Statewide Loan Repayment Assistance Program to Begin Accepting Applications for 2021
On September 1, the statewide Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) will begin its next year of helping attorneys employed at civil legal services organizations funded by Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (PA IOLTA) better manage their undergraduate and law school debt.
The LRAP is a collaboration of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the PA IOLTA Board and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The program was enacted with the following goals:
- Help attorneys employed at IOLTA-funded legal services organizations across the state better manage their undergraduate and law school student loan debt so they can afford to remain in public service; and
- Help IOLTA-funded legal aid organizations recruit and retain the best and the brightest attorneys for service in the public good.
Loan applicants must be licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania or be permitted to practice law under Bar Admission Rule 311, have a valid Pennsylvania Supreme Court-identification number, be in good standing and practice law as an employee of an IOLTA-funded organization.
At the time of application, the applicant’s total gross salary may not exceed $66,000; however, if the attorney’s annual net debt service is greater than or equal to 10% of the attorney’s current annual gross salary, he/she may apply regardless of the annual gross salary cap.
At the time of application, the amount of educational debt based on loans from commercial and government lending institutions, as well as university or other private institutional loans associated with law school and undergraduate educational debts must be greater than or equal to the amount of the LRAP grant. The attorney’s qualifying educational debt must be in satisfactory repayment.
The program provides one-year loans, payable to qualified attorneys quarterly, with a 12-month employment requirement at qualifying organizations. Providing a participating attorney continues to meet the eligibility requirements, the attorney can apply for and receive up to ten, one-year loans over his/her tenure in qualified employment.
The loans must be used to repay loans incurred for undergraduate and law school education costs and bar exam study and will be forgiven at the end of each year if eligibility requirements have been met.
Provided the participating attorney retains eligibility for the entire 12-month period and fully complies with all of the requirements set forth in the loan agreement, the full amount of the loan together with all interest that has accrued on the loan shall be forgiven and cancelled on January 31, 2022.
The Bar Foundation administers one loan assistance cycle each year. The amount of loan assistance provided to each applicant will depend on the available funding and the number of qualifying attorney applicants.
The 2021 Loan Repayment Assistance Program application period will open on September 1, 2020 on the WebGrants Portal. Eligible attorneys will have until October 15. 2020 to submit their online applications for loan assistance at www.paioltagrants.org.
For more information visit https://www.pabar.org/site/Foundation/What-We-Do/PA-IOLTA-Loan-Repayment-Assistance.