I think I can, if I'm understanding the rules right, but I was wondering if anyone had done this/could give advice.
I recently completed a JD. My dream in college was always to get a PhD in literature, but for several reasons, some good some bad, I chose to go for the JD instead (it isn't completely unrelated to my literature interests, so it isn't a total wash). I am working in the public sector after graduation, and will be paying down my JD loans using Public Loan Forgiveness, so when I sat down and thought about it I realized I might not have to abandon my PhD dream after all. After a year or two breather from school, I'd like to go back and start working towards a PhD, because if law school and working in the legal field has convinced me of one thing it is that literature (and hopefully a professorship) are where I will be truly happy.
As an overview of PLF: after 120 monthly payments made on my loans while working in the public sector (10 years) the government would forgive my federal loans (which make up 90% of my loans). I can pay income-based repayment while working towards PLF as well. I will never be able to pay my loans off on a gov salary otherwise, but 10 years and then they are forgiven is actually a pretty sweet deal.
Basically to qualify for PLF I have to be employed in a public sector job--generally government or a nonprofit--working full time, or two public sector jobs that combined mean at least 30 hours/wk. As most TA or RA positions for funded programs (MA or PhD) seem to be about 20 hours a week, doing 10 hours a week in another public position would, if I'm right, qualify me for public loan forgiveness. Probably I'd look at doing 10-15 hours of legal aid through a nonprofit or government agency to keep my legal skills up.
Has anyone done PLF while finishing a PhD? Is this dream possible, or am I crazy? I don't mind not making a lot of money--I never have, and am not making much $$ now. But I really want to go back to literature. I'm just hoping the JD won't have killed that dream for me. :/