Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)

Government and public interest jobs are excellent opportunities for JD graduates, but the high cost of law school and the lower salaries of these jobs may prevent graduates from considering them. Northwestern Law was one of the first law schools in the country to provide a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) to graduates who enter public interest and government jobs. The program has been revised over the years to respond to changes in salaries and student debt. The LRAP program is supported in large part by the generosity of the Estate of Dawn Clark Netsch (JD '52).

How the Program Works: LRAP Aligned with Federal Programs

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law's current LRAP aligns with provisions of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (CCRAA). The CCRAA allows graduates to use Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and other income-driven repayment plans to lower monthly payments on federal student loans. The CCRAA also offers a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) that grants forgiveness of federal educational loan balances for qualified borrowers who work in public service positions for ten years and satisfy other requirements.

While LRAP is entirely separate from the federal programs, it does align with them. The LRAP formula is based on IBR and also includes an amount for unpaid interest. LRAP aligns with PSLF by providing funding for qualified graduates for up to ten years. Note that qualification for LRAP does not ensure qualification for the federal programs, and that any of the federal programs may be changed by the federal government. The terms of the LRAP program are also subject to change.

Participating in LRAP

  • Any graduate whose first job after graduation or after a clerkship following graduation in a qualifying job for a government or non-profit agency is eligible to apply for LRAP.
  • A qualifying job is a position that requires passage of the bar exam or that falls within the ABA's definition of a "JD Advantage" job – one where the employer sought an individual with a JD, and perhaps even required a JD, or for which the JD provided a demonstrable advantage in obtaining or performing the job, but itself does not require bar passage or an active law license or involve practicing law.
  • The application process occurs between July and September each year.
  • Awards will be issued in the form of one-year forgivable loans.
  • Participants must spend the entire award amount on repayment of federal or private educational loans and must provide documentation of such payment.  
  • If the graduate remains in a qualifying job for one year, the LRAP loan for that year is forgiven in its entirety.
  • Graduates are eligible to apply for LRAP for up to ten years after graduation, providing that they remain in a qualifying job and comply with the terms of LRAP.

Calculator

Gross Salary: $
Married
Spouse's income: $
LRAP Income: $
Number of children:
Spouse deduction: $
Child deduction: $
Annual payments for educational debt other than law school: $
NU Adjusted Gross Income: $
Total law school debt: $
Annual payments under standard 10-year repayment plan: $
Annual IBR Payment (using NU AGI): $
Annual unpaid interest: $
Annual LRAP Award: $ (% IBR + % unpaid interest)

Calculating Estimated Awards

LRAP awards are calculated using both income and debt amounts. Graduates with the lowest income and highest debt receive the highest awards. The Northwestern Adjusted Gross Income (NU AGI) is equal to the graduate's gross salary less: (a) $5,000 deduction for each child, (b) $5,000 deduction for a spouse or life partner, and (c) annual payments for undergraduate educational loans. Married applicants are treated as having the higher of either (a) his or her individual income or (b) half of the joint income. There is no cap on annual income or on the LRAP award.

The chart below explains the sliding scale for awards, which is based on NU AGI, NU-calculated IBR amounts, and unpaid interest (UI).

NU AGI Law School Debt
>$150,000 $100,000-149,000 $50,000-99,999 <$50,000
<$45,000 100% IBR
+ 75% UI*
100% IBR
+ 50% UI*
100% IBR
+ 25% UI*
100% IBR
$45,000-
54,999
75% IBR
+ 75% UI*
75% IBR
+ 50% UI*
75% IBR
+ 25% UI*
75% IBR
$55,000-
64,999
50% IBR
+ 75% UI*
50% IBR
+ 50% UI*
50% IBR
+ 25% UI*
50% IBR
$65,000-
74,999
25% IBR
+ 75% UI*
25% IBR
+ 50% UI*
25% IBR
+ 25% UI*
25% IBR
>$75,000 50% UI* 50% UI* 50% UI* 50% UI*

LRAP debt table

*The amount for unpaid interest is available only in years 1-5 of loan repayment.

More Information

For more information about the LRAP program, please contact Katie Shelton, Associate Director of Public Interest at kathryn.shelton@law.northwestern.edu.