Launch of pioneering Ph.D. program bolsters Harvard’s leadership in quantum science and engineering


In the middle of the 20th century, mathematicians, physicists, and engineers at Harvard began work that would lay the foundations for a new field of study, the applications of which would change the world in ways unimaginable at the time. These pioneering computer scientists helped develop the theory and technology that would usher in the digital age.

Harvard is once again taking a leading role in a scientific and technological revolution — this time in the field of quantum science and engineering. Today, the University launched one of the world’s first Ph.D. programs in the subject, providing the foundational education for the next generation of innovators and leaders who will transform quantum science and engineering into next-level systems, devices, and applications. MORE

Preparing students for oral exams – How to do it online?

Sanako’s next Webinar provides examples of how language teachers can utilize technology to prepare students for oral exams effectively!

About this Event

In this webinar, you’ll hear from Florian Busch, a language teacher who will share his insights on how online language learning tools have helped his institution prepare students for formal oral examinations. He will also highlight the role that bespoke individual online learning plans play in that success.

When: Thursday, 29th April 2021 at 19.00 (EET)

Specifically designed to help educators and institutions to save significant amounts of time and energy, the webinar will demonstrate how online tools can transform your approach to oral language assessment. We’ll also show how voice recording and online feedback loops can be easily deployed to engage and motivate students. MORE

How to land a job with USAID

With a field presence in some 80 countries and programs in a further 20 countries, the U.S. Agency for International Development has approximately 9,000 employees worldwide.

Black businesswoman in conference room with co-workers

The agency hires for a range of technical, managerial, and operational roles to further U.S. interests overseas while tackling global challenges, such as poverty, disease, and climate change, in low- and middle-income countries. USAID staff work with U.S. and foreign partners to provide assistance in the areas of global health, global stability, humanitarian assistance, innovation and partnerships, and women and girls’ empowerment.

USAID’s workforce is made up of direct-hire and contract employees based in the U.S. and in field missions around the world. Staff fall under three major categories: civil service employees, foreign service officers, and foreign service nationals. MORE

MBA – Tech Companies That Won the Pandemic Are Snapping Up M.B.A.s

Amazon, Zoom and others swoop in with job offers as some of the biggest traditional hirers of business-school graduates pull back

Tech companies whose businesses have surged during the pandemic—like Amazon . com Inc. and Zoom Video Communications Inc. —are snagging more of the M.B.A. talent entering the workforce, helping to offset pullbacks by industries harder hit by the Covid-19 economy.

Openings for tech positions rose at 57% of full-time Masters of Business Administration programs this past fall, according to a survey of nearly 100 schools by industry group MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance. Overall, though, it has been a lackluster recruiting season at business schools, the survey found, as nearly half reported an overall decline in opportunities for students.

Sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, such as retail and energy, have pulled back their M.B.A. recruiting, according to the report. That is especially the case for companies in the hospitality industry, which 61% of business schools said have cut back job opportunities.

Nearly half the schools also reported a decline in recruiting from consulting firms—traditionally some of the biggest hirers of M.B.A. graduates every year. Several of those firms, including PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Bain & Co., said last year that they planned to make fewer hires among second-year M.B.A. candidates, beyond those who interned in the summer. MORE

The 15 Master’s Degrees With the Best Return on Investment

Going to grad school is expensive: more than half of master’s degree students leave school with an average student loan balance of $66,000, according to federal statistics.

Sure, getting your master’s degree can pave the way to a bump in your pay, but a higher salary won’t give you more spending power if you’re also paying down tons of debt. On the other hand, a large debt load isn’t as crushing if you’re earning six figures. Experts often suggest that for student debt payments to be affordable, they need to be below about 10% to 15% of your monthly income. That’s why it’s smart to look at both the typical debt and salary of students graduating from a particular program to determine whether it’ll pay off.

To help with your research, Money analyzed the average student debt and earnings from graduates of over 200 master’s degrees at more than 1,500 colleges, to see which ones have the best early return on investment. For more details on how we got these results, check out the methodology at the end.

1. Electrical Engineering

  • Average debt: $25,762
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $98,880
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 3.2%

This degree snags the top spot with a debt-to-income ratio that is lower than nearly every other program in the dataset. With a master’s in electrical or electronics engineering, you can specialize in communication systems, power systems, and renewable energy. A graduate degree can also help you move toward management roles in the field. Graduates are in high demand in growing industries, including energy and technology.

2. Mechanical Engineering

  • Average debt: $30,611
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $83,705
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 4.4%

If designing and building machinery is something you dream about, then a master’s in mechanical engineering could be a solid fit for you — even if you studied another field as an undergrad. Although a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is preferred, most schools will allow other disciplines that require heavy math and science courses to apply for this track, including physics and aerospace majors. Mechanical engineers can specialize in areas as wide-ranging as robotics, auto research, and heating and cooling systems.

3. Taxation

  • Average debt: $29,000
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $76,806
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 4.7%

This program is just what it sounds like: you’ll learn the ins and outs of state, federal, corporate, and individual tax regulations. But that doesn’t mean your career prospects will be limited to tax prep or auditing. This degree also serves as training for roles like a financial manager, certified public accountant (CPA) or chief financial officer — all of which have a high earning potential.

4. Civil Engineering

  • Average debt: $29,643
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $73,650
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 4.9%

Civil engineers have been around since ancient times (Roman aqueducts, anyone?) and are responsible for some of the world’s most recognizable structures, like the Eiffel Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge. But the field is anything but antiquated. Newer specializations, like intelligent systems engineering, involve designing eco-friendly and technology-powered structures and systems. Regardless of your specialty, a master’s degree in civil engineering can increase your earnings by almost $14,000 a year over a bachelor’s degree, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

5. Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods

  • Average debt: $40,426
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $87,924
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 5.9%

Calling all numbers nerds: This degree will prepare you to collect, analyze and manage data to help businesses and organizations solve problems. You’ll be able to work as an actuary, financial analyst, insurance underwriter, or as a statistician, which is one of the fastest-growing occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

6. Clinical Nursing/Nursing Administration

  • Average debt: $49,052
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $99,358
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 6.1%

Nursing is one of those fields where you really don’t need to go to grad school. A bachelor’s degree will net you job security and a solid salary. But if you want to teach nursing, work as a nurse administrator or practice in a specialized field like anesthesiology or pediatrics, then a master’s is a must. Besides having one of the highest salaries on our list, nurses are also in extremely high demand. So much so that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the profession will experience a 45% growth over the next eight years.

7. Bioethics/Medical Ethics

  • Average debt: $36,408
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $76,534
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 6.3%

Bioethics is an interdisciplinary field that combines combines tenets of medicine, law, philosophy and sociology. The goal is to train people to, for example, advise on the design of clinical trials to ensure they’re ethical. Day-to-day tasks include heavy research, interviewing and writing. Although it’s a relatively small field, it is a growing profession. You’ll be able to work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, universities and government agencies.

8. Accounting

  • Average debt: $31,273
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $60,140
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 6.6%

There’s a longstanding (and maybe now, cliched) line of jokes about accountants being boring. But with solid career prospects and above-average salaries, maybe it’s the accountants who are getting the last laugh. A master’s degree in the field can prep you to become a CPA, as well as the lesser-known certified management accountant. You can even work in fields that sound the opposite of boring, like forensic accounting or fraud examination.

9. Business Administration and Business/Commerce

  • Average debt: $38,673 – $38,731
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $69,384 – $77,164
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 6.6% – 7.2%

If you’re looking for a degree that’s flexible and can help you set foot in almost any industry — look no further. With a master’s degree in business administration or business and commerce, which we’ve combined into a single entry here, you can specialize in multiple areas, including marketing, supply chain management and finance. You can also work in fields as wide-ranging as health care or fashion. With so many paths to choose from, it should be no surprise that business is one of the most common graduate degree programs.

10. Computer Sciences and Information Technology Administration Management

  • Average debt: $41,597 – $50,318
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $77,636 – $84,437
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 7% – 7.4%

A greater emphasis on cloud computing, data collection and storage, and information security is going to drive serious demand for people with training in this area. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job openings for computer science and IT management, which we’ve combined into a single listing here, will grow by 11% over the next decade, far above the average pace. The jobs will pay well, too: The National Association of Colleges and Employers places computer science graduates among the nation’s top earners.

11. Management Information Systems and Services

  • Average debt: $40,352
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $73,138
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 7%

Not to be confused with our 9th or 10th entries on the list, this degree is an interdisciplinary program that combines the principles of both 9 and 10 (that is, computer science with business and management). Graduates can get jobs in industries like accounting, finance, real estate, information technology and finance. Common job titles for this degree include senior technical business analyst, network administrator and IT infrastructure manager.

12. Homeland Security

  • Average debt: $37,401
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $64,721
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 7.5%

Are you a logistics wizard? Are you always ready to step up when others need it? Do you enjoy working under pressure and in an ever-changing environment? If you answered yes to all of the following, a degree in homeland security might interest you. The program preps students for the careers you’d expect: special agent, intelligence analyst and emergency disaster manager. But there’s also some more unexpected career paths, like working for the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which is the agency responsible for protecting our native species.

13. Medical Illustration and Informatics

  • Average debt: $42,379
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $74,903
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 7.5%

If you love both science and doodling, then let us introduce you to a field you may have never heard of: medical illustration. Medical illustrators are (among other things) the ones responsible for creating those detailed sketches you grew up seeing in science textbooks (flashbacks to the digestive system, anyone?). There’s not a specific major required to enter this program, but you must have a few science courses under your belt, plus an art portfolio. Medical illustrators can work in pharmaceuticals, publishing companies, and universities, and they can earn salaries as high as $173,000, according to the Association of Medical Illustrators.

14. Instructional Media Design

  • Average debt: $30,520
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $52,279
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 7.5%

The pandemic sent online education zooming (pun intended), but demand for instructional designers with a deep understand of online learning will persist even after in-person schooling returns. This program combines graphic design, technology and teaching principles to improve the way others learn. Teaching experience is often a pre-requisite for this degree, and after you graduate, you’ll be able to work as a distance education specialist, course design manager and instructional design coordinator.

15. Educational Administration and Supervision

  • Average debt: $31,369
  • Average salary within two years of leaving school: $53,729
  • Average monthly debt-to-income ratio: 7.7%

In the unlikely event that your childhood hero was your school’s principal, this program is for you. As an educational administration major, you’ll learn about education law, education budgeting and finance, strategic leadership, and staff management — in short, everything you need to run a school. To apply, you must have a state-issued teacher license, and in most cases, you’ll have to complete several internship or practicum hours to get your degree. MORE

L’Oréal USA Partners with the NAACP to Launch Its Inclusive Beauty Fund

L’Oréal USA today announced the creation of its Inclusive Beauty Fund, a new grant program presented in partnership with the NAACP, the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. Through this inaugural round of funding, L’Oréal USA will award 30 one-time grants of $10,000 each to Black-owned small businesses, Black entrepreneurs, and professional services in all sectors of the U.S. beauty industry. 

As small businesses in America have been hit the hardest by the economic fallout of the pandemic and Black-owned businesses are shutting down twice as fast as others according to NBER, L’Oréal USA teamed up with the NAACP to identify the most promising Black-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs in the beauty industry that are most in need of investment.

“As the leading beauty company in the United States, we believe that we have a responsibility to invest in the small business owners and entrepreneurs who are the lifeblood of our dynamic beauty industry. We are proud to team up with the NAACP to advance our shared mission of creating a more inclusive and equitable world during this time of great economic vulnerability for so many. We hope the Inclusive Beauty Fund will introduce us to entrepreneurs in the beauty industry that we can build strong relationships with well into the future,” said Angela Guy, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, L’Oréal USA.

In addition to one-time funding, L’Oréal USA is committed to providing grantees with professional mentorship and business development support with the participation of top executives from its leading beauty brands and its professional beauty products distributor, SalonCentric. The Inclusive Beauty Fund is part of L’Oréal USA’s larger commitment to support the NAACP’s mission, which will include additional initiatives to be announced in the future.The initiative is backed by L’Oréal USA’s newly formed Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board, who will work alongside the NAACP, L’Oréal USA, and SalonCentric leaders to review and select grant recipients. The Advisory Board, made up of up over 20 internal and external stakeholders, have come together to ideate as a collective on efforts to influence and reimagine social and inclusive strategies that support L’Oréal USA’sDiversity and Inclusion mission to build the standard in making beauty inclusive. 

“Black-owned small beauty businesses are the heartbeat of their neighborhoods, and beauty business owners are navigating tremendous challenges stemming from the Covid-19 and recent events. The NAACP is proud to partner with L’Oréal USA to help support these entrepreneurs and ensure the longevity of the services and community their businesses provide,” said Yumeka Rushing, Chief Strategy Officer, NAACP.

How to Apply

Applications for the Inclusive Beauty Fund will be administered by the NAACP in partnership with Hello Alice, a platform for small business owners to identify the right path to start and grow their company. Applications for the financial grants opens today January 29, and proceeds through February 18, 2021. All submissions must be conducted through Hello Alicehttps://hialice.co/LOreal-HelloAlice-Grant. The candidates selected to receive the grants will be announced in April of 2021.

Grants are available to new or existing beauty businesses of all kinds, including but not limited to salons, spas, barber shops, stylists, makeup artists, entrepreneurs, startup founders, haircare specialists, and beauty schools. MORE

BURUNDI – The star chemist

Growing up in Bujumbura, Burundi, Mireille Kamariza didn’t know any astronomers, or any scientists at all for that matter. But she adored planets anyway. At the start of every school year, she and her fellow students would wrap up their notebooks to protect them from wear. And every year, Kamariza hunted her town for magazines with glossy pictures of planets, astronauts, and “any news about astronomy.” Between classes, she stared at those astronomical covers like they were portals to a fantastical world.

The Junior Fellow never ended up floating among the stars, at least not in a literal sense. This August, Chemical & Engineering News named her one of its Talented 12 for her invention of a quick, low-cost test to detect tuberculosis. In 2017, Fortune magazine named her one of the World’s Most Powerful Women while she was still a graduate student. In 2018, she earned an even rarer title: co-founder of a company in the male-dominated biotech industry. In a way, the world she now inhabits — that of an award-winning scientist, Silicon Valley biotech entrepreneur, degree recipient from the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University — was a fantastical world, at least to that young girl in Burundi who got lost in pictures of Mars and Venus.

“It feels like a different life,” Kamariza said, “It’s nothing short of a miracle that I’m one of the few that was able to make that jump.”

After achieving the fantastical, Kamariza is tackling a very real problem: Throughout the developing world, including Burundi, tuberculosis is one of the top causes of death. In 2018, the disease killed 1.5 million worldwide, far more than even AIDS. Though testing and treatment are on the rise, low-income, rural populations still struggle to detect and contain the disease (especially now that COVID-19 diagnostics are prioritized over every other infectious disease). Each year, about 10 million people develop tuberculosis and about 3 million go undetected, Kamariza said. Her invention — a portable diagnostic tool — could help identify more cases faster, anywhere in the world, to prevent further spread, get treatment to those in need, and even monitor the effectiveness of that treatment. “A lot of people doing TB work were rewired to do COVID work. TB patients are being left behind.” — Mireille Kamariza, Junior Fellow

When Kamariza arrived in the U.S., settling in San Diego at age 17, science was still an alien thing. She spoke French but little English (she watched “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” to learn more); she shared a studio apartment with her two older brothers and worked part-time at Safeway while taking classes full-time at San Diego Mesa College. There, she left her love of planets behind: “How many astronauts do you know that started at a community college?” she said.

By chance, she enrolled in a chemistry course with Professor Saloua Saidane, who happened to speak French. She guided Kamariza over the language barrier before pushing her to transfer to the University of California, San Diego. Kamariza needed the encouragement: Other mentors told her, bluntly, that her English and G.P.A. were too poor for her to make it to UCSD. They were wrong.

Once at UCSD, Kamariza again doubted her ability to make it to graduate school. But Tracy Johnson — another chemist and the first Black woman scientist Kamariza encountered — pushed her to apply to the University of California, Berkeley. “I would never make it to UC Berkeley in a million years!” Kamariza said to Johnson. “Look at all the people who make it in. How many are African immigrants?”

Kamariza often credits external interventions like miracles, luck, and mentors for her success. “For immigrants, for people who come from backgrounds that are traditionally underserved,” she said, “it’s all about opportunities and it’s about who can open the door for you.” Still, though Johnson showed her the door, Kamariza knocked. To her surprise (but not Johnson’s), she got in.

At Berkeley, Kamariza joined Carolyn Bertozzi’s chemical biology lab. There, and continuing at Stanford University, she combined her knowledge of chemistry and molecular biology to eventually invent her tuberculosis diagnostic. Her test turned what used to be an 11-step process into one simple step. “Because it’s stable and because it doesn’t require a fridge to work,” Kamariza said, “you could in principle do this experiment anywhere. You could be in the tundra of Alaska or the desert of Namibia and do it.” MORE

MBA Debt: Here’s How Much You’ll Have to Borrow to Go to Business School

If you want to boost your earning potential, switch industries, or sharpen your entrepreneurial skills, a master’s of business administration, or “MBA,” can help you do just that.

But MBAs don’t come cheap. Data from the National Center of Education Statistics show that more than half of MBA students take on student debt to finance their degree. The average student loan balance for graduates was $66,300 in 2016 — a number that has continued to increase, according to more recent reports.

MBA holders are also among the nation’s top earners. However, not every MBA grad commands a six-figure salary. Earnings fluctuate depending on your location and the industry you work in, which means the difficulty of paying off tens of thousands of dollars of debt will also vary.

Here’s what you should know about MBAs and student debt.

How Much Do MBAs Cost?

Applications to MBA programs increased in 2020, partly due to the pandemic recession. But that’s a reversal of what’s happened in the past several years, where applications have slowed as the high cost of business school, coupled with doubts about the value of an MBA, among other factors, drove some applicants away.

Stacey Koprince, lead of content and curriculum at Manhattan Prep, a test preparation agency, says that one of the reasons why business school is so expensive is because of the people teaching the courses.

“If you want to have professors who are not just academics, but who are actually in the business world themselves, then you’re gonna have to pay the kinds of salaries that they could be making if they were out running a business themselves,” Koprince says.

Business schools also spend large amounts on resources to help students with career placement, says Barbara Coward, a consultant at MBA 360 Admissions. That includes networking summits (sometimes out of town), seminars and individual counselors — all of which are rolled up into the programs’ overall cost.

So, how much does it cost to get an MBA? Here’s the average cost of tuition and fees for full-time residential programs by residency status, according to data provided by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB):

  • Resident students: $41,793
  • Nonresident students: $52,696

But tuition and fees are just the tip of the iceberg. The cost of relocation, books, supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses can set you back several thousand dollars more. MORE

USA – Want to Be a Lawyer? You May Have to Take on More Than $150,000 in Debt

Working as a lawyer can be a rewarding — though stressful — career. Getting there is pretty tough, too. Law school is so rigorous that until 2014, the American Bar Association restricted the number of hours students were allowed to work while in school.

Law school is also expensive. Data published by the National Center for Education Statistics showed that in 2016, seven out of 10 law students had to take on loans to pay for their schooling. The average student loan balance for graduates then was $145,500 — a number that has continued to grow, according to more recent surveys.

If you’re going to take on so much debt, you want to be confident you’ll be able to get a job using your new law degree. Law School Transparency (LST), a non-profit that educates consumers about the legal profession, reports that over 60% of law students get a job offer before they even graduate.

Still, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that job competition will be fierce over the next decade since there are more students graduating than jobs available in the field. That’s why borrowing thousands of dollars worth of student loans isn’t a decision you should make lightly.

Here’s what you should know about law school and student debt.

How Much Law School Costs

The cost of law school has been exceeding inflation for three decades straight, according to Law School Transparency’s latest data.

Law school is expensive for the same reason a lot of college programs are: it requires a lot of highly educated (and expensive) people to deliver its courses.

Ashley Norwood-Struppa, northeast regional manager at the AccessLex Center for Education and Financial Capability, says that law schools also invest a lot of money on resources to help students with career placement. That includes intensive practice clinics and networking events for exposure.

It’s expensive to provide those experiences for students, and that’s one of the reasons why law schools have such high tuition rates, says Jeff Thomas, executive director of legal programs at Kaplan, a company that offers test preparation services for college students.

Law schools also compete for prestige by trying to lure the best students to increase their median Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores. That, in turn, allows them to boost their reputation and position themselves at a higher rank. To do this, they offer lofty scholarships to those with the highest GPAs and LSAT scores, which also comes at a cost.

“If you’re throwing a ton of scholarship awards at your very top students, you’ve got to be charging a lot to your other students to be able to cover the cost of those,” Thomas says.

So, how much does it cost to attend law school? Here’s the average cost of tuition and fees by type of institution and residency status, as reported by Law School Transparency:

  • Resident students at public schools: $28,186
  • Nonresident students at public schools: $41,628
  • Resident and nonresident students at private schools: $49,312

How Much You’ll Need to Borrow for Law School

In a recent survey by ABA’s Young Lawyers Division, more than 95% of respondents said they took out loans to pay for their degree. The average loan balance of a law school graduate is almost $165,000, and only a small fraction of that debt is from undergraduate education.

Norwood-Struppa, from AccessLex Institute, says that one of the reasons law students borrow more than those pursuing other graduate degrees is that there aren’t as many scholarships available as there are for other programs. In fact, the number of law schools offering merit-based scholarships has decreased by over 30% over the last decade, according to data from Law School Transparency.

Still, how much you’ll need to borrow will depend on a few factors, including the type of institution you attend, and how prestigious it is.

Law students who attend a public school in-state borrow significantly less than those attending private institutions. The average balance of a public school graduate is $93,436 vs $133,384 for private schools.

In terms of prestige, you’ll typically pay more if you attend a top tier school. The most competitive and well-known law schools will cost roughly $65,000 a year in tuition alone. A tier three school, on the other hand, can cost about $48,000.

Types of Loans You Can Get in Law School

As a law student, you’ll be able to apply for three types of loans: federal loans, institutional loans, and private loans.

Federal student loans should be the first option you explore since they offer lower fixed rates than private loans and flexible repayment options.

Law students are eligible for two types of federal loans: Direct Unsubsidized loans and Grad PLUS loans. To apply for any of these, first, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Direct Unsubsidized loans have an annual borrowing limit of $20,500 for law students. They currently have a fixed interest rate of 4.30% and you don’t need to pass a credit check to be approved for the loan.

Grad PLUS loans can be taken out for the full cost of attendance but do require you to pass a simple credit check for approval. Grad PLUS loans currently have a fixed interest rate of 5.30%.

Institutional loans are issued by the schools. These are typically available to students once they’ve exhausted all other sources of financial aid, including federal loans. Requirements, borrowing limits, and conditions are set by each school, but interest rates tend to be lower than those of private loans, and repayment is more flexible.

Finally, there’s private loans. In most cases, these can be taken out for the full cost of attendance. They can have fixed or variable interest rates, ranging from 1.25% to over 15%. However, to qualify and secure the lowest rates, you must have a stable source of income and excellent credit or have a co-signer that meets these criteria.

Tips to Minimize Debt in Law School

Finishing law school without any debt may be hard to achieve, but there are some things you can do to reduce the amount you borrow.

Norwood-Struppa, from AccessLex Institute, says that when comparing schools, it’s more important to look at the resources and discounts available than the full sticker price. Law School Transparency reported that for the 2018-19 academic year, only 25% of law students paid full price for tuition and fees.

As previously mentioned, law schools tend to offer merit-based aid for students with high GPAs and LSAT scores. That’s why Christopher Brown, chair of the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division, recommends doing everything possible to get the highest score you can, even if that means taking the exam multiple times. “A higher LSAT score means a lot more scholarship opportunities,” he says.

But not all aid is based on your academic performance. To find other scholarships or fellowships you may be eligible for, contact your school’s financial aid office or check out associations, like the Law School Admission Council.

Thomas, from Kaplan, also recommends taking into account the industry you want to work for and its potential return of investment. A lot of students want to practice law in the town or city they grew up on, Thomas says. If that’s you, Thomas says you might be better off attending a law school that’s in that same area since you’ll be exposed to courthouses and firms in that area, which can increase your chances of getting the job you’re looking for once you graduate.

There’s also a huge wage gap between lawyers working in the corporate or private sector vs those working in the public sector. So, if you’re interested in working in the public sector, Thomas says it may be more beneficial (and more cost-effective down the line) to choose a more affordable lower-tier school that caters to the market you want to serve rather than trying to get into a more expensive top school.

Managing Debt After Graduation

Most full-time law students aren’t able to work while in school, which makes it difficult to make payments on their loans while they’re enrolled. This means that interest for both federal and private loans will continue to accrue and become part of the principal balance once you graduate.

If you have federal loans, you’re not required to start making any payments until six months after you graduate. With private loans, this grace period will depend on your lender, so it’s important to ask for this information beforehand to make sure you’re prepared.

Although some lawyers earn six-figure salaries, the average entry-level attorney makes a little over $62,000 a year, according to PayScale.

Assuming that you’d need to borrow $120,000 in federal loans to go to school, Law School Transparency calculates that your total balance would grow to $136,000 after graduation. This means that you’d have to pay $1,540 a month under the standard, 10-year repayment plan. But that’s unaffordable for everyone except those earning the industry’s highest salaries, so many graduates enroll in an income-driven repayment plan, which sets your payments based on how much you earn.

If you were earning $60,500 and owed $136,000, your monthly payments would drop to $352 a month in the Revised Pay As You Earn plan, according to Law School Transparency.

If you choose to work for a government agency, non-profit institution, or another qualifying employer, you’ll also be eligible to apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This means that you only have to pay your federal loans for ten years, and the remaining balance is forgiven.

In addition to the federal PSLF program, some schools offer loan repayment assistance programs for graduates who are working in the public sector, government, or other lower-paying legal fields, under which you could also get part of your debt forgiven. SOURCE – https://money.com/average-student-loan-debt-law-school/?xid=sendgrid&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=subject&utm_campaign=daily_money