NDLS loan repayment program growing in dollars and applications

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Notre Dame Law School’s program to assist its graduates who pursue careers in the public service sector has reached the $1 million milestone.

Graduates of Notre Dame Law School who hold public interest jobs credit the Loan Repayment Assistance Program, created in 2001, with enabling them to take positions in prosecutor’s and public defender’s offices and still meet their student loan obligations.

Funded solely by multiple endowments, the program provides loans to NDLS graduates in qualifying jobs to repay their student debt. It then forgives those loans over a three-year period so long as the graduate continues working in an eligible position.

LRAP funds are available to help graduates for up to 10 years after they received their JD degrees.

The $1 millon mark in disbursements reflects the growth of LRAP. In the last five years, the program’s endowment has grown from a little over $1 million to nearly $9 million. Also, the number of graduates assisted each year has increased from seven in the program’s first year to 28 in 2014. The program has now funded 182 applications.

“One of my major goals has been to strengthen the LRAP program so that we can assist more graduates who are interested in public service careers,” said Dean Nell Jessup Newton. “So we made it a budget priority when allocating donor dollars, and we asked our benefactors to increase their support as well.”

The LRAP application process considers both the type of employment and the salary range. Graduates practicing law in eligible positions with adjusted incomes of less than $45,000 can quality for 100 percent of their loans to be covered. The assistance loan amount is reduced by 0.01 percent for every dollar over $45,000. LRAP funds are not available for graduates with adjusted incomes of $55,000 or more.  

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