The job market for lawyers, here in New Jersey and elsewhere, has been abysmal for quite a while now, while enrollment in law schools is just now beginning to slack off. Lots of people are graduating and not able to find a job. If they do, it is not for the salaries they were promised by their school that they would get. In the meantime, they often are carrying over $100,000 in student loan debt.
Lately the solution for this has been to bring suit against the law schools for fraudulent misrepresentation. They were told that a high percentage of their graduates got jobs soon after graduation, when the actual employment rate was much lower. Unfortunately, many of those suits have been dismissed.
So What Is the Right Solution?
Although I find their legal arguments intriguing, I do not think that this approach is the right way to solve their problem. If a majority of their debt is from Graduate PLUS loans through the Federal Department of Education, then there are many options to help them find an affordable payment plan.
Graduates usually do not opt for a specific repayment plan after the grace period ends, and as such got stuck in a standard, ten year fixed payment plan. At a 7.9% interest rate, a $100,000 balance will set them back $1,208 per month! But income based repayment (IBR) and income contingent repayment (ICR) plans can lower this significantly, and extend the repayment period from 10 to 25 years!
A payment under ICR on that same balance, while earning a $35,000 annual salary, would be about $397.17! Also, consider that trying to pay $1,208 per month on $35,000 per year would be quite a financial hardship. As such you could qualify for IBR. If approved for that repayment plan, with the same salary and family size (just you), they would be paying $228 per month!
So What Do I Do?
If you are a graduate of a law school here in New Jersey, and you are struggling to pay back your federal student loans,I may be able to be of assistance. Just download this questionnaire, fill it out, and then fax it to me at 856-686-9911 or e-mail it to me. I will then review it to determine if I can be of assistance and contact you to discuss representation.