Monday, February 22, 2010

Law School Offers "Graduate Assistance Program" - Gives Stipends to Grads Struggling to Find Paying Work

The Virginia Law Weekly came out with its third and final installment on its job series last Friday, this one titled "After Changes to Career Services, More Lie Ahead". We spearheaded one part of the article that dealt with a new program that the Law Weekly staff discovered to assist graduates who were having difficulty finding finding full-time, paying employment:

One such step [of the Law School's broadening of services to alumni] has been the initiation of a stipend program for unemployed graduates, funded by the Law School Foundation. The details of the program were relayed to the Law Weekly by a pair of alumni who both spoke on the condition of anonymity.

According to materials forwarded to the Law Weekly from one of these individuals, there are several requirements to qualify for the “Graduate Assistance Program.” Alumni who cannot find sufficiently high-paying legal work must take full-time volunteer legal positions. Graduates who do so are eligible to receive $2,250 per month for up to six months. Career Services will monitor the students’ progress and ensure compliance with the rules before authorizing each month’s payment.

Additionally, the forwarded materials state that if a graduate receives assistance from this program, “then he/she is ineligible to receive assistance from our loan forgiveness program.” The graduate will be able to receive assistance from the loan forgiveness program as soon as he or she finds a qualifying paying postion (and thus is no longer in the Graduate Assistance Program).

The email also stressed that the “program is temporary and designed to be the first step toward getting a paid position.”

The payments themselves will be made by the Law School Foundation, which will mail participating graduates a check in the appropriate amount at the end of each month. The amounts will be subject to federal income taxation, and the Law School Foundation will issue participating graduates a Form 1099 at the end of the year.

The Law Weekly does not have any information about the number of students being helped by this program. Donovan declined to comment on any of its specific aspects. “For many reasons, primarily relating to student privacy issues and to the way that our graduates’ experience will be perceived by outside employers, we do not go into the specifics of our many efforts on behalf of both current students and recent graduates. More generally, however, I can say that we are aggressively pursuing every avenue that has occurred to any of us for dealing with this difficult market.” [All emphasis mine].

That's all the information there is on the subject, so we'll use this space to give our 2 cents: We think that this is a great program: it gives students experience and allows them to support themselves while doing something that might lead to a paying job, or, alternatively, searching for another such job. The money comes from the Law School Foundation, so it shouldn't (in theory) directly cause an increase in the tuition of current students. This program should boost the morale of those third-year students who are having a difficult time right now finding full-time work; it should also remind the entire school of the hard work that the Career Services have been doing recently on behalf of students, as this is (see the entire article) just one of many instances in which the office as redoubled its efforts to help better ensure that students are able to land and stay on their feet after graduation.

After Changes to Career Services, More Lie Ahead [Law Weekly]
Law School Foundation Website


Anonymous said...

And it should boost our 'employed at graduation' stats for U.S. News.

"Graduate Assistance Program - or how I learned to stop worrying and love the recession"

Anonymous said...

journalism tip: you shouldn't grant anonymity to journalistic sources without explaining in the body of the story why the source sought anonymity/felt it was necessary (if the reason is not obvious from the subject matter of the story).

Anonymous said...

uhh obviously the alumni in the story felt embarrassed or otherwise reluctant to publicize that they were still unemployed. that seems perfectly understandable and legit to me.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and put D H in charge of helping alumni find jobs...thanks UVA!