Students Overwhelmingly Support One of Country’s Most Successful Loan Repayment Assistance Programs
March 17, 2008 –Students at Rutgers School of Law-Newark have again demonstrated that, whatever their own career plans, they strongly support a program which helps offset the debt of graduates who choose to work in traditionally low-paying public service sector jobs. Asked to approve the continuation of a student fee to fund the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), students voted overwhelmingly to maintain the fee and, in fact, to raise it. The commitment to equal justice and community service shown by students and graduates as well as the generosity of donors led the national organization Equal Justice Works to recognize the Rutgers-Newark LRAP as one of the most successful in the country.
The law school recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of LRAP with a reception for its founders, recipients, and current students interested in a public service career. Speaking at the event, Amy Gottlieb ’96, director of the Immigrant Rights Program at the American Friends Service Committee and an LRAP founder, said, “As a law student planning a career in public interest law, it was clear to me that a loan repayment program was absolutely essential for people facing low salaries and high loan payments. Now, as director of a non-profit public interest law program, I see young attorneys who are able to work with us because they benefit from loan repayment assistance. By easing the financial burdens of law graduates, the Rutgers LRAP increases services available to underserved populations."
LRAP recipients spoke about the program and Rutgers’ support for public interest work. As Hilary Meyer ’05 of Lambda Legal, offered, “When I travel around the country for work, I often hear from soon-to-be law students that they have applied to Rutgers School of Law-Newark in no small part because of its amazing reputation of financially supporting the public interest work of its graduates through the loan repayment assistance program.”
Since its inception, LRAP has provided more than $750,000 to 119 graduates who have accepted jobs with public interest and governmental entities throughout the country. Assistance is given in the form of a loan to those who commit to public interest employment; loan indebtedness is forgiven upon completion of the specified term of service. Originally funded solely by the student fee, LRAP was strengthened by an endowment from an anonymous donor who was inspired by student support for loan repayment assistance.