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Law School Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)

The Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) seeks to ease the law school debt burdens of graduates who choose to work in public interest jobs soon after graduation. The low salaries of these jobs often make this choice impossible for those who must service a large debt. By lessening the debt burden of our neediest graduates in the years immediately following law school, the LRAP makes public interest law work a viable option for new lawyers.

2016 LRAP application process is now closed

 

LRAP Description

Review the Overview of the LRAP Program (PDF) for a full description of the LRAP rules and qualifications. If you are using your Lewis & Clark law degree to help under-represented people or causes at a government, non-profit, or tribal office with a yearly salary below $45,000, you may qualify for LRAP assistance.

Application Timeline

Graduates first apply for LRAP within the first three years following graduation. Recipients may continue to apply until five years after graduation.

  • By mid-June, graduates apply for LRAP assistance for the current funding year
  • In July, awards are announced and disbursements are sent.

Awards are structured as loans, and upon the recipient showing completion of a year of qualified public interest employment, LRAP loans are forgiven. This method is designed to avoid recipient tax liability as described in Revenue Ruling 2008-34; although, you should verify your individual tax situation with a tax advisor.

LRAP Forgiveness Application

Donate to the LRAP

The LRAP is supported through a combination of funds from Lewis & Clark Law School’s operating budget, a student fee, restricted annual gifts, interest from a quasi-endowment established by the Lewis and Clark Law School Faculty during the 2006-2007 school year, and interest from endowed gifts.

As law school tuition costs and living expenses continue to grow, the LRAP requires a growing source of funds to continue the same level of support to graduates. Please consider making a donation and specifying that you would like your donation to go to the Loan Repayment Assistance Program or the LRAP Endowment. Gifts may be given online, by phone, by mail, or in person through the Law School’s Development Office.

Why Give to the LRAP?

Each year between 7 and 14 percent of Lewis & Clark Law School’s graduates enter public interest careers as legal aid lawyers, public defenders, lawyers working in non-profit organizations, and similar jobs. Many graduate with incredibly large law school debt that public interest salaries cannot support. Some have families to support as well.

Without LRAP assistance, many graduates would be forced to take work outside of the public interest sector. This in turn has an impact on public interest employers making it harder to recruit lawyers to work on behalf of the neediest populations.

LRAP assistance is often required to make it possible for our graduates to do public interest work. Supporting the LRAP is supporting the important work that our graduates do.

LRAP Student Fee

All Lewis & Clark law students pay a mandatory fee of $25 per semester to help the LRAP.  This fee has made available strong reliable funding for the LRAP.

During the 2006-2007 school year, two important things happened to help the LRAP.  First, the faculty voted to dedicate a portion of interest from the school’s rainy-day fund to the LRAP.  Second, PILP students organized a vote to recommend to the faculty that there be a mandatory fee levied on every JD student to help support the LRAP.

Students were presented with a ballot to say whether there should be a fee or not, and how much that fee should be. Overwhelmingly, students voted for a fee, and overwhelmingly, students voted for the highest amount they had to choose from, $25 per semester.  PILP students presented the results to the faculty and the faculty recommended the fee to the school’s board of trustees who approved it.

The initial vote called for the fee to be levied for only two years with a re-vote from the students. The re-vote overwhelmingly recommended that the fee remain for another two years, and a final later vote called for the fee to be permanent. Every vote of the student body has been overwhelmingly in support of the LRAP fee. Although the fee has not increased from its $25 per semester starting point, in the most recent student vote, students recommended that the school consider an increase.

Why a Separate Fee is Important
The LRAP fee is different from funds coming from the school’s general budget.  

  • Because the fee is a line item on a student’s fee statement, the money is dedicated from the start and is not subject to the budgeting process.  
  • Because the fee is visible, students are aware of the contribution they are making to support public interest work priming them for the duty to support equal access to justice as attorneys.
  • Because the fee was a student idea endorsed by the student body, it inspires our students showing that they can make a difference.