Funding Your Post-Grad Public Interest Career

We understand that public interest work often presents financial challenges to students and graduates with significant educational debt burdens. The following resources are designed to help make post-graduation public interest careers financially feasible. If you are looking for information on funding your summer or academic-year position, please visit our Scholarships and Summer Funding page.

Post-Graduate Fellowship Programs

Post-graduate fellowships represent one important way that students launch their public interest careers. For project-based fellowships, the applicant, often in conjunction with an organization, proposes a project to address an unmet legal need and applies for funding. Organizations may also advertise potential projects that they would like to sponsor and interview potential fellows to lead the project before applying for funding. Fellowships may also be recurring positions based at specific organizations, or they may be entrepreneurial, designed to fund a new public interest legal organization.

GW Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)

The GW Law Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) helps JD graduates in wide variety of public interest positions realize their career goals by providing financial assistance to meet their law school student loan obligations. LRAP provides assistance in the form of annual loans made to assist with loan payments, which are then forgiven completely at the end of the year, provided that the graduate remains in qualifying public interest employment. Awards are determined based on the graduate’s salary and the application of a formula designed to maximize the equity of the distribution of available program funds.

Federal Loan Repayment Assistance

JD graduates, regardless of their type of employment, may be eligible for federal loan repayment assistance. The federal government currently offers several potential options, including (1) income-driven repayment plans, which cap loan payments based on the graduate’s income and debt level, but do not require the graduate to be working in a specific type of position; and (2) Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which results in the forgiveness of loan debt for graduates who have worked in qualifying public service positions for a specified period of time. The following resources, provided by Equal Justice Works, provide more information on these programs.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Coalition

The PSLF Coalition consists of more than 90 organizations committed to supporting Public Service Loan Forgiveness. PSLF is the only educational debt program specifically targeted at public service professionals. For those with the passion and qualifying education, but also educational debt, PSLF makes a career in public service  possible. ​