Best student loan forgiveness for lawyers in 2024

Becoming a lawyer is too expensive, and most law students must borrow to pay their tuition. In fact, the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics revealed that the average balance of law student loans that graduated in the 2015-2016 school year was estimated to be $145,500. Fortunately, there may be student loan forgiveness for lawyers.

While transparency at law school calculated the average debt among those who took out one less loan ($115,481 in 2018), the report also indicated that three out of four law graduates have loans upon leaving school.

A debt of more than $100,000 can make life very stressful, especially for those who want to work in public service and use their law degrees to help others. The good news is that attorneys can obtain many loan exemption options.

Below is a table of content showing an overview of what to expect:

Table of Contents

What is loan forgiveness?

Student loan forgiveness has to do with leaving the amount left on the student loan of people who undertake qualified jobs, such as teaching in a high-need area, who have repaid the loan for a specific time.

Loan discharge is rare but can be granted to borrowers who can’t repay the loan for various reasons such as death, disability, fraud, identity theft, and in very scarce circumstances, bankruptcy or closure of the school where the loan was taken.

It is necessary for you to know the things that should be in your budget as a student

Does student loan forgiveness cover all student loans?

Yes, loan forgiveness covers all federal loans. But, here is an exception;

Forgiveness isn’t an option for defaulted loans. If you have defaulted on loan repayment, you are not eligible for loan forgiveness but for discharge programs. In addition, you will need to use consolidation or rehabilitation to get defaulted federal student loans in good standing before they’re eligible for forgiveness programs.

NOTE: Loan Forgiveness is not for private loans. Only federal loans can be forgiven.

See also: Can I get Student Loans for Living Expenses & Housing?

What is Law school loan forgiveness?

Law school loan forgiveness is typically only for those in the public sector. But the best law school loan repayment program for you will depend on where you practice, your financial situation, and what types of student loans you have.

Are there student loan forgiveness for lawyers with low income in 2024?

Income-driven repayment plans base federal student loan borrowers’ payments on their earnings and family size. Most private lenders do not offer income-driven repayment, which is one reason federal student loans are often the best law school loans.

Income-driven plans are available whether you practice in the private or public sector. After 20 or 25 years of payments, your remaining balance is forgiven, but that amount is taxable. Public interest lawyers may qualify for faster or tax-free forgiveness through other programs.

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plans:

Depending on when you took out your loan, the maximum monthly payment you can make is 10% to 15% of your income. Your suggested payment must be less than what it would be under the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan to be eligible for IBR.

Any balance that remains after the 20 to 25-year repayment period will be pardoned, but additional taxes can apply.

Pay As You Earn (PAYE):

Payments under PAYE are restricted to 10% of your monthly income. Your proposed payment must be less than what the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan would require to be considered.

Any balance that remains after the 20-year repayment period will be pardoned, but additional taxes can apply.

Revisions to Pay As You Earn (REPAYE):

It limits payments to 10% of discretionary income, determined by taking your adjusted gross income and subtracting 150% from the federal poverty level.

Once you’ve made 20 years of eligible payments, the remaining sum on your student loans will be forgiven.

A very viable student lawyer loan repayment program is the REPAYE.

Income-Contingent Plan:

Monthly payments are restricted to a maximum of 20% of your discretionary income. There is a 25-year repayment period, after which any outstanding debt is cancelled. (though forgiven debt might be subject to additional taxes).

This is one of the student lawyer loan repayment program.

What are the student loan forgiveness for public interest lawyer in 2024?

Public service lawyers generally receive lower wages than private-sector workers. The comparison is that college law loan forgiveness programs are generally only available to public interest lawyers:

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

This program isn’t specific to lawyers in the public sector; it could be another option for those seeking loan forgiveness. While the timeline for forgiveness is longer than other federal options, your total balance could be forgiven, making it a compelling option to consider.

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Who is Eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?

Borrowers eligible for PSLF must make 120 qualifying payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Only Federal Direct Loans are eligible for PSLF.

The Federal Student Aid website includes complete descriptions of what a qualified payment, qualified employer, and full-time employment mean for PSLF applicants. However, the only way to be positive that you qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness now or in the future is to complete and submit the Employment Certification form as soon as possible.

How to Apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

After 120 qualifying payments (over at least 10 years), borrowers can apply for PSLF. The payments don’t need to be consecutive to apply. You will not automatically receive PSLF after 120 qualifying payments; you can then fill out and submit a PSLF application to receive loan forgiveness.

Department of Justice Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP)

For each year you work for the Department of Justice, ASLRP participants could earn up to $6,000 in loan assistance, with a lifetime maximum of $60,000.

It is important to note that lawyers are still expected to make personal payments toward their federal student loans while participating in the program. Failure to do so may result in disqualification.

According to the ASLRP website, “the Department will match the annual amount that the recipient pays on his or her qualifying Federal student loans (up to the maximum of $6,000 per calendar year).” However, “there is an exception for recipients whose annual base salaries are less than $84,000 – those individuals will automatically receive the annual maximum repayment amount.”

Who is Eligible for the Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program?

To be eligible, the Department of Justice employees must have at least $10,000 in eligible federal student loans. To accept the award, candidates need to commit to a three-year service with the Department of Justice.

How to Apply for the Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program

Check out the ASLRP website and key dates page to learn more about this option and important application deadlines. It can be a competitive program, so keep that in mind when applying.

John R. Justice (JRJ) Student Loan Repayment Program

If you’re a public defender, you can apply for the JRJ Student Loan Repayment program and earn up to $10,000 annually for a maximum of $60,000. Part of accepting the award is accepting a three-year service agreement and acting as a public defender.

The award is given to each state with different requirements for each state. The first consideration is given to applicants with the least ability to repay their loans, and those who received JRJ benefits the previous year.

Who is Eligible for the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program?

Candidates must be employed as public defenders at an agency chosen by the state they are applying to. Other requirements vary from state to state, so it is important to know the state’s requirements before applying.

How to Apply for the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program

Each state provides funding for this program, so you’ll need to contact the state agencies designated by the governor to learn about additional requirements for applicants and how to apply within your specific state. Deadlines and application dates may vary by state.

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Herbert S. Garten Loan Repayment Assistance Program

This program was created in 2005 for legal aid attorneys with large outstanding loans from the Law School and uses the lottery system to select approximately 70 attorneys per year. Selected individuals can earn up to $5,600 a year for three years of qualified employment and participation in the program.

The number of selected winners may change yearly, depending on funding levels. According to the program’s website, “In 2018, they gave 80 legal aid attorneys a total of $1 million to help them pay off student debts.”

This is one of the student lawyer loan repayment program that is effective.

Who is Eligible for the Herbert S. Garten Loan Repayment Assistance Program?

To be eligible to enter this lottery, you must be an attorney working for one of the program’s beneficiaries with a student loan debt of at least $75,000. Participating attorneys must use program funds to pay off qualifying law school loans and accrued interest.

How to Apply for the Herbert S. Garten Loan Repayment Assistance Program

Instructions for completing and renewing the applications are available on the program website, along with the cut-off and distribution dates.

Law school loan forgiveness programs are not mutually exclusive; you can use each you qualify for.

State-based Loan Forgiveness for Law Schools

Additionally, several states help lawyers concentrate on public service with loan payback. These initiatives might be directed towards certain categories of public interest attorneys.

For instance, New York provides district attorneys, assistant district attorneys, and attorneys providing indigent legal services with up to $20,400 in loan payback assistance. On the other hand, the Florida Bar Foundation’s program offers up to $5,000 in forgiven loans annually and is open to staff members of legal aid groups supported by the foundation.

The American Bar Association has a list of state-level LRAPs and contacts you can use to get further information.

Income-driven repayment plans

Many student lawyer loan repayment program demands that you work for an organization or nonprofit that qualifies and adheres to rigorous income requirements. Consider an income-driven repayment plan if you have federal loans but are ineligible for one of those programs.

What are Perkins loans? Student lawyer loan repayment program

Perkins loans are federal low-interest student loans that have not been issued since 2017. If you borrow Perkins loans before then, you can pay off your balance in full in five years.

The Perkins Loan forgiveness is only available to lawyers who practice full-time for a federal public or community defender organization. To be eligible, you must also have implemented these services as of August 14, 2008.

If you’re a high-earning lawyer in the private sector

Refinancing your loans can make sense if you have a good salary and are not eligible for any loan forgiveness program. High-income, good credit and low debt/income ratio lawyers can save money by refinancing student loans.

Refinancing can change the loan terms, generally allowing you to lower the interest rate. But borrowers who refinance federal loans lose benefits like income-based repayment. Refinance law school loans only if you are sure you don’t need those options.

If you already have private law school loans and can qualify for a lower interest rate, it is generally not logical to refinance.

How much would refinancing save you?

Step 1: Know what you owe.

Enter details of your existing loan. More than one? Calculate your weighted average interest rate first.

  • Loan balance ($)(required)
  • Interest rate (%)(required)
  • Remaining term (years)(required)
  • Estimated monthly payment

Step 2: Check your rates.

The better your credit, the lower the rate you’ll likely get. Here’s what some top lenders offer:

Lender

APR:

Fixed: 3.75% – 8.77%
Variable: 
3.5% – 8.72%

Get started

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Lender

APR:

Fixed: 3.75% – 6.667%
Variable: 3.5% – 6.667%

Get started

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Lender

APR:

Fixed: 3.22% – 6.45%
Variable: 3.49% – 5.64%

Get started

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Lender

APR:

Fixed: 3.3% – 6.69%
Variable: 2.39% – 6.01%

Get started

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Lender

APR:

Fixed: 3.39% – 7.75%
Variable: 2.7% – 7.87%

Get started

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Lender

APR:

Fixed: 3.5% – 7.02%
Variable: 1.99% – 6.65%

Get started

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Lender

APR:

Fixed: 3.23% – 5.53%
Variable: 2.01% – 5.8%

Get started

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Lender

APR:

Fixed: 3.59% – 8.63%
Variable: 2.72% – 8.38%

See also: What Happens If You Don’t Pay Student Loans 2024? 10 Shocking Options

Step 3: Run the numbers.

Enter details about your hypothetical new refinance loan to see what you could save. Use 5% if you’re unsure what rate you’ll qualify for.

  • Loan amount ($)– $0
  • New interest rate (%)– 5%
  • New term (years)– 10
  • Calculate
  • Show detailed payment comparison?– Yes/No

Check out these Easy Step by Step Guide on How to Get Student Loan Forgiveness: Programs and Tips

Conclusion

For students going through law school, the appeal of entering a lucrative career can make it easy to put up with an ever-rising student loan balance. But once you leave school, reality hits and can be overwhelming.

The sooner you can eliminate your student loan debt, the easier it will be to achieve your other financial and life goals. I believe you acquired enough knowledge from the detailed article above about some ways to get law school loan forgiveness and other assistance, as well as other repayment options to consider if you’re on your own.

Best student loan forgiveness for lawyers FAQs

What is the justice program for student loan repayment?

The justice program to repay the student justice loan assists lawyers who work as public defenders. Eligible candidates can receive up to $10,000 annually, with a maximum of $60,000. Candidates must serve as public defenders for a minimum of three years.

What is Student loan forgiveness?

Student loan forgiveness has to do with leaving the amount left on the student loan of people who undertake qualified jobs, such as teaching in a high-need area, who have repaid the loan for a specific time.

Does loan forgiveness cover the federal loan?

Yes, loan forgiveness covers all federal loans. But there is an exception.

Who is Law school loan forgiveness for?

Law school loan forgiveness is typically only for those in the public sector. But the best law school loan repayment program for you will depend on where you practice, your financial situation, and what types of student loans you have.

What is the public service loan Forgiveness program?

The public service loan Forgiveness program requires 120 monthly payments for the federal student loan, although the payments need not be consecutive. You Can Exhale: Any federal student loan payments you have crossed between now and September 30, 2024, will count against 120 required payments.

Sources

  • earnest– student loan forgiveness for lawyers
  • nerdwallet– lawyers repay student loans

Editors Recommendation:

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