Two laws schools have made a legal education more affordable for students seeking careers in public interest, according to The National Law Journal. Those two schools, the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Northwestern University School of Law, have changed some of their operating methods.
At Penn, the school has changed its loan repayment assistance program so that it covers all student loan obligations for alumni who earn $80,000 or less per year working in public interest careers. At Northwestern, the school has increased its spending on student scholarships and its loan repayment program by 25 percent. It is decreasing its student enrollment by 20 to 25 next year.
At Penn, the school is going to pay monthly installments of loans for the graduates working in public interest job for 10 years. At this point, the students are then eligible for forgiveness from the federal government. This could save students some $140,000. The students who are earning anywhere from $80,000 to $100,000 in public interest jobs will receive $1,800 per year in loan repayment for no more than $12,600 in a 10-year period.
“The pressures created by high student debt discourage many graduates from law schools and other professional schools from pursuing vital careers and accepting job opportunities in public service,” said Penn dean Michael Fitts.
The administration at Northwestern announced a tuition increase of three percent for the next academic year while also reducing the class size. They then announced the increase of the loan repayment program and scholarships.
“We can’t ignore the destabilizing forces that the legal industry is facing today,” dean Daniel Rodriguez said. “Through our strategic process, currently actively underway, we are making every effort to be compassionate and smart during these challenging times.”
In a formal statement, the brand new Justice Joan Dempsey Klein Scholarships in Law at UCLA will be awarded to students who have financial need and who demonstrate “strong commitment to advocating for gender equality or to promoting the advancement of women in the law and society.”