Loan Repayment Assistance

Many Loyola College of Law graduates devote their careers to public service work as advocates for traditionally underserved communities. Given a significant law school debt burden, such careers might not be feasible without some form of assistance. Since 1991, the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) has tried to address this problem and remains committed to furthering its goal of providing quality legal assistance to communities throughout the country.

Eligible Jobs

LRAP is available for Loyola College of Law J.D. Program graduates who work full-time as attorneys in government or nonprofit jobs throughout the United States. Employment in private law firms, teaching positions, animal rights organizations, etc. do not qualify under the program guidelines. Applicants are eligible to apply for a loan immediately upon accepting a qualifying position unless awards have already been finalized for the current year. In that event, the request for assistance would be delayed until the following September. Students and alumni who are unsure if their planned employment will meet program criteria should consult the Gillis Long office.

Eligible Assistance

LRAP assistance is not available for periods of unemployment or volunteer employment. LRAP is also not available for loans from family and friends, for personal loans from banks or other sources. Although LRAP includes undergraduate loans, it does not include loans for other graduate school debt.

There is no retroactive LRAP assistance and no LRAP assistance for periods of loan forberance or deferment. In order to be, and remain, eligible for LRAP, graduates must provide proof of good standing from the servicers of all applicable loans, including undergraduate/joint degree loans, and may not have an outstanding term bill balance with Loyola University. LRAP assistance is solely and specifically intended to be used to repay eligible education loans. Graduates may apply yearly as long as they remain in an approved program job position.

Application Process

Applications are mailed annually in August. Applicants may reapply each year while in a qualifying position. Funds are sometimes awarded in two payments. The first payment is awarded in December and the second in April. Graduates who receive two payments are required to submit a second employer certification form before the second payment is awarded. It is the participant’s responsibility to report any change in employment, address, income, or other financial circumstances promptly to the Gillis Long office.

Under new program guidelines, in addition to the Employer Certification Form(s), a letter from the employer is required by September 1st following receipt of an award confirming the applicant’s employment for the previous year. If the employer letter is not received, your grant will be reported to IRS as income and will be taxed.

The LRAP application requests the following information:

  • Part I: Contact Information
  • Part II: Employment and Income Information
    • Start date, annual salary, and effective date of annual salary and spouse’s annual salary
    • Additional income information (other taxable, untaxed income, etc.)
  • Part III: Asset Information
    • Amount of cash or savings (broken down by participant, spouse, and jointly held)
    • Home value, investments, etc.
    • Other loan repayment assistance amounts received
  • Part IV: Loan Certifications
    • Current balance and required monthly payment amounts for all lenders (documentation must include the monthly payment amount, current amount due as well as past due amounts, and the outstanding loan balance)

    • Spouse current loan balances and required monthly loan paymentsForbearance and/or deferment information

  • Part V: Information Certification Form

  • Part VI: Employer Certification form with information release

  • Part VII: Signature Page for applicants and spouses

  • 2013-2014 LRAP applications will be available on the Gillis Long Home Page in August 2014

  • No application will be reviewed until all requested information is received.

Awards

The assistant director, Christina Luwisch, administers the program for the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center. Each application is reviewed for program requirements and presented to the LRAP Committee. The Committee is comprised of law faculty members, the Director and the Assistant Director. This Committee reviews and approves the awards.

Awards vary each fiscal year dependent on the number of applicants and the available funds in the budget.

LRAP assistance is not considered taxable income if the participant works for a government agency or a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization (specifically legal services) and receives the repayment assistance in the form of a loan. For this reason, recipients of non-taxable LRAP awards must sign a promissory note for the amount of any LRAP assistance. These loans are then forgiven in the following year provided the graduate has complied with the rules of the program.

The LRAP promissory notes are voided and returned to the graduate.
On September 1 of each year, recipients must forward a letter (on office letterhead) from the employer confirming employment for the previous year.

Income Level

The Gillis Long LRAP program has a current salary ceiling of $55,000.00. Salary information is requested for the applicant’s spouse, but, at present, is not used in determining the LRAP award.

Acknowledgment

The Gillis Long Poverty Law Center publicly extends heartfelt thanks to John and June Mary Makdisi and the Kendall Vick Public Law Foundation for their generous financial support of the LRAP Program.

 

For additional information, please contact: Christina Luwisch, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118, (504) 861-5762, cmluwisc@loyno.edu