I was just admitted to Boalt but do not expect to receive any kind of scholarship. Looking at the costs for Berkeley especially, it seriously makes me sick to realize I would be more than $215,000 in debt by the end. Fortunately of course Boalt has this grand LRAP, under which I pay not a dime in loans back if I pursue one of my main interests and go into something like public defense.
I think some serious questions need to be answered, though.
First of all, like many other T-14 LRAP's, Boalt's is made most useful by its combination with the federal government's promise to forgive all student loan debt after ten years of public service. In light of the economic recession and the increasing amount of cuts made to government services, however, I remain highly skeptical of the probability that this program will even remain intact for another 13 years. A friend of mine seems to believe that it would be a breach of contract for the government to refuse to forgive loans taken out in prior to the program's termination. I've never thought of this, and it sounds valid, but then we are talking about a government service, and I'm not convinced the government would be obligated to maintain something like a promise to help pay off debt. Is there anyone here who can speak to this?
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The IBR program was voted in under a Republican administration with broad bipartisan support. It's hard to imagine a situation where cutting the program--particularly as it relates to public interest positions--is going to be politically viable. Teachers, law enforcement officers, health-care professionals and many other similarly situated individuals benefit from the program, which represents only a minute fraction of the federal budget. Moreover, the IBR program was funded by eliminating subsidies to private lenders participating in the FLEEP lending program. Overall, in light of the fact that there are so many more programs that could be cut while yielding greater savings with less political fallout, it seems unlikely that the IBR program will become a target.
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