Loan Repayment Assistance Program
Notre Dame Law School is proud to have one of the most generous Loan Repayment Assistance Programs to assist J.D. graduates who are beginning legal careers in public interest and public service positions. LRAP is designed to ensure that J.D. graduates with law school loans have the opportunity to pursue civil servant positions even when they pay modest salaries.
Under LRAP, the law school loans its J.D. graduates funds to help repay qualifying law school educational loans. The LRAP loans are then forgiven over a three-year period, provided that the J.D. graduates remain in public interest or public service employment.
The LRAP program was created in 2001. Thanks to generous donors, the program is now supported by a substantial endowment. During its first 14 years, the program has disbursed more than $1.1 million to assist about 200 J.D. graduates who have worked across the United States, Central America, and Europe for a wide variety of non-profit and governmental entities. Program participants have worked in local, state, and federal governmental agencies in civil, criminal, and military positions. Many have also worked for non-profit legal organizations engaged in civil legal services, policy advocacy, and international human rights.
J.D. graduates may receive assistance for up to 10 years after graduation. Beginning in 2017, for participants with adjusted incomes under $50,000, the program will cover 100 percent of monthly law school loan repayments. (Common income adjustments include retirement, health insurance, undergraduate debt payments and dependent deductions.) For participants with adjusted incomes between $50,000 and $65,000, the program will cover a portion of monthly loan payments.
The LRAP Committee has the discretion to cap the amount of benefits payable to a J.D. graduate in a given year. In recent years, the Committee has capped annual benefits at $12,000 per J.D. graduate. The LRAP program description provides complete details concerning eligibility, benefits, and administration.
Through the LRAP program, Notre Dame Law School helps alleviate an obstacle that once prevented many interested J.D. graduates from pursuing lower-paying positions in public interest, public service, and similar employment. The Law School recognizes that lawyers bear a responsibility to provide services to people who cannot afford legal representation, and to use their legal education for the public good. Its history of encouraging J.D. graduates to shoulder that responsibility flows directly from its Catholic mission.
Below are scenarios of three graduates who are using LRAP. Click on each scenario to find out detailed information about each graduate and their specific loan payment, income, etc. to get an idea of how the LRAP benefit works.
Scenario 1: Chris Doe is married with two children; her spouse also works and earns slightly more than she does, but she is still 100% covered by LRAP because her income is below the $50,000 floor.
Scenario 2: John Jones is single with both law school and undergraduate debt; law school loan payments covered 100% by LRAP.
Scenario 3: Jane Smith is single with both law school and undergraduate debt; but because her adjusted annual income is above the $50,000 floor, her law school loan payments are only partially covered by LRAP (in her case, 74.3%).