Archive for Student Loan Debt

Job’o’th’Week (Entry-Level Edition)

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Student Debt Specialist

The Organization

The mission of Equal Justice Works is to create a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. Equal Justice Works is a recognized leader in the public interest law movement. Please go to www.equaljusticeworks.org to learn more about Equal Justice Works.

The Position

The Student Debt Specialist is responsible for maintaining Equal Justice Works’ national leadership position on student debt issues in the legal community and providing law students, law schools, lawyers, and legal organizations with comprehensive information on overcoming student debt. The position works closely with the Student Engagement Program and is an integral part of the collaborative team working to fulfill the unit’s functions. The Specialist reports directly to the Director of the Law School Engagement & Advocacy unit.

Does this job seem special? Head over to PSJD to see the full-post!

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Upcoming Equal Justice Works Student Loan Debt Webinar – 6/16

Equal Justice Works is hosting another Free Student Debt Webinar! Check out their message below: 

Summer is here! Hopefully all you public interest law superstars get a chance to unwind before kicking off summer plans, whether it’s an internship or continuing your work as an attorney.

Since many of you will be working with legal aid nonprofits or government agencies, this is a great time to brush up on your student debt knowledge. Join our debt relief webinar on Thursday, June 16th at 3pm EDT to gain a better understanding of income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness – it’s never too late!

More Americans are Trying to Have Student Debt Canceled

An increasing number of student loan borrowers are trying to get their student debt canceled because they were “deceived by colleges,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Over 19,000 people have cited the “borrower defense” law, claiming their schools illegally used deceptive advertising and recruiting practices to make false promises about future job prospects. The law gained traction last year when the Department of Education used it to cancel loans taken out by former students of for-profit chain Corinthian Colleges Inc.

FTC Cracks Down on Debt Relief Scams

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the State of Florida filed a complaint against two companies charged with running debt relief schemes that targeted student loan borrowers.  Both the “Consumer Assistance Project” and the “Student Aid Center” promised to rid borrowers of all debt while charging expensive (and illegal) up-front fees.

“The FTC is not going to stand on the sidelines when it uncovers evidence of fraudsters targeting students,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in an FTC press release. “Consumers should be wary of any company that claims it can eliminate or greatly reduce debt, especially if they ask for money in advance.”

If you’re looking for help, you can always use one of Equal Justice Works’ debt relief resources. They’re all free – and legal! Join our next webinar, download our student debt e-book Take Control of Your Future, or bookmark our Huffington Post blog to stay up to date on all the latest debt relief news!

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. Our webinars are tailored to law students and lawyers, but the information is applicable to anyone who needs help managing the burden of student loan debt. To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter (@EJW_org, #studentdebthelp) and on Facebook!

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Upcoming Equal Justice Works Free Student Debt Webinar

Equal Justice Works is hosting another Free Student Debt Webinar! Check out their message below: 

New Year, New You: Take Control of Your Student Loans

Happy New Year! While everyone else is making plans to hit the gym, we’ve got a better suggestion for your New Year’s Resolution: get a firm handle on your student loans!

Sounds like a lofty goal? No worries – Equal Justice Works is here to help! We’re offering our free monthly webinar, “Drowning in Debt! What Law Students & Lawyers Need to Know about Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness,” on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EDT to help student loan borrowers plan out their finances just in time for the new year! Whether you’re currently a law student, recent law graduate, or professional attorney, this webinar will provide you with the information you need to know about Public Service Loan Forgiveness, income-driven repayment plans, and more. Come check it out and learn how to manage your student debt!

REPAYE Plan Now Available

With a new year comes new student loan repayment options! As promised, the Department of Education launched the income-driven REPAYE (Revised Pay As You Earn) plan last month. The REPAYE plan offers monthly payments capped at 10% of your discretionary income, improved interest accrual protections, and is open to all borrowers regardless of when your loans were taken out.

There’s a lot to learn about the new REPAYE plan, so make sure you attend the webinar on January 19th to get the basics. We’re also updating our free student debt e-book Take Control of Your Future to include all the in-depth information you need to know about REPAYE. Download it now to be notified automatically of all updates!

Another 2016 New Year’s Resolution: Protect Public Service Loan Forgiveness!

As always, we urge you to take action to preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) before Congress moves forward with capping or eliminating this vital program for public service workers. In addition to coming to the January 19th webinar for the latest legislative updates, you can join the ABA’s Save #Loan4Giveness campaign today by taking action via social media!

Want to spread the word about PSLF, or just learn more about the program? Read and share our latest Huffington Post articles “Ten Things You Should Know About Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Part One and Two” to get the basics!

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. Our webinars are tailored to law students and lawyers, but the information is applicable to anyone who needs help managing the burden of student loan debt. To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter (@EJW_org, #studentdebthelp) and on Facebook!

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Federal Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) Calendar Year 2014 Report

Federal Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)

One of the biggest benefits of federal employment for recent law school graduates is student loan repayment assistance. Federal agencies are authorized to provide up to $10,000 in loan repayment assistance per year for federally-made, insured or guaranteed student loans with a total lifetime cap of $60,000 per employee. In exchange for each year that an employee accepts this benefit, she or he must commit to working for the federal government for an additional three years. If an employee accepts this benefit and leaves (separates either voluntarily or involuntarily) before this period expires, she or he must repay the full amount.

While not all agencies offer this benefit, many do. In 2014, 33 federal agencies provided more than $58.7 million in loan repayment assistance to their employees.  This represents a 6.5 percent increase in the number of agencies offering a loan repayment program from 2013, and a 10.9 percent increase in agencies’ overall financial investment in this particular incentive. However, the average student loan repayment benefit in CY 2014 was $6,937, a 4.1 percent decrease compared to CY 2013.

The five agencies that provided the most loan repayment assistance in CY 2014 were:

Agency Number of Employees Receiving Benefits Total Amount of Assistance Change in Number of Employees Receiving Benefits Change in Total Assistance from CY 2013
Department of Defense 1,774 $12,135,381 -23.5% -25.6%
Department of Justice 1,728 $12,897,251 105.2% 119.5%
Department of State 1,415 $11,136,296 8.7% 2.8%
Veterans Affairs 713 $4,145,654 27.5% 53.5%
Securities and Exchange Commission  

675

$6,170,327 4.6% 6.5%
Subtotal 6,305 $46,485,200    
28 other agencies 2,164 $12,261,655    
Total 8,469 $58,746,855 15.8% 11.0%

 

Most notably, the Securities and Exchange Commission used the majority of its loan repayment funds on mission critical occupations, with Attorney-Advisor being the largest category of recipients (371 attorneys received benefits in CY 14) and the JD advantage position Securities Compliance Examiner (32).  The Department of Veterans Affairs also used a large portion of funding on the JD advantage positions of Contract Specialists (116) and Human Resource Specialists (106).

Overall, departments and agencies report that the use of student loan repayment assistance as a recruitment and retention tool for highly skilled workers has been effective.  For example, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission uses its funds mainly as a retention tool, providing a majority of the benefits to mission critical occupations such as Attorney and Energy Industry Analyst.  Of special note, Housing and Urban Development provided loan repayment assistance to their Presidential Management Fellow in addition to other legally related positions.

Agencies continue to report that the primary barrier to using student loan repayments for recruitment or retention is a lack of overall funding for the program.  Other reported barriers were the corresponding three-year service agreement, the tax liability associated with the student loan repayments, and the yearly cap of $10,000 on benefits.  Some agencies reported candidates were unwilling to commit to three years of service in return for the student loan repayment benefit. Both the tax liability and the cap in relation to rising student loan debt were seen as diminishing the value of the benefit.  However, the primary impediment appears to be need — many agencies do not have hard-to-fill jobs or don’t have difficulty recruiting and retaining employees.

The following departments or agencies provided loan repayment assistance to one or more attorneys: Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Regulatory Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Government Accountability Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Postal Regulatory Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Surface Transportation Board.

The following departments or agencies provided loan repayment assistance to one or more JD advantage positions: Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, Federal Regulatory Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Postal Regulatory Commission, and Securities and Exchange Commission.

Additionally, 9 agencies recently established student loan repayment assistance programs that they did not use in CY 2014.  These agencies include the Agency for International Development, Commodities Futures Trading Commission, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Government Printing Office, National Capital Planning Commission, Office of Government Ethics, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. AbilityOne Commission.

To learn more about the Federal Student Loan Repayment Program, visit opm.gov or contact human resources representatives at the federal agencies in which you are most interested. Click here to view the complete report from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for calendar year 2014.

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Upcoming Equal Justice Works Free Student Debt Webinar

Equal Justice Works is hosting another Free Student Debt Webinar! Check out their message below: 

Our Christmas Gift To You: Free Debt Relief Webinar

It’s the holidays! For law students, ‘tis the season for intense study groups, first semester finals, and (hopefully) a much-needed chance to relax after it’s all over.

We know that the holiday season can be tough. That’s why we’re offering our free monthly webinar,  “Drowning in Debt! What Law Students & Lawyers Need to Know about Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness,” on Thursday, December 17, 2015 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EDT to help student loan borrowers plan out their finances just in time for the new year! Whether you’re currently a law student, recent law graduate, or professional attorney, this webinar will provide you with the information you need to know about Public Service Loan Forgiveness, income-driven repayment plans, and more. Come check it out and learn how to manage your student debt!

New REPAYE Plan Almost Ready for Launch

The Department of Education recently announced the new income-driven REPAYE (Revised Pay As You Earn) plan will be available to borrowers in mid-December! This revamped option will cap your monthly payments at 10% of your discretionary income, and will be available to all undergraduate and graduate federal loan borrowers regardless of when the money was borrowed.

Sounds like a great plan, but there are some potential pitfalls that every savvy borrower should be aware of. We discuss some of these dangers in our latest Huffington Post blog article, “Love and Student Debt: How the New REPAYE Plan Could Affect Marriages,” and we’ll be talking in-depth about the REPAYE plan during our webinar.

We’ll be updating our free student debt e-book Take Control of Your Future to include all the in-depth information you need to know about REPAYE. Download it now to be notified of all updates!

Help Protect Public Service Loan Forgiveness

As always, we urge you to take action to preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness before Congress moves forward with capping or eliminating this vital program for public service workers. In addition to coming to the December 17th webinar for the latest legislative updates, you can join  the ABA’s Save #Loan4Giveness campaign today by taking action via social media!

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. Our webinars are tailored to law students and lawyers, but the information is applicable to anyone who needs help managing the burden of student loan debt. To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter (@EJW_org, #studentdebthelp) and on Facebook!

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Upcoming Equal Justice Works Free Student Debt Webinar

If you’re trying to get a handle on student loans, check out these messages from our friends at Equal Justice Works:

New REPAYE Plan to Launch in December for All Federal Borrowers

In December, REPAYE – or Revised Pay As You Earn – will become available as another repayment option for your federal student loans.

Like the other income-driven repayment plans, REPAYE ties your monthly payments to your earnings. Payments are capped at 10 percent of your discretionary income.

The big deal about the REPAYE plan is that it will be available to all undergraduate and graduate federal student loan borrowers regardless of when the money was borrowed, and there is no partial financial hardship required to qualify. 

There are other key differences between this new plan and other income-driven repayment plans. If you want more information about REPAYE and the other debt relief options available, keep reading!

Want to Learn More about Your Debt Relief Options?

Equal Justice Works is here to help you understand the growing labryinth of student loans! We will be hosting our free webinar, “Drowning in Debt! What Law Students & Lawyers Need to Know about Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness,” on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT. Whether you’re currently a law student or have already graduated, this webinar will provide you with the in-depth information you need to know about Public Service Loan Forgiveness, income-driven repayment plans, and more. Learn to manage your student debt, and take control of your career and financial future.

Click here to register now!

We’ll be updating our student debt e-book, Take Control of Your Future, to keep all law students and graduates up to date on all legislative and regulatory changes that occur. If you download it now, we’ll notify you when we’ve updated it with the new information.

Help Protect Public Service Loan Forgiveness 

As always, we urge you to take action to preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness before Congress moves forward with capping or eliminating this vital program for public service workers. Start today by filling out our survey and joining the ABA’s Save #Loan4Giveness campaign! 

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. Our webinars are tailored to law students and lawyers, but the information is applicable to anyone who needs help managing the burden of student loan debt. To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter (@EJW_org, #studentdebthelp) and on Facebook!

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Upcoming Equal Justice Works Free Student Debt Webinar

Equal Justice Works is hosting another Free Student Debt Webinar! Check out their message below: 

Halloween is almost here! If you’re a law student or graduate, the scariest thing on your mind right now is probably your student loans. 

Not to fear – Equal Justice Works is here to help. We will be hosting our free webinar, “JDs in Debt: What Law Students &Lawyers Need to Know about Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness,” on Thursday, October 27, 2015 from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT. Whether you’re currently a law student or have already graduated, this webinar will provide you with the in-depth information you need to know about Public Service Loan Forgiveness, income-driven repayment plans, and more. Learn to manage your student debt, and take control of your career and financial future. 

Click here to register now! 

We’ll be updating our student debt e-book, Take Control of Your Future, to keep all law students and graduates up to date on any legislative and regulatory changes that occur. If you download it now, we’ll notify you when we’ve updated it with the new information. 

Student Loan Debt Hits 1.2 Trillion, Impacts Multiple Generations of Families 

Recently, the New York Federal Reserve released data showing that student loans for Americans over 40 years old now account for more than 35 percent of educational debt – a 10 percent increase from 2004. Generation X adults between the ages of 35 and 50 years old owe about as much as recent college graduates, with an average of $20,000. 

This data also showed that more parents are struggling to help their children pay for higher education while continuing to pay off their own student loans, and the whopping $1.2 trillion in student loan debt increasingly spans multiple generations within families. Now that the student debt crisis is officially multigenerational, studies show that some families are delaying marriage and foregoing home ownership until their loans become less of a burden. 

Law graduates are no strangers to the collateral consequences of heavy student debt, but thankfully there are still federal debt relief programs around to help. In a recent Huffington Post blog article, “9 Facts About How to Manage Your Student Debt,” we give you a quick rundown of things you need to know about borrowing and repaying student loans that will help alleviate the effects of crippling student debt. 

Help Protect Public Service Loan Forgiveness 

As always, we urge you to take action to preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness before Congress moves forward with capping or eliminating this vital program for public service workers. Start today by filling out our survey and joining the ABA’s Save #Loan4Giveness campaign! 

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. Our webinars are tailored to law students and lawyers, but the information is applicable to anyone who needs help managing the burden of student loan debt. To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter (@EJW_org, #studentdebthelp) and on Facebook!

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Equal Justice Works’ Urgent Call: Help Preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness

When it comes to student debt problems, Equal Justice Works helps us all a lot. They’ve got their student debt blog on the Huffington Post, their free student debt ebook, and their monthly free webinar series JDs in Debt: What Law Students & Lawyers Need to Know about Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness. (The next webinar is Thursday, January 22, from 3pm – 4pm EST, by the way.) Now, EJW needs your help. I’ll let them explain for themselves:

Help Preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) allows borrowers to earn forgiveness of federal student loans after making 10 years of on-time monthly payments while working full-time in a public service position. While we hear from countless borrowers about how critical PSLF is to making a public interest career possible, currently, there is little hard data on who is relying on the program and its impact. You can help by filling out this very quick survey to show the impact the ability to earn forgiveness through PSLF has on your career plans.

This data will be invaluable in helping Equal Justice Works and a coalition of interested groups advocate for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. PSLF is currently being challenged by groups alleging it contributes to rising tuition and unfairly benefits professional and graduate students, including lawyers, doctors and social workers. This spring, the Obama Administration recommended capping PSLF at the undergraduate loan limit (currently $57,500) in its FY 2015 budget request to Congress. Now, Congress might propose a similar cap during the ongoing reauthorization of the Higher Education Act this year.

Your responses will be aggregated for confidentiality. You have the option to share your personal story in the survey if you would like to provide anecdotal evidence of the importance of PSLF. You can also let us know if you would like to be contacted about additional steps you can take to advocate for PSLF, including in Congress.

The deadline for completing the survey is March 2, but please complete it as soon as possible in case Congress acts sooner. Thank you for your help on this urgent issue!

Share and Get Involved

Please share this post with anyone you think might benefit from the free webinar or whose voice should be heard and encourage them to respond to the survey as soon as possible.

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter (@EJW_org, #studentdebthelp) and on Facebook.

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Our Friends at EJW: New Student Debt Blog on the Huffington Post!

Take Control of Your Future - A Guide to Managing Your Student Debt

Our Friends at Equal Justice Works have some news they wanted us to pass along about their new resources to help public interest lawyers tackle their student debt:

We’re excited to announce that Equal Justice Works’ new blog on the Huffington Post is up and running. We’ll use it to provide helpful advice on managing student debt and in-depth analysis on what the latest developments in student debt mean for you.

Go here to check out our recent post, How Public Service Loan Forgiveness Helps Close the Justice Gap.

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Equal Justice Works News: Monthly Webinar WEDNESDAY (Topic–Fixing Public Service Loan Forgiveness)

Equal Justice Works offers free monthly webinars to educate attorneys on how federal programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness can make public interest legal careers financially feasible. Our next webinar is on Wednesday, October 8 from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT.

There has been a spate of proposals recently purporting to “fix” Public Service Loan Forgiveness, including one proposed in a recent task force report from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). Unfortunately, it would gut the program by making it ineffective for many graduate and professional students.

NASFAA recommends forgiveness up to 100% of the independent undergraduate loan limit (currently $57.5K) and 50% of any remaining loan balance up to the graduate aggregate Stafford Loan limit (currently $138.5K). Let’s see how that would work for an average public interest lawyer.

Assume our lawyer has $125,000 in loans (about the average amount borrowed for a private law school) and starts a public interest job at a starting salary of $45,000 (about the mean for a public interest legal job).  If she repays her loans in Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and earns Public Service Loan Forgiveness under NASFAA’s formula, she will still have about $52,000 remaining on her loans. If she remains in IBR to ensure her payments remain affordable, she will be repaying her loans for almost 13 more years.

With tens of millions of low- and moderate-income Americans unable to afford legal services, we need dedicated public interest attorneys more than ever. NASFAA’s proposal to limit the forgiveness graduate and professional students can earn in return for 10 years of dedicated work would erode the law’s core purpose of encouraging a wide range of public interest careers. The result will be far fewer public interest attorneys, as well as teachers, social workers, nurses, and others.

To learn how Public Service currently works – and should continue working – and get information on what’s happening in Congress, register for our free October webinar.

You can also register for free webinars in November and December.

If you register but cannot attend, you will receive a recording of the webinar you can view anytime. 

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