Funding Your Public Service Career

Public Service jobs are funded in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to) through renewable grants allocated to the non-profit organization, fellowship funding for a limited period of time, and with the support of Loan Assistance Repayment Programs. Below are some resources for a few categories of funding most pertinent to law students.

WCL’s Office of Public Interest can provide you information and assistance in obtaining information about funding for the summer or a post-graduate career. For funding that requires candidates go through a full application process, OCPD can provide you with assistance in completing applications and conduct mock interviews. For information about how to plan for your future on a public interest salary, Financial Aid can provide resources to help.

Summer Funding for Public Interest Work

Although a few summer public interest positions are paid, most are not. Students should research summer funding opportunities as well as employment opportunities. The Office of Public Interest provides a more comprehensive guide to summer funding. Deadlines are earlier than you might expect, so plan ahead!

  • Equal Justice Foundation
    This WCL student organization awards $4,000 summer fellowships to students working for public interest organizations. Applicants must volunteer at least 10 hours with EJF to be eligible for the grant. Applications are generally due in March.
  • PSJD
    Visit the Summer Funding section for funding sources nationwide.
  • Equal Justice Works Summer Corps
    Equal Justice Works provides small grants of an $1,175 education award voucher through its Summer Corps program for public interest internships. Apply on the Equal Justice Works website in the Spring.

Funding for Post-Graduate Public Interest Positions

Most individuals are aware of the larger and more well-known funders such as Equal Justice Works and the Skadden Foundation. But, there are many other funders depending on the project or type of organization you seek. The Office of Public Interest can assist as you try to locate funding that is best-suited for the project you would like to work on. Remember, applications for some of the most important public service career-building opportunities are started during your 2L year – but OCPD is available to help you go through this process! 

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs)

Loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs) generally help defray the educational debt payments of graduates who go into qualifying public service. LRAPs can be offered by law schools, employers, states and at the Federal level. To learn more about LRAPs, visit The Office of Public Interest. Information about WCL’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program can be found here:

Federal Loan Repayment and Forgiveness Programs

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is available for all federal student loans (graduate and undergraduate). Under IBR, monthly payments are capped at an amount intended to be affordable based on income and family size. For more information, contact the WCL Financial Aid Office and The Office of Public Interest.

Office of Career & Professional Development • American University Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 122 Washington, DC 20016 • 202-274-4090 F: 202-274-4096