Harvard Law School students and graduates plead for inflation-adjusted financial support | News
More than 100 Harvard Law School students and alumni signed a letter last week calling on the school to adjust its low-income protection plan to rising inflation rates.
The Low Income Protection Plan is a program that provides financial support to HLS graduates pursuing a career in public interest law. Launched in 1978, the program covers a portion of the annual graduate loan repayment with the aim of easing the financial obligations of students in government jobs, which often pay less than corporate law positions.
In an April 8 letter to John F. Manning Law School Dean ’82, 136 HLS Affiliates wrote that the program “does not provide the level of support advertised when we elected to participate in HLS.”
“We are writing to express our grave concern over the LIPP’s inability to respond to rapid rates of inflation and their severe impact on LIPP participants,” the letter said. “We urge HLS to implement an immediate adjustment to the LIPP participant fee schedule to account for this inflation.”
The annual inflation rate in the United States was 8.5% for the 12-month period ending in March 2022, the highest rate the country has seen since the end of 1981.
The letter called on the school “to adopt a policy formalizing and scheduling an 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 does not decline, in real terms, year after year,” he said.
In a statement, HLS spokesperson Jeff Neal wrote that the school “will continue to work with students and graduates to help them thrive in law school and pursue the career options of their choice”.
“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 the freedom of our graduates. to choose the work that meets their highest aspirations, whether it is in the public, non-profit or private sector,” he wrote.
Brendan Schneiderman, a 2021 law school graduate who helped organize the letter to Manning, noted that the signatories to the letter include not only LIPP participants, but also current students.
“They hear from former students all these frustrating and horrible stories about how the LIPP is failing them,” he said. “And so they’re not just advocating for current alumni, but for themselves, because in a few years they will also graduate and also be subject to LIPP policies.”
Schneiderman also pointed to the growth in the University’s endowment, valued at $53.2 billion, amid the pandemic.
“Not only is Harvard dropping the ball by coming to support these students, but it’s actually benefiting and its endowment is growing nonetheless,” he said.