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LRAP: Boston University School of Law

Published October 2010, last updated November 2010

Loan Repayment Assistance Program

How It Works
BU maintains a modest loan repayment assistance program to help graduates pay back law school debts while pursuing public interest careers. The program is fairly small, with an annual funding of about $45,000. Still, the law school claims to provide grant assistance to four-fifths of those who apply.

Income Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Boston University School of Law’s website mentions the newly revamped federal Income Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs as aids for public interest-minded graduates (see: http://www.ibrinfo.org/ or TLS’s explanation at http://www.top-law-schools.com/income-based-repayment-explanation.html). The former program caps monthly educational loan payments at 15% of an individual’s discretionary income; the latter forgives educational debts for those who work in public service for ten years. Both programs come with their downsides, however: IBR can drastically increase the overall amount of accumulated interest paid, and PSLF will not help lawyers who bounce back and forth between the public and private sectors.

Eligible Jobs
To qualify for LRAP consideration, graduates must work law-related jobs for a non-profit organization or government agency that primarily delivers public legal services. Preference is given to individuals providing direct legal service to traditionally disadvantaged groups. Most clerkships are not covered, although exceptions may be made for those remaining in clerkships for several years and not using them as a springboard to other jobs. While the program prioritizes recent graduates, BU lawyers may apply to the program at any time within ten years of their graduation.

Calculation of Expected Participant Contribution
Boston University does not publish their formula for determining aid amounts, and its website would suggest that applicants’ funding depends on a variety of year-to-year factors, such as the number of graduates applying for assistance. The committee takes many factors into consideration: principally the ratio of salary-to-debt, but also “year of graduation, spousal income and educational loans (if any), dependent responsibility and any special circumstances affecting the applicant’s ability to repay outstanding debt.”

Final Notes on the BU Law Loan Repayment Assistance Program
With its limited funding and relative lack of available information, Boston University’s LRAP should not be a strong factor for those considering the law school. Income Based Repayment seems to be a more likely path for graduates looking to make ends meet in a low-paying job, and potential students should not count on having as much flexibility as graduates of higher-ranked schools with more robust loan repayment programs. Still, it is nice to know that the school is making an effort to help some of its public interest graduates.