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Harvard Announces New Public Interest Financial Aid Program

Harvard Announces New Public Interest Financial Aid Program
« on: March 16, 2008, 09:18:36 PM »
Writing from beautiful Cambridge, MA:

Here at the ASW today, Toby Stock and the public interest advising office staff announced (after it was discussed at the Celebration of Public Interest during the few days prior) a new program to benefit students interested in going into public interest careers.

While they said details are still being finalized and therefore what I'm writing here might be slightly off (an announcement should come some time later this week, it was suggested), they said that basically you would probably need to do some clinical/course credits to show that you were into PI, do a summer doing PI, and commit to 5 years of PI work post-graduation...and that would entitle you to having FREE tuition for your 3L year. You could wait until you had already been at HLS for a while before needing to decide if you wanted to take advantage of the offer, and there would be no limit on the number of people who choose to do it.

Dean Kagan emphasized that while HLS's LIPP program is, in her opinion, one of the two best in the country currently, many students are still scared by debt (even when LIPP would be sufficient to help them), so they wanted to do something that would help with the *perception* of debt paralysis for those interested in PI work.

The mood at the ASW following the announcement = pretty happy. I saw a lot of faces light up in excitement. :)

Re: Harvard Announces New Public Interest Financial Aid Program
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2008, 09:42:00 PM »
Tag.  Will anything that qualifies for LIPP qualify for this program?  Or will it be more restrictive?

Cabra

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Re: Harvard Announces New Public Interest Financial Aid Program
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2008, 09:45:29 PM »
Let's hope that Harvard will be a trendsetter in this area. :)

Re: Harvard Announces New Public Interest Financial Aid Program
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2008, 12:16:49 AM »
You know, my first reaction was that this would absolutely cinch my decision for Harvard.  But as I think about it more, it strikes me as still-wonderful, but less spectacular than my initial impression.

For one thing, you lose the major virtue of LIPP: its flexibility.  You can do public service work for one year or five years and still preserve your options -- you simply lose the benefit.  Here, they're demanding a commitment from you.  With LIPP, eight years gave you 80% of the benefit; five years, 50%; 2 years, 20%.  Presumably, with this program, you get 100% at five years but 0% for four.  It costs options in a way that LIPP doesn't.  In some ways, I'd rather carry the extra $60K in debt and throw myself at LIPP's mercy.

More importantly, I think HLS is misassessing the source of "debt paralysis."  My hesitation with LIPP is not the raw fact of carrying debt around, it's the contingency on staying unmarried for the next thirteen years of my life.*  To me, a reduction in the marriage penalty -- or an elimination a la Columbia's new LRAP -- would be much more compelling. [Retraction: Columbia's LRAP does not eliminate the marriage penalty; I had taken the word of another poster (here) which turned out to be incorrect.]

(*Obviously the marriage penalty is complicated; I could always insist on marrying a homemaker or otherwise imposing an income ceiling on my romantic life, but somehow I don't think that sort of recidivism is what Harvard has in mind.)

Yak Herder

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Re: Harvard Announces New Public Interest Financial Aid Program
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2008, 10:13:01 AM »
Let's hope that Harvard will be a trendsetter in this area. :)

Yes! This should be standard practice.  Between the CCRAA and initiatives like these, there's at least some movement toward helping those non- (or anti-) BigLaw aspirants among us.  (Toby...call me!)

Re: Harvard Announces New Public Interest Financial Aid Program
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2008, 11:05:34 AM »
Let's hope that Harvard will be a trendsetter in this area. :)

It's too late for that.  Ever hear of a little thing called THE RAPPAPORT CENTER??  It opened up at Suffolk last year.  http://www.law.suffolk.edu/rappaport/

I haven't applied to either school but I live in the area and I heard about Suffolk's cutting edge center as it opened.  I am sure that the windbags at Harvard would love to claim that they're the trendsetters in this area but they're clearly not.

Re: Harvard Announces New Public Interest Financial Aid Program
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2008, 11:36:37 AM »
*cough, come to CLS, cough*

It's definitely on my mind.  I'll be visiting there in a couple weeks.  Despite the enthusiasm of the admissions offices at Harvard and Yale, financial aid and fellowships haven't panned out despite extensive investigation.  And LIPP and COAP, again, mean I most likely forfeit most or all of my eligibility upon marriage.

The Hamilton is definitely looking tempting.  Nonprofit work and $200K worth of debt don't exactly mix well.

ManTGeo

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Re: Harvard Announces New Public Interest Financial Aid Program
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2008, 02:59:00 PM »
Let's hope that Harvard will be a trendsetter in this area. :)

It's too late for that.  Ever hear of a little thing called THE RAPPAPORT CENTER??  It opened up at Suffolk last year.  http://www.law.suffolk.edu/rappaport/

I haven't applied to either school but I live in the area and I heard about Suffolk's cutting edge center as it opened.  I am sure that the windbags at Harvard would love to claim that they're the trendsetters in this area but they're clearly not.

I'm confused? What does that have to do with guaranteed free 3L tuition for anyone who wants it and has the service commitment, from a top-3 law school?

Cabra

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Re: Harvard Announces New Public Interest Financial Aid Program
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2008, 03:24:48 PM »
Let's hope that Harvard will be a trendsetter in this area. :)

It's too late for that.  Ever hear of a little thing called THE RAPPAPORT CENTER??  It opened up at Suffolk last year.  http://www.law.suffolk.edu/rappaport/

I haven't applied to either school but I live in the area and I heard about Suffolk's cutting edge center as it opened.  I am sure that the windbags at Harvard would love to claim that they're the trendsetters in this area but they're clearly not.

Clearly Harvard didn't invent public interest law or support for it (neither did Suffolk for that matter) but it thrills me to see law schools try to one up each other in the in the public interest/lrap/lipp department. When Harvard makes a big splashy move like this it's good for everybody--law schools from #1-50 will get more innovative and generous with their public interest programs so they can say they've got something that compares to Harvard--it's just good marketing.

Re: Harvard Announces New Public Interest Financial Aid Program
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2008, 07:30:30 PM »
Let's hope that Harvard will be a trendsetter in this area. :)

It's too late for that.  Ever hear of a little thing called THE RAPPAPORT CENTER??  It opened up at Suffolk last year.  http://www.law.suffolk.edu/rappaport/

I haven't applied to either school but I live in the area and I heard about Suffolk's cutting edge center as it opened.  I am sure that the windbags at Harvard would love to claim that they're the trendsetters in this area but they're clearly not.

Clearly Harvard didn't invent public interest law or support for it (neither did Suffolk for that matter) but it thrills me to see law schools try to one up each other in the in the public interest/lrap/lipp department. When Harvard makes a big splashy move like this it's good for everybody--law schools from #1-50 will get more innovative and generous with their public interest programs so they can say they've got something that compares to Harvard--it's just good marketing.

Hey, kids...uh, anyone know if this is only for Class of 2011 and beyond...or whatever? Um, super. Greatsuperthanksbye.