Oct. 16 Application Deadline for Statewide Loan Repayment Assistance Program

share

Pennsylvania Bar Foundation logoLawyers employed by the IOLTA-funded civil legal services organizations providing free legal services to low-income Pennsylvanians have until Oct. 16 to apply for student loan repayment assistance from the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), which is administered by the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (PA IOTLA) Board and the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation.
 
The amount of loan repayment assistance provided is determined by the number of eligible applications and the amount of funding available. Since the LRAP's 2010 launch, more than $2 million of loan assistance has been awarded. 

The goal of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance Program (“LRAP”) is two-fold:

  • 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.

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 2006 Report and Recommendation of the PBA Task Force on Student Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Assistance advocated for the establishment of a statewide LRAP. The IOLTA Board identified and recommended pro hac vice fees, the admission fee charged to out-of-state attorneys seeking to enter an appearance in a Pennsylvania case, to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as the revenue source to support the program.

In 2007, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ordered the establishment of the pro hac vice fee in Pennsylvania, dedicated the revenue to the support of the LRAP and in 2010 doubled the support by increasing the pro hac vice fee from $100 to $200.  Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor and the court have recently reaffirmed the court’s commitment to increasing the pool of attorneys available to provide civil legal services to Pennsylvanians who cannot afford them by increasing Pennsylvania’s pro hac vice fee to $375, an amount still less than that charged by many other states.

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.

More Information and Application Form