The purpose of the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (“LRAP”) is to facilitate the University of Oregon School of Law’s contribution of talented candidates to legal institutions serving the public interest. Consistent with the law school’s legacy of public service, the LRAP seeks to ease the debt burdens incurred during law school for those who choose to work in qualifying public interest law jobs.
The University of Oregon School of Law recognizes that entering public interest service is often impossible for graduates repaying large educational debts and adhering to standard loan repayment schedules. Support from LRAP will make public interest law a more viable career option for law graduates and will infuse the nation’s public institutions with new talent, vigor, and leadership.
The LRAP is open to individuals who are J.D. graduates of the University of Oregon School of Law as of December 2010 or later. Graduates must apply to the program within 4 years of their graduation date. Students graduating in December of 2014 are eligible for the program if they have a written job offer from their future employer.
Eligibility criteria for the program are:
- 1. Employment in a qualified public interest law or J.D. advantage position, with a
- 2. Total projected adjusted gross income below $55,000/year, and
- 3. Outstanding Law School graduate educational loan debt.
Graduates meeting the three criteria outlined above are eligible to apply for the program. The LRAP Selection Committee composed of faculty, staff, students and alumni will evaluate all of the applications and choose the LRAP recipients. The Committee will look at several financial factors to make their decisions such as income levels, debt obligations, undergraduate and other graduate debt, debt/income of partner or spouse, as well as the applicant’s prior commitment to public interest activities and stated public interest career objectives. Those graduates receiving LRAP assistance will be given short term LRAP loans not to exceed $5,000 per year for up to three years. Each year that a LRAP recipient continues working in the public interest field, a portion of their LRAP loans will be forgiven. After three years of public interest service, 100% of their LRAP loans will be forgiven.
Law school personnel perform the administrative duties associated with the program. LRAP loans are disbursed annually. In the event that a program participant leaves qualifying work, it will be the participant’s responsibility to notify the LRAP administration immediately and/or return any improperly issued loans.
Maximum Benefits under the LRAP
There are two policies behind the benefit caps in the LRAP. The first is to ensure that the LRAP program serves as many individuals as possible while still providing LRAP participants with a substantial loan repayment during public interest law service. The second policy is to allow administrators to calculate the maximum total LRAP loan for any participant in the program. This will allow administrators to budget the program into the future, and to determine the number of new LRAP applicants who may be accepted in any given year.
To achieve these goals, the program places two caps on the maximum level of benefits an individual may receive under the program. The first cap is the maximum annual amount that a graduate may receive under the LRAP. This annual cap is $5,000 per year. The second cap is the maximum total amount of time any graduate may receive aid from the LRAP and is set at three years. This three-year cap will allow graduates to receive up to $15,000 from the LRAP.