Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)

Government and public interest jobs are excellent opportunities for law 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.


How the Program Works: Combining Federal Programs with LRAP

Northwestern Law's current program dovetails with provisions of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (CCRAA). The CCRAA allows graduates to use Income-Based Repayment (IBR) to lower monthly payments on federal student loans.

One drawback of IBR is that the low payments often do not cover the interest due on the loan, much less the principal. Northwestern Law offers a unique new program that helps graduates make their IBR payments and also pay down some of the unpaid interest. This provision benefits graduates whose life circumstances may cause them to pursue private sector employment before full forgiveness is achieved.

The CCRAA also provides that, if graduates work in public service positions for ten years and make 120 monthly loan payments, the remainder of their federal educational loans will be forgiven. To qualify for federal loan forgiveness, three conditions must be met:

  1. Graduates must be employed in 501C-3 or other approved non-profit or U.S. government agency.
  2. Graduates must have their federal student loans in the Direct Lending program. 
  3. Graduates must have a remaining federal loan balance after 120 monthly payments.

LRAP aligns with this provision in CCRAA by supporting gradautes with paying their loans for up to ten years. LRAP allows many Northwestern Law graduates who remain in public service for ten years to not use any of their own funds for federal educational debt repayment.


Eligibility for LRAP

  • Any graduate who starts work immediately after graduation or after a clerkship as an attorney or manager in any government or non-profit agency is eligible for LRAP.
  • 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.  
  • If the graduate remains in a qualifying position for one year, the LRAP loan is forgiven in its entirety.
  • Graduates may participate in LRAP for up to ten years.

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

Calculator 

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)

You may estimate your LRAP award using our online calculator.

  • The calculator uses NU AGI, which includes deductions for children, a spouse, and undergraduate debt. The calculator also uses a family size of one because LRAP accounts for family size in its income calculation.
  • Because of these differences between LRAP calculations and CCRAA calculations for IBR, the resulting NU IBR may be different than the CCRAA IBR.
  • In determining UI, the calculator uses the payment amount on day 1, year 1 of a standard ten year repayment.
  • Our calculator also uses a fixed interest rate in calculating UI, based on average prevailing federal loan interest rates. Currently the calculator uses a rate of 8%. The rate used in the calculator may change from time to time based on market conditions.

More Information

For more information about the LRAP program, please contact Cindy Wilson in the Career Strategy Center at (312) 503-2924.