Also, most top tier schools have loan repayment programs for those who pursue public interest careers, so the low salaries don't make it impossible.
From what I've heard, loan forgiveness is a joke. They have a limit on how much you can make to be eligible, and it's something like 35k. For those of us making 40k, which is still dirt little in NYC... yeah, you get the picture.
Karen, the programs vary from school to school.