Laurie M. Tisch Loan Repayment Assistance Program - 2016

In September 2008, prominent philanthropist, Laurie M. Tisch made a $5 million gift to establish the Laurie M. Tisch Loan Repayment Assistance Program at Cardozo.  This program benefits Cardozo graduates who have chosen to pursue careers in public service by providing “forgivable loans” to assist them in overcoming their educational debt.  This remarkable gift allowed us, in 2009, to expand the loan repayment program at Cardozo to ensure that our graduates can continue to work for the public good

In 2015 a total of $313,000 was awarded to 112 alumni who graduated in the prior 6 years were provided awards ranging from $250 - $14,000.


Who is eligible?
Graduates who qualify may apply to the Program within five years of graduation.  Thus, graduates who received a J.D. from Cardozo in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, & 2015 are eligible. Graduates must reapply annually and can continue to receive funding pending continuing eligibility.

Are there any exceptions to the eligibility requirements?
Graduates from the class of 2009 who clerked for a judge following graduation and then entered public service are also eligible to apply. Additionally, graduates may apply for a “leave of absence” for up to 1 year under certain circumstances (i.e. medical leave or parental leave).  Thus, holding the “leave” year in abeyance and allowing for an additional year to apply for the program.  The Graduate must inform the LRAP Committee prior to taking the “leave” and it is in the discretion of the LRAP Committee whether to grant a “leave”.

What kinds of jobs are eligible?
A paid full-time law related job which, in the sole determination of Cardozo, is of a public service nature, qualifies.  A "law related" job is one which, as determined by Cardozo, uses the applicant's legal training to a significant extent.  "Public Service" jobs may include legal aid societies, public defenders' offices, district attorneys' offices, legal services offices, governmental agencies, private non-profit organizations dedicated to public interest law, international human rights organizations, and clinical law teaching jobs.  Graduates serving as term judicial clerks are only eligible to apply after they have completed their clerkship and are employed in a qualified public service job.  Their eligibility to apply will be held in abeyance during their judicial clerkship.  For example, 2015 graduates who are currently clerking do not qualify; however, they can apply for the six years following their clerkship if all other eligibility requirements are met.  Please note:  A volunteer position does not qualify for LRAP.

What are the income requirements?
Those earning $68,000 or less in their first year of employment, or at the time of their application, are eligible.  Those in their second through fifth year of employment earning over $68,000, are eligible if their current salary, adjusted backwards to the date of initial employment in light of the Consumer Price Index, is $68,000 or less.  If your salary is near these parameters and/or you possess exigent circumstances, please submit an application and the committee will take it under consideration.

What are the debt burden guidelines?
Graduates who meet the income requirements must have an individual accumulated educational debt burden of $60,000 or more.

What kinds of loans may be included in the computation of indebtedness?
All documented undergraduate and graduate educational loans (except personal loans from family or friends) in active repayment status are included.

Do I need to reapply for LRAP funding each year?
Yes.  The Laurie M. Tisch LRAP program is administered annually.  Eligible applicants MUST apply every year for LRAP funding.  Prior recipients are eligible to apply every year provided they continue to meet all eligibility requirements.


How much assistance is a participant eligible to receive?
Loan repayment assistance will be awarded in varying amounts.  The committee assesses the individual need of eligible applicants by reviewing the applicant’s income, resources, monthly student loan obligation and monthly expenses.  In addition, the committee reviews all additional materials submitted by the applicant that is relevant to the individual's financial circumstances.  Funding amounts also depend upon the number of eligible applicants during each funding cycle.   In 2015, awards were made ranging from $250 - $14,000.

How many awards will be made?
Please note, no representation is or can be made as to the number of grants or the amounts thereof that will be made in any year or during the continuation of this program, which may be discontinued at any time without notice.

How will awards be made?
LRAP awards are made in the form of a forgivable loan. The recipients will sign a promissory note for this loan and MUST retain eligibility for 1 year in order to have the loan forgiven.  Recipients maintain eligibility during the LRAP cycle by remaining in qualified employment, with an eligible salary, and showing that their student loan payments continue to be in active repayment consistent with the amount indicated upon their initial application.   Recipients will be notified to submit required documentation regarding eligibility for forgiveness 1 calendar year following disbursement of the award.


Who will decide who receives a grant?
A committee made up of Cardozo School of Law administrators and faculty has been designated by the Dean of the Law School to review applications and determine eligibility.  The committee makes recommendations to the Dean as to the award of grants.  The Dean, in her sole discretion, determines which applicants will receive grants and in what amount.  All applications will be kept in strict confidence.


  • April 1, 2016:  Application available HERE.
  • June 1, 2016:  Application DEADLINE.  Applications with all supporting documentation MUST be submitted via email to by June 1, 2016.
  • On or about September 1, 2016:  Award notification letters mailed to eligible recipients.
  • On or about October 15, 2016:  Award checks are mailed.

After review of applications, additional information, authorizations, and consents may be required from applicants.  If you have any questions, please contact Leslie Thrope, Director of the Center for Public Service Law or Jon Goldberg, Director of Student Finance, at

"Coming to Cardozo meant having the opportunity to learn from world-class human rights professors such as Sheri Rosenberg and Vijay Padmanabhan. The Human Rights and Genocide Clinic gave me the chance to have the first-hand experience of what it means to be a human rights practitioner. Studying in New York allowed me to take advantage of internships at two of the world's most elite human rights organizations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. All of these experiences gave me the skills and confidence to aim high in my career aspirations and ultimately find myself doing human rights work with the U.S. Department of State. For the past year I've been able to dedicate myself to ensuring the promotion of human rights is part of U.S. foreign policy. Serving in the Office of International Religious Freedom, I work with our diplomats in the field, foreign government officials, and civil society leaders to improve human rights protections in North Africa and better protect the freedom of conscience in a dynamic part of the world. I'm happy to say that my Cardozo education was essential to reaching my goals. Your support of the LRAP program is a tangible helping hand as I begin my career as a human rights advocate, for which I'm deeply appreciative."

-Rustum Nyquist '12, who spent a summer while at Cardozo interning with the Alliance for Arab Women, an Egyptian women's rights organization based in Cairo.