Statewide Loan Repayment Assistance Program Accepting Applications Until Oct. 15
On September 1, the statewide Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) began its 13th year of helping lawyers employed at civil legal services organizations funded by Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (PA IOLTA) better manage their undergraduate and law school debt. Lawyers employed at these organizations provide free legal assistance to Pennsylvania’s poor and disadvantaged.
Eligible lawyers will have until Oct. 15 to submit their online applications for loan assistance at www.paioltagrants.org.
Since its launch in 2010, the PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance Program has awarded more than 1,000 loans valued at approximately $3.8 million to more than 300 lawyers employed by IOLTA-funded civil legal services organizations located across Pennsylvania.
LRAP provides for one-year loans, payable quarterly to qualified lawyers with a 12-month employment requirement at an IOLTA-funded organization. The amount of loan repayment assistance provided is determined by the number of eligible applicants and the amount of funding available.
Provided a participating lawyer remains in qualified employment and continues to meet the program’s other eligibility requirements, the lawyer can apply for and receive up to 10, one-year loans over his/her tenure. LRAP loans must be used to repay loans incurred for undergraduate and law school educational costs and are forgiven at the end of each year if eligibility requirements are met.
LRAP is administered by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation and the Pennsylvania PA IOLTA Board. It is a collaboration of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the PA IOLTA Board and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
In 2006, the PBA Task Force on Student Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Assistance advocated for the establishment of a statewide LRAP. The IOLTA Board recommended to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania that pro hac vice fees (the admission fee charged to out-of-state lawyers seeking to enter an appearance in a Pennsylvania case) serve as the revenue source to support the program.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ordered the establishment of the pro hac vice fee in Pennsylvania and dedicated the revenue to support LRAP. The Supreme Court later increased the support by doubling the pro hac vice fee from $100 to $200. In May 2015, then-Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor and the court reaffirmed the court’s commitment to lawyers providing civil legal services by increasing Pennsylvania’s pro hac vice fee to $375, an amount still less than that charged by many other states.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation — PA IOLTA LRAP visit www.pabarfoundation.org.