Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP)

The Law School is a remarkable place; no other law school has the faculty, library, financial aid resources, or research programs that Harvard does.  But what makes Harvard Law School truly special is its people.  The School attracts and recruits spectacular students who use their exceptional intelligence, passion and determination to make the most of what the Law School has to offer.  Many go on to work as government attorneys, human rights activists, champions of civil rights, and advocates for traditionally underserved populations.  Given the significant educational debt burden of today’s graduates, such careers might not be feasible without loan repayment assistance.  Through the Low Income Protection Plan, or LIPP, Harvard Law School is committed to preserving freedom of career choice within the legal profession for its graduates.

Introduced in 1978, LIPP was the first program at any law school to address the problem of loan repayment for graduates in lower-income jobs.  Participants in LIPP allocate a limited portion of their income toward their eligible student loan payment, and receive direct assistance from the Law School to cover the remainder of their payment.  Because the program is entirely need-based, graduates can qualify for benefits simply by providing documentation of eligible employment, income, and required loan repayment.  LIPP covers both public sector and law-related private sector employment, subject to the financial need criteria, and does not require participants to repay loans on an artificially extended term, making it the most flexible and comprehensive program of its kind.

LIPP is an essential part of Harvard Law School’s broad need-based financial aid program, which also provides grant assistance to eligible students and support for unpaid summer public service internships.  A recent survey of entering J.D. students showed that LIPP was the most influential financial aid factor in their decision to enroll at Harvard Law School.  This is most likely because LIPP represents a potential form of assistance to every student borrower—over 80% of students receive loan assistance—and because prospective students are attracted to an educational program that offers them the widest range of career options.  In the competition for the strongest students, an outstanding loan repayment assistance program like LIPP is a necessity.

In recent years the percentage of Harvard Law School graduates entering public service immediately after graduation has increased.  This has spurred a growth in the LIPP participation from over 300 annual participants five years ago to over 500 today.  The strong support for LIPP, even through a difficult economy, demonstrates the Law School’s continued commitment to offering students and graduates an unsurpassed educational experience backed by the widest possible array of career opportunities. Over the coming months we will be profiling some of the talented and distinguished alumni who have participated in LIPP. Please check back often for new perspectives and updated content.

Last modified: June 24, 2014

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