scholly from Columbia/NYU), or maybe even CUNY. But when I read on Columbia’s LRAP website that it’s possible to pay for the entirety of debt accrued at CLS with their LRAP (about 7 years, I believe?) I got to wondering if it’s as good a deal as it sounds, and if it’d be worth accepting a hypothetical offer from Columbia/NYU with little to know money, and then paying the $200k off after LRAP’s taken care of my law school loans. I know my fate is sealed with the $200k, but I reckon once I’m far enough along into my legal career that my LRAP’s taken care of law school loans, I may be in a good enough position to take on the $200k, even I switch to private practice after some time in the public sector. And I reckon I’d be on IBR the whole time, as well.

GreenEggs

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Re: LRAP question

Postby GreenEggs » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:37 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Kummel wrote:But more importantly, NYU requires a minimum of 15k in contributions during law school by the student. 15k is pretty substantive to me at least...


Just to clarify this, because it's an oft-misunderstood system:

The student contribution does not mean that all students have to literally pay $15k during school. If you take out the full amount available to you in loans every year, that $15k just refers to the portion of your loan balance that won't be covered by LRAP. If it's that big a concern, take a firm position in 2L and pay it off early. But it's really not that big a deal.


Except you also have to contribute the gross excess of 15k of any summer earnings too so if you got a firm job (which lol at that suggestion to begin with) you would end up with a net loss for the summer after taxes if the purpose is to pay off the 15k contribution.

15k is a lot of money if you don’t have it and compounded over 10 years is a lot more.

It’s a good LRAP program but definitely a substantive $$$ difference compared to CLS
Last edited by GreenEggs on Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

albanach

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Re: LRAP question

Postby albanach » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:12 pm

Two things. First, you think you are set on public service. What if you find a different interest in law school? What if you like criminal law and after several years with a high profile PD or Prosecutor's office, a boutique firm offers you a position? What if you get a job with a large non-profit but get laid off during an economic downturn that affects donations?

Secondly, LRAP may be income restricted. If you work for a large 501(c)(3) but make in the low six figures, not having $300k of debt might be nice. Or maybe you'll earn $50k but get married to someone making $120k. Now your partner's income could impact your LRAP eligibility. You probably would prefer not to have to delay marriage because of student loans.

There's probably countless other scenarios where high school debt could negatively affect your life later. Remember, you're trying to look out fourteen years into the future; who knows what will happen.

cavalier1138

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Re: LRAP question

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:50 pm

albanach wrote:Two things. First, you think you are set on public service. What if you find a different interest in law school? What if you like criminal law and after several years with a high profile PD or Prosecutor's office, a boutique firm offers you a position? What if you get a job with a large non-profit but get laid off during an economic downturn that affects donations?

Secondly, LRAP may be income restricted. If you work for a large 501(c)(3) but make in the low six figures, not having $300k of debt might be nice. Or maybe you'll earn $50k but get married to someone making $120k. Now your partner's income could impact your LRAP eligibility. You probably would prefer not to have to delay marriage because of student loans.

There's probably countless other scenarios where high school debt could negatively affect your life later. Remember, you're trying to look out fourteen years into the future; who knows what will happen.


To be fair, neither of the "doomsday" scenarios that your propose would be an issue under the Columbia or NYU plans. The LRAP "cutoff" for those plans is just the point at which the school stops paying everything. You don't suddenly end up on the hook for the entire loan payment; you just have to start contributing a bit to your monthly payments.

albanach

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Re: LRAP question

Postby albanach » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:17 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:To be fair, neither of the "doomsday" scenarios that your propose would be an issue under the Columbia or NYU plans. The LRAP "cutoff" for those plans is just the point at which the school stops paying everything. You don't suddenly end up on the hook for the entire loan payment; you just have to start contributing a bit to your monthly payments.


Good point. Though OP's GPA suggests they'll need a very good LSAT to have a decent shot at either school.

If they don't end up at one of the gold-star LRAP schools, keeping debt down is a good idea. And if they end up employed but not in an LRAP eligible position after attending a gold-star school, keeping debt down is a good idea. There's almost never a good reason to ignore the total cost of attendance.



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