Student loan forgiveness options for lawyers
Updated on March 16, 2020
A career as a lawyer can be quite lucrative. Many seasoned lawyers earn well over $100,000 per year and often pursue even more prestigious roles in the field. Working as an attorney requires an undergraduate degree and a Juris Doctorate degree from regionally accredited universities. As such, it is not uncommon for those pursuing a law career to accumulate debt.
Student loans are practically inevitable for those studying for undergraduate and graduate degrees. In fact, it is not uncommon for an aspiring lawyer to have thousands in student loan debt before getting his or her first job at a firm. There are student loan forgiveness options for lawyers who are willing to commit to public service.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program offers students the possibility of complete student loan forgiveness after 120 payments.
Only those applicants who work full-time for a qualifying employer may qualify for the PSLF program. Firms and businesses that qualify as PSLF employers are typically non-profit organizations that offer lower wages to lawyers. Still, the benefit of having student loans forgiven in exchange for a reduced annual salary may be worth it. Such may especially be true for recent graduates who need both work experience and student loan forgiveness.
Department of Justice Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP)
The Department of Justice offers a program that provides lawyers with up to $60,000 in student loan debt relief under the Department of Justice Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP). Applicants must commit to working with ASLRP for three years to be eligible.
ASLRP pays up to $6,000 per year for student loan debt with those earning less than $84,000 automatically qualifying for the maximum amount of $60,000 in relief. The ASLRP is not a grant. Recipients are expected to make personal payments towards their student loan debt of which ASLRP matches every year. Failure to make timely payments may result in disqualification from the program.
There are many options for individuals with student loans who are looking to get out of debt. Student loan forgiveness is not restricted to undergraduates. Lawyers also have options for student loan debt relief.