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Northwestern Law Announces Innovative Plan to Reduce Student Debt

‘Interest Freedom Plan’ to pay loan interest for graduates earning less than $85,000

CHICAGO --- Concerns about educational debt have a well-documented impact on student learning, career choices and post-graduate well-being. Northwestern University School of Law takes these concerns very seriously and has been actively working to address the issue in a variety of ways.

The “Interest Freedom Plan” (IFP) will assist recent graduates who pursue positions in the private sector that pay less than $85,000 per year, as well as graduates who are unemployed as a result of extended job searches.

The program is open to Juris Doctor graduates, beginning with the Class of 2015. The benefit period will begin six months after graduation -- the month student loans enter repayment -- and continue for up to 12 months.

“The majority of Northwestern Law graduates will continue to accept offers of employment from prominent law firms throughout the country,” said Daniel B. Rodriguez, dean of Northwestern University School of Law. “This has been a common path for our graduates. The employment outlook for our students in this sector remains strong -- indeed, near the top among the nation’s leading law schools.”

“But the employment picture is changing,” he continued. “More of our graduates are pursuing careers in business, in the tech sector and in startups, reflecting the changes in the marketplace and, in particular, the growing strengths of our innovative programs at the intersection of law, business and technology.

“Moreover, some of our students are pursuing less traditional, less immediately lucrative positions, and some, albeit a small number, undertake job searches that extend into the period during which they would begin repaying their student loans. Our goal is to assist these students as they embark upon highly successful and hopefully satisfying lifelong careers.”

IFP represents a significant departure from traditional Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP), designed to provide relief to graduates pursuing careers in the public sector. IFP will work in concert with Northwestern Law’s LRAP.

IFP is in addition to Northwestern Law’s significant augmentation of both merit- and need-based financial aid and tempered tuition increases for the last five years.

“Northwestern Law is committed to educating students regardless of their financial circumstances,” Rodriguez said. “We will continue to invest substantially in our students through financial aid and creatively in our graduates through programs like IFP.”

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