In an effort to reduce the pressures on Law School students to seek jobs with high-paying firms, the Law School Financial Aid Committee has submitted a proposal to its faculty that would make the terms for payment of student loans easier for graduates with low yearly incomes.
The proposal applies to graduates earning less than $15,000 a year and calls for the initial allocation of $50,000 to a fund which would absorb up to 50 per cent of a given loan. It would also significantly extend the time in which an alumnus must repay the remainder.
The proposal would apply to loans from commercial lenders and educational sources as well as to Law School funded loans.
The Office of Financial Aid requires law students to attempt to gain an outside loan before turning to Law School aid.
Russel A. Simpson, director of Financial Aid at the Law School, said yesterday the committee developed the proposal to "deal with the basic problem of some students feeling an impingement on their career choices because of subsequent Law School debts."
"The facts of the matter are quite clear," Simpson said. "Student debts are growing at a very fast rate, and students feel their options limited."
Patricia A. Lydon, assistant dean and director of Admissions and Financial Aid in the Law School, said yesterday the committee needs experience with the program to determine whether an allocation of $50,000 a year will be sufficient.
Lyndon said she could not predict how many students would use the program or what its impact might be. She added that the committee may recommended to increase that figure after the first year.
Under the proposal, eligible graduates would agree to pay 6 per cent of their yearly income toward their educational debt. After the initial five years under this arrangement, the Office of Financial Aid would yearly "forgive" students of 5 per cent of their debt, for a maximum of ten years (50 per cent).
The proposal holds the alumni responsible for the remainder of their educational debts, but permits them to disperse the last 50 per cent over a longer period of time than does the present system of loan repayment.
Members of the Law School Faculty contacted last night said they favored the proposal, although most added they have yet to study it closely.
Student reaction to the proposal appears mixed. Sheila A. Kuehl, president of the Law School Council, said last week, "I think this is certainly a move on the part of the school--if not to make it easier for someone to go into public interest law--to remove one of the major barriers."
Derrick D. Cephas '75, a second year law student, said yesterday he was critical of the proposal for not going far enough to alleviate students' financial burdens.
"Admittedly, it's better than no effort at all," Cephas said, adding, "However, the burden of repaying sizable loans may still remain."
"I've been a ward of educational institutions long enough, already," he said.