Many employers, including non-profit and government employers, provide Loan Repayment Assistance Programs for the benefit of their employees with student debt.
If you are working in public interest, ask your employer if there is an LRAP for you.
Employers often design their programs to overcome the hurdle of lower public interest salaries and enable them to recruit and retain qualified staff. The availability and specifics of employer LRAPs are as varied as employers themselves, and you'll want to ask about the important details.
Assistance for Employees of Federal Agencies
Federal agencies are authorized by statute to set up loan repayment assistance programs to recruit and retain highly qualified employees. In fiscal year 2007, 582 attorneys working in 20 different federal agencies received loan repayment assistance benefits.
Assistance for Public Interest Lawyers
Facts about Employer-Based LRAPs from the Biannual NALP (the National Association for Law Placement) Survey
- 77 organizations report having an LRAP program (55 civil legal services organizations, 5 public defender offices, 5 local prosecuting attorney offices, 1 attorney general’s office, 11 public interest organizations)
- 789 attorneys are reported to have received an award in the most recent fiscal year
- $2,400 is the median average amount awarded per attorney
Source: Public Sector & Public Interest Attorney Salary Report, 2008 NALP.
Unlike school-based and government LRAPs, employers are not able to structure their programs as forgivable loans. As a result, benefits received under an employer-based LRAP typically are taxable income to the recipient.