Below are the questions we most often hear from graduates. We also recommend all 2022 graduates review the Application Guide for New Graduates and the Understanding Lender Certification Requirements video. In addition, our Glossary of LIPP Terms and Glossary of Loan Terms may both be helpful for guidance as you navigate student loan repayment and communications.
Is my job eligible?
The following are LIPP eligible positions:
- Any job in the public sector is eligible (it does not have to be law-related). The job must be at least part-time (17.5 hours/week) and compensated at a fair rate.
- Law-related jobs in the private sector. The job must be at least part-time (17.5 hours/week) and compensated at a fair rate.
- Clerkships if you plan to enter a LIPP-qualifying position immediately following your clerkship for the same duration as you receive clerkship assistance.
If you have specific questions about eligibility please email a job description to the LIPP office.
When will I be eligible for LIPP?
You are eligible to begin receiving LIPP assistance when your “debt to income ratio” qualifies. This means when your legally obligated (not optional) monthly loan payment amount is greater than the amount you are expected to contribute based on your income. So, if you are not yet working in a LIPP eligible position OR if your loans are not yet in repayment (they are still in grace, deferment, or forbearance), you are not yet eligible for LIPP.
When should I apply?
If you are currently working at least part-time you should apply roughly 5-6 weeks before your first loan payment is due. For the vast majority of graduates, loans will enter repayment in November with your first payment due in early December. Typically there is a 6 month grace period following graduation; however, if you have undergraduate loans which have already entered repayment, you may be eligible depending on your salary. Before your loans enter repayment, your lender can only provide you with an estimate of your monthly payments. For first time applicants we will accept a loan obligation/disclosure statement in lieu of a bill to initiate your award in order to expedite your check if a bill is not available. Please refer to the Understanding Lender Certification Requirements video for instructions regarding acceptable documentation.
If you are unsure when your repayment begins you should contact your lenders directly. You should also notify your lenders if you need to update your contact information.
My loans are on a 20 year repayment term. How do I change them to a 10 year repayment term?
You will need to contact each of your lenders to modify your repayment term. Each lender has their own policies; some will not modify the repayment term until you’re in repayment and others (HUECU) won’t modify the repayment term if repayment has already begun. LIPP will only provide coverage on the amount you are REQUIRED to pay on a monthly basis, so it is important to look through your paperwork now to ensure your loans are on a 10 year repayment term or contact your lenders to determine if and how you can convert them to a 10 year repayment term. **If you currently hold a loan with the Harvard University Employees Credit Union (HUECU) you should contact them prior to entering repayment to convert from a 15 year to a 10 year repayment term. If you wait until you are already in repayment on the HUECU loan the reduction of the repayment term will result in a significant dollar amount being due immediately; that payment would not be eligible for LIPP assistance. Their phone number is 617-495-4460, or you can reach out via email at email@example.com. If you are calling internationally and are not able to dial into the main line it is recommended that you email.**
I keep seeing ads for loan consolidation. Should I consolidate? If I consolidate, will my loans remain LIPP-eligible?
Consolidation can be a beneficial way to reduce the overall cost of your education debt. Therefore, so long as the consolidation is specific to your education loans and maintains the basic characteristics of an education loan (10 year repayment term, fixed rate) it will remain a LIPP eligible loan. Special care should be taken with consolidation/refinancing through a commercial bank loan since some programs may not be designed to qualify as a tax benefit-eligible education loan. For your own protection, you should also consider whether the new loan allows for pre-payment and has forbearance and deferment options. Please refer to our Eligible Refinancing and Consolidation page for more specific information and you should contact the LIPP office PRIOR to initiating the consolidation to verify your continued eligibility.
I don’t have a job yet; should I apply now?
You are not eligible until you begin working at least part-time at an eligible position. You will want to apply one month before you begin working if your loans are in repayment or about to enter repayment. While you are unemployed, you may want to look into putting your loans into short term forbearance or unemployment hardship deferment.
Is volunteering eligible?
No, you must be paid at least local minimum wage in order to be eligible for LIPP.
Is part-time work eligible?
Yes, as long as you are working at least 17.5 hours/week and are compensated at a fair rate. When working part-time we will use a full-time equivalent salary when calculating your LIPP eligibility. You may combine two eligible part-time positions to create full-time employment.
I am being paid by a fellowship. Who should fill out the employer certification?
Please have your placement organization fill out the employer certification and also submit a copy of your fellowship letter with your application materials.
When will I receive my LIPP assistance?
Please refer to the LIPP Processing Timeline.
Will you pay my lenders directly?
No, we do not have any direct contact with your lenders. LIPP will provide you with a check for your eligible coverage, generally for a period of six months, and it is your responsibility to make monthly, on-time payments to each of your lenders. We strongly encourage you to set up automatic debit with your lenders to ensure you are paying the correct amount on-time each month.
Once you begin receiving LIPP your checks will be disbursed in two cycles: January – June and July – December. When it is time to reapply we will email all current participants with instructions.
Can I use my LIPP award to pay off my higher interest rate loans first?
No, you must pay the amount you are billed to each lender on a monthly basis unless they have a different payment schedule (such as quarterly). This is because you are awarded based on those amounts. If you choose to make additional payments towards a loan or a lender you may do so, but you will need to use your own funds to make those payments and your loans must remain in active repayment. LIPP funding cannot be provided if a loan is in a paid ahead status. Please call your servicer before making additional payments to verify how the additional funds will be applied to your balance. If you do not make the monthly payments on which your award was based, for any reason, you will need to repay the portion of the award for which you were ineligible.
Why do I need to apply for LIPP twice a year?
Based on the numerous variables that affect LIPP eligibility it is administratively necessary to create bi-annual awards. This is primarily done to avoid a situation where participants may owe a large repayment due to a change in eligibility factors such as employment, income, marital status, and asset value or a situation where a participant would be owed additional funding due to changes in income or number of dependents.
Can you directly deposit my funds?
Yes. Harvard has partnered with Zelle to provide Direct Deposit to any LIPP participant with a U.S bank account that is associated with Zelle. You can review the Zelle site to determine if your bank can be linked, otherwise LIPP can provide you a paper check. We highly recommend using Zelle if possible as it is the fastest and most secure way to receive your LIPP funds.
It may be beneficial to reach out to your bank to find out if there is a transfer limit (i.e. $2,000 per transfer) when using Zelle. LIPP cannot break up an award and send it in multiple transactions, so if your bank limit is low it may be worth looking into opening a new account with a bank that allows for higher transfer amounts.
Why do I need to submit the W-9?
The W-9 is used to set you up as a vendor in the Accounts Payables system so that we can disburse your LIPP funds. It is only required for U.S. citizens. Check the box marked Individual and be sure to sign it. Note: Non-U.S. citizens will be emailed separately with instructions for different required documentation.