Worried about taking on debt to fund a legal education? Concerned that your career choices might make repaying law school loans unmanageable?
The Post-graduation Debt Repayment Assistance (PGDRA) program is a supplement to the law school’s student financial aid program, intended to help Allard Law JD students and recent graduates make career choices that are free from debt-induced pressure. PGDRA provides support for recent graduates from the JD program who are using their legal education to contribute to society and who demonstrate need in repaying loans incurred to support their law degree. Applicants qualify for a PGDRA benefit based on a needs assessment that considers individual circumstances, including income, debt load*, cost of living and family size.
PGDRA benefits are interest-free UBC loans that cover the costs of your annual educational loan repayments (principal and interest) when you can’t afford to, for up to 10 years after graduation. The interest-free UBC loan is only repayable once you can afford to pay it back based on the annual PGDRA needs assessment. In addition, 10 percent of the UBC loan is forgiven each year you qualify for a PGDRA benefit, for a maximum of 10 years. (While most graduates will qualify for a PGDRA benefit for no more than five years, in rare cases where a recent graduate remains in the program for 10 years, all of their UBC loan will be forgiven.)
*up to the maximum amount for commercial professional student lines of credit listed below in “What types of loans are covered?”
Recent graduates can first apply to the PGDRA program beginning in the annual May application cycle in the year immediately following their graduating year (e.g., May 2021 for the Class of 2020).
The PGDRA program is available to JD graduates of the Class of 2020 and onward. Individuals who graduated prior to 2020 are not eligible to apply. In addition, graduates who obtained their JD degree at UBC through any of the following options are NOT eligible to apply:
- X - International JD students (i.e., paying international JD tuition for ANY portion of their JD degree program)
- X - JD students transferring into or out of the JD program at UBC
- X - JD/MBA students at UBC
- X - JD students participating in any joint legal education arrangement through UBC (including with Melbourne Law School, Tsinghua University, and the University of Hong Kong)
To be eligible to apply, you must:
- ✓ - reside and be working in Canada;
- ✓ - have cleared all amounts owing to UBC; and
- ✓ - have applied for any student loan repayment assistance programs for which you are eligible.
In addition, you must be working full-time as a lawyer, judicial clerk or articling student OR in a law-related field OR in a position for which a law degree is a requirement or preference. Recent graduates not fully meeting this requirement may still be eligible to apply under the following special circumstances, and should consult the PGDRA Handbook (PDF) for further information:
- maternity/parental leave
- enrolment in a law-related graduate program
- actively looking for a law-related position (for the first application cycle after graduation only)
The PGDRA program takes into consideration both government student loans (Canadian federal and provincial loans) and professional student lines of credit used for the costs of legal education. There is a cap of $5,700 on annual repayment amounts for professional student lines of credit that will be considered under the PGDRA program.
The PGDR benefit is calculated on a needs-based formula based your family income, cost of living in your city, and your total annual debt repayment obligations. The final benefit amount may vary based on number of eligible recipients each year and the available funds.
The needs-based formula includes:
- income – total expected gross family income (including spouse/partner, if applicable), adjusted for:
- childcare expenses
- annual law society membership fee
- annual pre-law student loan annual debt repayment obligations (to a maximum of $4,000)
- cost of living – Statistics Canada’s Market Basket Measure (MBM) for family size and geographical region
- annual debt repayment obligations from law school – amount of repayment on principle and interest required annually based on a 10-year amortization schedule for commercial professional student lines of credit (to a maximum of $5,700) and for Canadian federal and provincial government student loans
Download our Excel PGDRA benefit calculator worksheet (XLSX) for more information and to see if you may qualify based on your specific situation. Please note that this tool provides an estimate only. Assessments will be based on the information and documentation provided with your application.
(This calculator worksheet was updated on May 28, 2021 to reflect recent changes to cost of living calculations under the Market Basket Measure.)
Recent graduates may apply starting in the month of May following their graduating year. Applications are accepted for each cycle between May 1 and May 31.
Completed applications must be emailed with all supporting documents according to the instructions on the application form.
If you are interested in applying, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to set up a time to talk about your application and answer your questions in detail.
The PGDRA Handbook (PDF) has a full description of the program, and provides examples of applicants and benefit amounts and loan repayment and forgiveness scenarios.
If you have specific questions about the PGDRA program, or questions about your application, please contact: email@example.com