In the two years since the New Mexico Legislature passed the Public Service Law Loan Repayment Program, 71 lawyers have received assistance averaging $4,900 each year. The assistance has been distributed among district attorneys, public defenders and legal services lawyers.
Applications for the program are considered twice a year, in February and August. The next application deadline is Feb. 28, 2009. Eligible public service lawyers whose income does not exceed $45,000 can receive up to $7,200 a year to help pay off their student loans.
Preference is given and award amounts are determined for applicants who have graduated from the UNM School of Law and to those with the greatest financial need based on education indebtedness and salary. The purpose of the program is to increase the number of attorneys in public service employment, including state and local government and the nonprofit sector.
For more details on the program, which is administered by the New Mexico Higher Education Department, visit the department's website at hed.state.nm.us and click on financial aid and scholarships.