BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The high demand for public defenders and prosecutors, the state has put forward a financial incentive for those who stay and work full time for at least three years. They could have their student loans taken care of.
“Certainly, Louisiana like many states, have had their challenges with the public defender’s system there’s no doubt about that”, said the Chancellor of Southern University’s Law Center John Pierre.
“Well, any form of student loan repayment assistance is hugely important to a public defender’s office like ours”, said Lindsay Blouin with the Baton Rouge Public Defenders Office.
Blouin added that sometimes with the amount of debt that some of the attorneys in her office have, it can be difficult to keep them on her staff.
“We see high turnover in our office. Attorneys will work here for several years and then they want to be able to start a family, they want to be able to buy a house. And so, to work at the salary that they work at as a public defender while also being required to payback that hefty student loan debt sometimes becomes crushing to the point that they have to leave maybe for a job they don’t necessarily love as much but that is going to allow them to repay those student loans and actually have a life”, Blouin explained.
One of the requirements for the program is that you must owe at $20,000 due on eligible student loans. That includes both federal family education loans and federal direct loans.
“I think it’s good that something that can help incentivize people to take that position”, said Eric Alborn who is in his second year at LSU Law.
Alborn says as a student who will graduate with a decent amount of debt, this program is attractive.
“Graduating with (x) amount of student loan dollars is gonna be a burden for anybody and if that’s what it takes for me to not only pay it back but redeem it somehow is to go and be a public defender then it’s definitely something that’s gonna weigh in my mind and I think many others as well”, said Alborn.
To find out more about the program and the eligibility requirements visit https://mylosfa.la.gov/students-parents/scholarships-grants/john-r-justice/
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