Congratulations! As a graduating 3L, you might be wondering what happens next. The information below will get you headed in the right direction.
Expenses related to the bar can be extensive. To cover the cost of the Bar itself (usually less than $1,000) you can borrow through the GradPLUS loan program [PDF], as long as you are still enrolled in school. Bar Loans, to cover expenses such as a Bar Review course and living expenses are available from various private lenders. More information on lenders that offer bar loans can be found on our bar study loan comparison chart [PDF].
The federal government requires that all federal loan recipients have an exit interview before graduation. You can complete the requirement on the StudentLoans.gov website, and we offer individual appointments to discuss loan repayment options.
The Debt Management Programs at the Law School provide graduates with maximum flexibility to choose jobs from any law-related area (excluding judicial clerkships and U-M funded fellowships), including modest-paying public interest positions, while still maintaining a reasonable lifestyle and remaining current on outstanding loan obligations. Graduates whose combination of income and debt make them eligible receive assistance in meeting their loan obligations incurred during law school. Special note for those pursuing Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) positions: On rare occasions, the job you receive may not be law-related and, therefore, makes you ineligible for the Law School's loan repayment assistance programs. The Office of Career Planning will work with you as much as possible to avoid this, but if you are in doubt about it, please be in consultation with the Financial Aid Office to discuss your eligibility. For further information select the correct program below for your entering class.
Entering classes 1984–2010 (you may elect one of the two programs below)
Entering classes 2011–Later
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) of 2007 established, among other things, two new programs that will be of particular interest to graduates going into low-paying and public interest jobs. Income Based Repayment (Section 203 of the Act) allows borrowers to pay back their federal loans on the basis of their income at the time of repayment. Loan Forgiveness (Section 401 of the Act) will forgive federal Direct loans after 120 payments and 10 years of full-time employment in the public service sector. Our CCRAA FAQ provides more details on these programs.
Federal loan consolidation provides variable rate loan holders an opportunity to lock in the current interest rate on their federal loans. Once federal loans have been consolidated, the rate cannot be adjusted again in the future. If it seems that most borrowers' loans are already set at a fixed interest rate, this is because most borrowers have already consolidated, or their loans disbursed after July 1, 2006, which is when the federal loan program changed from offering variable to fixed-rate loans. Please visit the Direct Loans website for further information.