Student debt hasn't made the recession easier for lawyers who are still paying down the steep price of their educations. And while student debt is especially hard to get rid of, there are a couple of recent programs that could help, depending on your circumstances.
College Cost Reduction and Access Act - Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Under this program, qualifying employees of government and 501(c)(3) organizations may be eligible for loan forgiveness after 10 years of payments. Wondering if this applies to you? Equal Justice Works makes it a whole lot easier for you to find out by telling you which jobs qualify, which loans are covered, and what you need to do for the next 10 years to make sure you can benefit from this program. There's even a checklist that tells you exactly what to do to determine whether you qualify and to set your eligible payments in motion.
College Cost Reduction and Access Act - Income-Based Repayment
This program attempts to make it possible for people to make realistic monthly payments based on their debt burden and their income. After 25 years of payments, remaining debt will be forgiven. Again, look to the resources provided by Equal Justice Works to see if you qualify. IBRinfo also offers a calculator that lets you enter some basic information to see if you might qualify.
Forum: Equal Justice Works provides a free, moderated forum where students and graduates can ask questions about these programs and other concerns. Webcasts: Equal Justice Works is also offering a series of webcasts beginning tomorrow, though they were full last I checked. I contacted them and was told they plan to post the recorded webcasts by the week of June 29. You'll be able to access the programs here. VIdeo: Finally, if you're looking to learn more about the income-based program, I recommend taking a look at the video below, which was produced by IBRinfo.
Student Debt Relief Resources
You might not know it, but you could qualify for student debt relief under the College Cost Reduction & Access Act of 2007. Real debt relief in the form of lower payments and eventual debt forgiveness. Of course, as with any piece of legislation, the devil is in the details. And in this particular Act, there is no shortage of details. This is why the CBA's Economic Task Force flew Heather Jarvis, a nationally-recognized expert on the topic, out to Colorado to talk to groups here in the CLE classroom, and at both Colorado law schools. If you missed the program, you can still tap into Heather's resources on the Equal Justice Works site, including:
By the way, if you're a lawyer and you're dealing with high debt, you're in good company. Heather started her talk by asking us to stand. She then asked us to sit if we had less debt than the amounts she called out, starting with $10,000. Most of the room was standing until about $120,000.
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