In what is becoming a sensation sweeping the (law school) nation, USC has overhauled its public interest loan forgiveness program. This is the second such move by an elite law school in the past month (read about Michigan’s big changes here) and comes on the heels of Harvard’s BIG announcement last fall that it would be providing free 3L tuition for law students committing to public interest.
As previously opined on this blog, these public interest bumps are often just big public relations moved cloaked in altruism, but the USC announcment, coupled with the Michigan announcement, seems to suggest actual effort to make public interest more viable for talented law school graduates. In USC’s case, the law school isn’t simply showcasing more money in the pipeline or dangling a shinier carrot at starry-eyed law school applicants; rather by removing a “salary cap,” the USC is enabling more government and public interest attorneys to access the loan forgiveness program. This speaks to graduates and current students more than it does applicants, which almost automatically makes it more valid.
Congratulations to USC for a subtle, but extremely helpful infusion of public interest dollars.