ND Law enhances Loan Repayment Assistance Program, giving all graduates in public interest a 10-year path to loan forgiveness

Author: Kevin Allen


Notre Dame Law School is implementing dramatic improvements to its Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) that will make the program more generous and cover many more J.D. graduates who pursue careers in public interest law and government.

Notre Dame Law graduates can now start a career in public interest law without ever having to worry about payments on their student loans.

The enhancements, which will take effect for the 2024 calendar year, were unveiled in detail at an information session for current students on Monday, March 27.

Here are the highlights:

  • LRAP will now cover graduates with salaries as high as $100,000, with upward adjustments for graduates with children. This is a 40% increase from the previous salary cap of $70,000.
  • All undergraduate, graduate, and law school loans — both federal and private — are eligible for LRAP.
  • The revised LRAP will work in tandem with the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. All graduates who pursue a career in public interest law will have a 10-year path to full student-loan forgiveness with little out-of-pocket payments.

“I want every one of our students to know that if their vocation is in public interest law, they can afford to pursue it,” said G. Marcus Cole, the Joseph A. Matson Dean and Professor of Law.

LRAP is one of the important ways that Notre Dame Law School fulfills its Catholic mission to educate a ‘different kind of lawyer’ who uses his or her education for the public good. The program supports J.D. graduates who are beginning legal careers in the nonprofit sector, government, policy advocacy, human rights, and other fields where lawyers make valuable contributions but are often paid lower salaries.

Under the revised LRAP, participating graduates will enroll in an income-based federal loan repayment plan that qualifies for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The income-based plan will require graduates to make modest monthly payments. LRAP will then provide participants with funds to help cover those monthly payments, up to a pre-announced annual cap. The funds will be sufficient to cover most of a graduate’s out-of-pocket monthly payments. After working in public interest law or public service for 10 years, graduates will qualify for full forgiveness of their outstanding federal loan balances.

Graduates are eligible to receive LRAP assistance for a full 10 calendar years after they begin qualifying employment, even if they do not begin their public interest work immediately following graduation.

“We hope these improvements to LRAP will be a new encouragement for students to consider public interest legal careers, especially in markets with a higher cost of living,” Associate Dean for Experiential Programs Robert L. Jones Jr. said. “We want our graduates to pursue their calling, and we want them to be able to make that decision freely.”

Since Notre Dame Law School launched its LRAP in 2003, the program has disbursed millions of dollars to hundreds of graduates who have worked in a wide variety of public interest and public service positions in the United States and abroad.

LRAP is supported by a substantial endowment that was made possible thanks to generous donors.

Visit law.nd.edu/LRAP to learn more about Notre Dame Law School’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program.