Equal Justice Works Blog

Student Debt: The New Indentured Servitude?

April 26, 2010 Professor Jeffrey Williams of Carnegie Mellon University argues that college student-loan debt has revived the spirit of indenture in America.  Professor Williams says that unprecedented and escalating amounts of student debt are “a major constraint that looms over the lives of those so contracted, binding individuals for a significant part of their future work lives.”  Williams says that at core, student debt is a labor issue serving to control the future labor of student loan borrowers.  What do you think about Professor Willi Read More

Will the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Padilla v. Kentucky further impact an already stressed Criminal Defense and Immigration system?

April 23, 2010 Jose Padilla had been a lawful permanent resident (“green card-bearer”) of the U.S. for more than 40 years when he was arrested for transportation of marijuana.  During criminal proceedings, his defense counsel told him that a guilty plea would have no adverse effect on his immigration status as he had been in the country for so long.  Unfortunately, his counsel was wrong.  In fact Padilla’s offense was classified as an “aggravated felony” under the Immigration and Nationality Act and triggered Padilla’s automatic deportation to his native Mexico.    In Padilla v. Read More

Bill would restore fair treatment of private student loans in bankruptcy

April 22, 2010 Senators Dick Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse and Al Franken joined with Representatives Steve Cohen and Danny Davis to introduce legislation in the Senate and the House that would treat private student loans the same as other commercial debts in bankruptcy.  “The high interest rates on private student loans have made them incredibly profitable for loan companies and saddled students with crushing debt,” said Durbin.  Although private student loans are more like credit cards than financial aid, in 2005 student loan companies se Read More

About Time: Department of Education Now Provides Income-Based Repayment Option with Direct Loan Consolidation Application Forms

April 15, 2010 Most borrowers who want to earn Public Service Loan Forgiveness will need to consolidate or reconsolidate into the Federal Direct Loan program.  Navigating the sea of paperwork hasn’t been a pleasure cruise for borrowers so far, but recently updated forms will make the process easier.  Until recently, borrowers had to wait until their Direct Loan Consolidation application was approved before they could select IBR.  Now, borrowers can select IBR during the consolidation application process, eliminating that extra step.  Progress! Packet of Forms needed for Direct Loan Consolidation: Read More

Law School - Is it Worth It?

April 14, 2010 This is a guest post by Charlene Gomes, Senior Program Manager,Law School and Advocacy Outreach, at Equal Justice Works. A recent article in the National Jurist probes the question of whether law school is a wise investment.  According to the article, the answer depends on your motivation for going to law school.  If you think that a law degree will lead you to a lucrative career making big money at a big firm – think again.  It may, but for most people it doesn’t.  However, if you love the law, an Read More

Perkins Loans Include Unique Cancellation Provisions

April 13, 2010 If you have to borrow student loans to finance your education, I recommend the Perkins loan as a first stop.  Perkins loans are only available to students with “exceptional financial need,” are issued by a student’s campus, and are subsidized, so the federal government pays the interest while the student is in school and during the grace period.  Perkins loans are my favorite student loans for a number of reasons.  Perkins loans have longer grace periods than Stafford loans – so borrowers do not begin repayment until 9-months after graduation. Read More

Summer Corps Experience Can Jump Start Career

April 12, 2010 This is a guest post written by Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Recovery Program Assistant, Jessica Meller. Before  attorney Debra Weinberg spent the summer of 2007 as an Equal Justice Works Summer Corps member at Advocacy Center in New Orleans, she had not fully considered the extent to which she could use her legal education to aid people in need. Read More

Equal Justice Works Fellows Big on Jeopardy

April 7, 2010

The following is a guest post from Equal Justice Works Fellow Stacy Braverman (serving with Read More

40 Wills in 4 Days: Part 3

April 2, 2010 On March 7, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Senior Program Manager Cole McMahon and Program Manager Marty joined with current Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows JR LaPlante, Leigh Ferrin, Bethany Hamilton, Read More
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