Reducing Loan Debt for Law Students

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According to the June 17th mainstreet.com article, ''6 Surprising Ways to Tackle Law School Debt'', the non-profit education group American Student Assistance reports that ''law school graduates face an average of about $80,000 of debt from their degrees, not including undergraduate debt.'' That translates to more than double what an average MBA graduate has to repay in loans; around $32,000, and the average Ph.D.; about $45,000.

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However, there are savings opportunities for law graduates that other students may not have. Look into the following:

Seek state funded aid. The American Bar Association (ABA) sponsors 24 state law degree student aid programs. To qualify for this type of assistance, most likely the student will need to practice in the state from which he or she is requesting aid.

Public service is an option. In 2007, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, or CCRAA, was passed. Under this law, law graduates may qualify for the following two programs:

Income-based repayment (IBR). The IBR is a repayment plan that can greatly decrease the monthly student loan payments on federal loans by capping payments at a percentage of the grad's take-home pay.

Public service loan forgiveness (PSLF). A major breakthrough for public interest lawyers, the PSLF allows for total forgiveness of ''any remaining federal direct loans after an individual has made 120 qualifying monthly loan payments while working in a qualifying public service position'', per the mainstreet.com article.

Law school assistance programs. Many law schools take part in an industry-wide program to help new law graduates reduce and manage their debt. Approximately 100 U.S. law schools offer loan repayment assistance programs.

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Pay more than the minimum. As with any loan, thousands of dollars can be saved in interest can be saved by paying more than the minimum due each month. Law school graduates are no exception.

Federal Student Aid. Check out the government's website to help you consolidate multiple loans. This can result in lower monthly payments.

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