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Pepperdiine University School of Law

This Law School Received a Historic Multi-Million Dollar Gift

Pepperdine Law has received a $50 million from Billionaire Rick Caruso to expand law education for underserved students.

The multi-million dollar gift, the largest in the school’s history, will help low-income and underserved students attend, pay off student loans, and pursue public service careers, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“The lack of affordable education in our nation and the student debt crisis is not only inhibiting underprivileged students from gaining equal opportunity to education, but also discouraging potential students from exploring careers in public service, roles that have a critical impact on society,” Caruso says in a press release. “My sincere hope is that this gift will be one of the first steps towards reducing the barrier to entry for these students and will inspire the next generation of public servants.”

INCREASED SCHOLARSHIP ACCESS, EXPANDED LOAN FORGIVENESS

The average loan debt of Pepperdine Law students is $144,000 with more than half of the average incoming class receiving scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $57,000, according to the LA Times.

With the new donation from Caruso, the law school will be able to double scholarship funds for underserved students to about 30%.

Additionally, the gift will be used to help grow a loan forgiveness program that the Caruso family created years ago.

Since the program’s fruition, roughly 70 students have been able to pay off their debt under the condition that they enter a public service law career, according to the LA Times.

Law school officials say that they hope to help all students who qualify for the program cover loan payments for 10 years.

“The biggest barrier to going into public service law is student loans,” Michelle Stilwell, who graduated from Pepperdine in 2016 with a six-figure student loan debt, tells the LA Times. “Deep down, people choose to go into law to help people, but the more you realize the financial repercussions, it can be terrifying.”

Sources: LA Times, Pepperdine Law

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