Challenges to the Delivery of Aid to Low-Income Individuals: Proposed Cuts to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
The average law school graduate has accrued $140,616 in debt upon graduation, while the median starting salary for a public interest attorney is $46,000 (a new associate at a large private firm in a major city will make on average $160,000). Medical school graduates fare even worse, with average loans of $180,000. In an effort to help attract professionals to public interest work, in 2007 Congress enacted the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). The Program forgives the remaining balance on direct loans after 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer. When President Obama released his proposed FY2015 budget last spring, it contained a troubling recommendation: a cap on PSLF benefits of $57,500, as well as other changes.
A recent survey conducted by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) provides evidence that, at least in the legal profession, PSLF is helping promote long-term public interest careers. Over 2,000 public interest attorneys responded to the NLADA's survey.
- 70% of respondents state that one of their reasons for taking their current job was because it enables them to earn PSLF.
- 49% responded they would not have taken their current position or they would likely leave for a different position with a higher salary if a $57,000 cap was instituted.
Join Us For:
- An overview of the proposed caps led by the OneJustice Staff.
- An informative discussion on the impact the cap may have on graduates entering public service, law school loan forgiveness programs and the ability of our legal aid and other safety net organizations to meet the needs of their clients.
- Ideas and information about how the funder community can share their concerns and respond.
Johanna Hartwig is the Assistant Dean for Career Planning & Legal Community Engagement at the University of San Francisco School of Law. Johanna leads USF's career services program, assisting both current students and alumni. Previously, Johanna practiced general commercial litigation in San Francisco, first at Morrison & Foerster LLP and then at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. Johanna holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan. While earning her law degree, Johanna also earned a Masters in Public Policy.
Victor Ho is the Director of Financial Aid at University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Victor leads Hasting's financial aid office and guides students through the process of financing their law school education. Previously Victor served as the Assistant Director of Financial Aid University of The Pacific - Arthur Dugoni School of Dentistry. Victor holds a M.B.A. in finance from Golden Gate University.
Kim Irish is Director of OneJustice's Healthy Nonprofits Program. She directs the Executive Fellowship Program, and develops continuing education programs for Alumni of the program. She oversees OneJustice's consulting work, providing training, resources, and coaching to the Boards of Directors and Executives of legal service nonprofits throughout California on governance, fundraising, and strategic planning. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature and Spanish from the University of California, Davis, and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law.
Christopher McKonkey is a Staff Attorney in the Healthy Nonprofits Program at OneJustice. Chris provides legal support for OneJustice's consulting and public policy work. Prior to joining OneJustice, Chris was a staff attorney at the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project. Chris holds a J.D. from UCLA School of Law and a B.A. in political Science from Amherst College.
This event is open to NCG members and non-member funders. Program staff and senior leaders are encouraged to attend.
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