Skip to content

Many law schools have loan repayment assistance (LRAP) programs, but no two are run in exactly the same way. As a prospective law student, LRAPs may be of great interest to you in making your final choice about schools. 

At HLS, graduates have the advantage of choosing between two programs depending on their career plans and borrowing preferences. There are several key points you should consider when comparing LRAPs at other schools to the Traditional Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP) and the HLS PSLF Based Plan (the Plan), Harvard Law School’s two programs: 

What kind of jobs are covered? 

LIPP has among the broadest job coverage of LRAPs in existence. LIPP covers all public sector/government/academic jobs (whether law-related or not), and also covers law-related private sector jobs (like small firm jobs, firms outside of major cities, for-profit academic institutions, or “in-house counsel” for small businesses). 

The Plan follows the employment guidelines of the U.S. Department of Education in respect to the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Typically, qualifying employment is any job for a government, public sector, or academic organization (nonprofit only) in the United States, or overseas for a U.S. based employer, that meets eligibility criteria. 

Does the LRAP use the standard repayment terms of the loans? 

LIPP uses the standard repayment term (typically 10 years) of loans. This means that your LIPP benefits are based on the actual amount you are required to repay. Loan repayment assistance at some other schools is calculated on a longer repayment term, such as 15 years. By using an extended repayment term your benefits from the LRAP are smaller and you will make slower progress repaying your loans. In effect, that is like receiving assistance on 75% of your eligible loan debt instead of 100% of your eligible loan debt. 

On the Plan, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education, qualifying repayment plans for the PSLF program are those that are income-driven, including the Saving on a Valuable Education Plan (SAVE Plan), Pay As You Earn Plan (PAYE Plan), Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR Plan), and Income Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR Plan). Individuals can also choose to switch into the Plan from Traditional LIPP, as payments made on the standard repayment term are also eligible. Participants doing so will need to switch onto an IDR term in order to qualify for forgiveness. 

What loans are eligible for coverage? 

LIPP eligible borrowing includes your law school education loans except borrowing done to replace the student resource calculation . LIPP does cover borrowing done to replace assessed parent resources. In addition, up to $2,000 in approved borrowing for purchasing a computer and up to $15,000 in borrowing for bar-related expenses are LIPP eligible. LIPP also covers up to $50,000 of combined undergraduate debt and debt incurred while pursuing an approved joint degree program. LIPP covers student loans from both Federal and private lenders. 

Eligible loans on the Plan include all loans borrowed at HLS through the federal Direct Loan program, up to the standard student financial aid budget, minus the LIPP student resource calculation and any HLS Grant assistance. Federal Perkins Loans and federal loans borrowed from the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program are eligible for PSLF once they are consolidated through the federal Direct Loan Consolidation process.  Under the HLS PSLF-based program, coverage is not available for private loans of any kind. Private loans include loans from non-federal lenders, bar study loans, loans from the Harvard Student Loan Office, and privately refinanced loans. 

Is there a salary ceiling? 

LIPP has no fixed salary ceiling. Each graduate’s salary “max out” point is determined by their need-based borrowing. The more eligible borrowing, the higher the salary that qualifies for LIPP. 

Similarly, there is no fixed salary ceiling on the Plan. Participants are no longer eligible at the point in which their monthly IDR payments as calculated by their federal loan servicer exceeds monthly payments on the standard repayment term. 

Can you enter the LRAP at any time after graduation? 

LIPP has no limiting “participation window.” As long as you are still repaying eligible education loans, you can qualify for LIPP assistance. 

Graduates may enter the Plan at any time after graduation and may receive up to 120 months of assistance, inclusive of assistance received via the traditional LIPP program. Participants may submit an appeal to defer their benefit for up to two years. HLS benefits will cease 12 years after entering the Plan. 

Can I work part time? 

Part-time work is eligible for LIPP, as long as it is at least 17.5 hours per week. The LIPP income is calculated at the full-time equivalent salary. 

To be eligible for PSLF, the participant’s employment must be at least 30 hours per week. A participant may also work multiple PSLF-eligible positions which combine to a full-time position of 30 hours per week. 

Are there allowances for dependents or parental leave?  

LIPP covers loans during parental leave (for up to six months). There are also allowances for dependent care and daycare.  

Under the terms of the Plan, coverage is not available for periods of transition, including unemployment, volunteer employment, or less than full-time employment outside of an employer-approved leave which qualifies under the federal guidelines of the PSLF program. This is because payments made during these periods are not eligible for forgiveness under PSLF.  

Do I have to repay LRAP assistance if I leave my eligible job? 

LIPP does not require participants to repay assistance, except in rare clerkship cases as clerkship employment has additional post-clerkship requirements. 

Under the Plan, participants will be required to repay the entirety of the funds received from HLS if they enter into a non-eligible position before completing 36 months in the program, unless forgiveness is achieved through PSLF, whichever is sooner. 

Please review the LIPP and Plan sections of our website for more program details.