Students and Alumni Push Harvard Law For Financial Support
Harvard Law students and alumni are calling on the school to adjust its annual loan repayment plan amidst rising inflation rates.
The Harvard Crimson reports that more than a hundred Harvard Law students and alumni signed an April letter to Harvard Law Dean John F. Manning advocating for inflation-adjusted financial support to the school’s Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP), a program that reduces the loan repayment burden for graduates in lower-paying public service or private sector positions. As of March, the US has seen an annual inflation rate of 8.5%—the highest rate since late 1981.
“We are writing to express our grave concern about LIPP’s failure to respond to rapid inflation rates and their severe impact on LIPP participants,” the letter states. “We urge HLS to implement an immediate adjustment to LIPP’s participant contribution scale to account for this inflation.”
CALL FOR QUARTERLY ADJUSTMENT
In the letter, students and alumni call on the school “to adopt a policy formalizing and scheduling ongoing, quarterly adjustment of the contribution scale.”
“Adjusting the LIPP scale for inflation, taking into account the Consumer Price Index, would ensure that LIPP support doesn’t decrease, in real terms, year after year,” the letter states.
Harvard officials had the following to say:
“Harvard Law School invests significant resources in financial aid each year – both to make a Harvard Law education as accessible as possible to every student who decides to attend and also to preserve our graduates’ freedom to choose the job that fulfills their highest aspirations, whether that’s in the public, nonprofit, or private sector,” HLS spokesperson Jeff Neal tells the Crimson.
While the letter focuses on the Low Income Protection Plan, signatures include both LIPP participants and current students—an important sign of just how critical the call for help is.
“They’re hearing from alumni all of these frustrating and horror stories about how LIPP is failing them,” Brendan Schneiderman, a 2021 graduate of Harvard Law who helped organize the letter, tells the Crimson. “And so they are advocating not just for current alumni but for themselves, because a few years from now, they’ll be graduates too, and they’ll also be subject to LIPP’s policies.”