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LRAP: Duke Law School
Published June 2010
Loan Repayment Assistance Program
How it Works
Graduates are eligible for up to ten years after graduation and may come in and out of the program without penalty.
“Tier one” employment is defined as “employment in the public interest.” Those working for nonprofit public interest organizations or as prosecutors and public defenders are included in this tier. Tier one receives funding priority over tier two.
“Tier two” employment is defined as “public service employment.” This includes work for local, state, or federal governmental agencies. Once all in tier one have received their benefits, those in tier two will receive their benefits (subject to remaining availability of funding).
Judicial clerkships are ineligible for LRAP.
While there is no longer a cap on the amount of benefits you may receive, you cannot receive more in benefits than what you initially borrowed to fund law school.
Calculation of Expected Participant Contribution
For incomes between $60,000 and $75,000, a sliding scale is implemented to determine the amount of your benefit. Unfortunately, Duke Law School has not published this scale. It is possible that the scale differs each year depending on available funding.
If your income is above $75,000, you are no longer eligible for LRAP.
The income figure used for calculation of LRAP benefits is adjusted for marital status and dependents, but the nature of these adjustments is again not published by Duke Law School. Assets may also affect your award total.
In order to understand the benefits under Duke’s LRAP, you should also know something about IBR. TLS has its own explanation of IBR here. The basics of what you need to know are included below.
Payments under IBR are capped at 15% of everything above 150% of the federal poverty line. The federal poverty line varies with family size1. For example, if your income is $60,000 and you have two people in your family (yourself and a spouse), your payments under IBR would be 15% times ($60,000 – (150% of $14,570)) = $5,722.
The downside of IBR is that you may be making little to no progress on your loans. Because your monthly payments can be so low, it is possible that your payments only go towards interest instead of the principal balance. If you do not end up having your loans forgiven (most likely because of leaving qualifying employment before ten years), you may have as much or even more debt than you had to start.
Availability of Funds
In some years demand may exceed the funding while in others the supply of funding more than accounts for the demand. In the first scenario, funds are distributed pro rata as need be with “tier one” receiving priority over “tier two” until funding is exhausted. If all available funds are not used in a given year, the excess amount rolls over and becomes available for use the next year.
Final Thoughts on the Duke Law School Loan Repayment Assistance Program
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