This week’s podcast discusses federal student loan forgiveness programs. We’ll hear from experts Isaac Bowers, Senior Program Manager for Educational Debt & Outreach at Equal Justice Works; Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of finaid.org and fastweb.com; and Heather Jarvis, financial expert at askheatherjarvis.com.
Isaac Bowers begins his comments by explaining the variety of federal loan forgiveness programs available to students after graduating law school, but emphasizes that you must have federal loans to be eligible for these types of forgiveness programs—private loans are not eligible. In addition, he suggests that, although these forgiveness programs exist and can make the debt load of law school manageable, students should first focus on maximizing the amount of grants and scholarships they receive—their goal should be to borrow as little as possible. Bower finishes his comments by reminding students that law school is a considerable financial commitment and that prospective law school applicants should ensure that law is professional field they would like to pursue before signing on the dotted line.
Our second guest, Mark Kantrowitz, discusses various loan forgiveness programs available to students, and talks about the difference between “front end” (i.e., get money during law school) and “back end” (i.e., get repayment assistance after law school) programs. Kantrowitz specifically mentions the public service loan forgiveness program as one that can be very beneficial for future attorneys interested in public defense work.
Our final guest, Heather Jarvis, agrees with our first two guests and reiterates that federal loan forgiveness programs can be incredibly beneficial for many people. She also mentions that these programs are, for the most part, only for federal loans, and so encourages students to ensure that all of their student loans are federal, as private loans will not be taken into consideration. In closing, Jarvis reminds students that these programs are not automatic—there is a lot of paperwork to be filed and details to be considered in order to take advantage of these programs, so students should make sure to start early and complete all required paperwork well ahead of program deadlines.