Looking for Lifeline in Sea of Student Debt

Janelle Jordan, two years out of law school and an associate county attorney for the Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources in Maryland, is drowning in debt. She’s facing repayment of $200,000 in student loans, and makes less than $50,000 a year.

She’s cut off her cable television subscription and at-home Internet access and has started looking for a second job, the April issue of the ABA Journal reports.

Grants and loan forgiveness programs for young lawyers like Jordan who go into public interest law may be one way out, experts say. But only 20 states have any type of repayment assistance program, and eligibility varies greatly.

As a last resort, she may have to throw herself on the mercy of her lenders. “Lenders will do everything they can within the terms of the promissory note to help,” says Jeffrey Hanson, director of borrower education services for the Wilmington, Del.-based Access Group, a nonprofit student loan provider with a focus on law students. “But a lender cannot do anything if a borrower does not contact them to work with them.”

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