LRAP Eligibility Guidelines – 2013 & Beyond

LRAP Eligibility Guidelines for Graduating Classes of 2013 and Beyond 

 

Learn how LRAP and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) benefit graduates
Loan Repayment & Forgiveness Presentation
Get in-depth answers to Frequently Asked Questions 
LRAP FAQs: Coverage, Payments & Reporting


Program Overview

1. Qualifying Employment
2. Participant’s Annualized Income and Adjustments
3. Imputed Contribution
4. Eligible Loans
5. Length of Program Participation
6. Loan Repayment Terms (Calculation of Program Assistance)
7. Medical and Family Leave
8. Application Procedures
9. Consultation and Appeals Process
10. Limited Funds Contingency and Right to Modify

The Berkeley Law Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) is designed to aid Berkeley Law graduates who earned the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree and wish to undertake qualifying public service employment for nonprofit public interest organizations or government entities. Under this program, the School of Law will provide one or a series of forgivable loans over a period not to exceed 120 cumulative months to cover educational student loan payments to be made in the six-to-twelve-month period following the granting of each LRAP loan. After the end of each LRAP contract, participants are required to submit a cancellation application to determine if all program requirements have been met and subsequently, if all or a portion of the LRAP loan will be forgiven. 

The following guidelines are for the graduates of the Classes of 2013 and beyond. LRAP is designed to provide support because it is integrated with the federal government’s Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) of federal Direct Loans. This integration allows LRAP to provide support for student loan debt of any size if the borrower elects to make the smaller monthly payments provided by the IDR option.

Please be sure to read this entire document before completing the LRAP application.

 

Program Overview

LRAP provides financial support to graduates who earned the J.D. and are employed in public service settings, where salaries are typically significantly lower than in the private sector. Graduates may participate in the program for up to 10 years.

LRAP constitutes a core component in Berkeley Law’s effort to serve as a public law school, in this case by increasing the ability of its graduates to enter into public service legal jobs and careers. The program aims to ease the financial burden imposed by the escalating costs of a legal education on recent alumni who might otherwise be excluded by economic considerations from accepting relatively low-paying public sector work. The program recognizes the value of public service as a goal for the law school itself and for the lawyers it trains generally, as well as the importance of freedom of career choice for Berkeley Law graduates.

To qualify for LRAP, a graduate must work for a nonprofit organization or an agency of government in law-related employment that makes substantial use of legal skills.

LRAP loans will be granted on a semiannual basis, assisting participants with all qualified student loan payments to be made in the following six to twelve months. At the end of these six to twelve months, the LRAP loan may be fully or partially forgiven (canceled) when the participant demonstrates that they have met the LRAP employment and income requirements and made all the required educational loan payments. (See exception for participants in judicial clerkships of less than two years under Qualifying Employment.)

Because most educational loans offer a six-month grace period following graduation, graduates going directly into qualifying employment will not receive their first LRAP loan until approximately six months after graduation.

 

1. Qualifying Employment

To be eligible for LRAP, an applicant must work in qualifying employment. Only loan payments made while participants work in qualifying employment will be eligible for assistance with an LRAP loan and subsequent cancellation of that LRAP loan (and Public Service Loan Forgiveness).

Qualifying employment is defined as greater than half-time work for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or an agency of government in law-related employment. It includes but is not limited to prosecutors, public defenders, military JAG corps, legislative staff, and administrative agency staff that make substantial use of legal skills, for example, by requiring passage of the bar or otherwise drawing heavily on law school training. Positions with other types of nonprofits, international NGOs, or foreign governments meeting the above requirements can qualify for LRAP coverage, but do not typically qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Non-tenure and tenure track academic positions at nonprofit educational institutions, including but not limited to clinical instructors and research fellows, can also qualify. However, the incomes for these positions typically exceed the LRAP income threshold. The inclusion of tenure track academic positions begins with the Class of 2012 JSP graduates who earned their JD at Berkeley Law. A preliminary review of prospective jobs by an LRAP Advisor is available and encouraged.

LRAP is designed to support graduates entering into public interest. One or multiple judicial clerkships intended to last a total of two or more years are considered qualifying employment. Beginning with the Class of 2008, judicial clerkships of less than two years qualify for LRAP only if the graduate intends to pursue public service employment immediately following the clerkship. If a participant does not complete at least two years of clerkships, or does not enter public interest employment immediately after a clerkship shorter than two year, they will be required to repay the LRAP funds received during the clerkship.

LRAP forgivable loans have a four (4) percent interest rate and no requirement of payment so long as public interest employment is secured at the end of the clerkship. If a graduate in a clerkship of less than two years fails to enroll in the LRAP following the end of their clerkship or leaves qualifying employment before one-year of post-clerkship public interest employment, the entire remaining balance of the loan will become due.

LRAP does not cover graduates whose employment has been deferred and are receiving a fellowship or stipend to do volunteer public interest work before joining their private law firms. The program is designed to provide assistance solely to graduates who are pursuing public interest work or government employment.

 

2. Participant’s Annualized Income and Adjustments

Eligibility for LRAP loans, as well as the amount of the educational loans and scheduled repayment of them, also depends on an applicant’s annualized full-time income. Annualized full-time income is the equivalent of the gross income reported in the Financial Statement and Personal Information section of the LRAP application. Please report your gross income from all sources before any taxes, deductions, adjustments, etc. While you don’t have to report the value of stocks, bonds, or rental properties, you do have to report income earned from any investments including interest, dividends, and rental profit. For those applicants working less than full-time, it includes salary adjusted for the calendar period employed and the number of hours worked per week.

A married participant’s annualized full-time income will not be adjusted unless their spouse has a higher income, in which case the participant’s eligible income will be calculated based on half of the joint income of the couple.

For purposes of entrance into and participation in LRAP, those with dependents, as determined under federal income tax guidelines, shall receive a credit in the form of a downward adjustment of their annualized full-time income by $6,000 for the first dependent and by $4,000 for each additional dependent.

 

3. Imputed Contribution

For program participants with an annualized full-time income of $70,000 or less, the LRAP loan shall equal the amount necessary to cover all scheduled income-driven payments for eligible educational student loans during the participation period.

** Effective July 1, 2019, the LRAP imputed contribution threshold increased to $70,000. Prior to that, the threshold was $65,000. All current and future LRAP contracts will use the $70,000 threshold from July 1, 2019 onward. 

For participants with full-time annualized incomes greater than the imputed contribution threshold, the amount of program assistance will be prorated, with participants expected to make an imputed contribution out-of-pocket. The imputed contribution will be equal to 35 percent of marginal income above the threshold.

LRAP does not provide support to graduates whose annualized incomes are $100,000 or more.

 

4. Eligible Loans

LRAP will provide support only for federal student loans for which the graduate is utilizing the Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) option. Federal student loans include Direct Stafford subsidized and unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans. Private educational loans, UC Berkeley’s bar study loan, Perkins loans, and Federal Family Educational Loan (FFEL) Program loans are not eligible. To receive LRAP support for federal Perkins loans or FFEL loans, graduates must consolidate those loans with one or more of their federal Direct loans to create a Direct consolidation loan. Please meet with an LRAP Advisor prior to consolidating any loans, as consolidation can erase any months of eligible payments already made toward the 120 required for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Program participants may include federal student loans they obtained prior to attending Berkeley Law and for which they are using the Income-Driven Repayment option. Thus, there is no cumulative loan cap for federal student loans.

 

5. Length of Program Participation

Berkeley Law graduates are eligible for their first LRAP loan at the end of their loan grace period, which is typically six months after graduation. Law students graduating in the spring and otherwise eligible will typically qualify for an LRAP loan in November, December, or January following graduation to cover the following six-to-twelve-month period.

Graduates seeking to participate in LRAP must begin participating in the program within three years after the end of their loan grace period, which normally is six months after graduation.

The maximum length of LRAP participation is 10 years. Ten years of LRAP support will enable participants to apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness of federal Direct student loans that the federal government provides to borrowers who meet the requirements. If participants have Federal Family Educational Loan (FFEL) Program Stafford Loans and Perkins Loans that they wish to have forgiven, they should consolidate them in a federal Direct Consolidation Loan. Please meet with an LRAP Advisor prior to consolidating any loans, as consolidation can erase any months of eligible payments already made toward the 120 required for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

 

6. Loan Repayment Terms (Calculation of Program Assistance)

On a semiannual or annual basis, LRAP will provide each participant a forgivable loan equal to their scheduled IDR student loan payments, less any imputed contribution to be made on during the subsequent six-to-twelve-month period.

LRAP will not provide support for student loan payments in excess of those that are scheduled and full repayment assistance is limited to single households or married borrowers who file separate federal tax returns.

Also, participants cannot apply for a LRAP loan, make payments less than the ones scheduled, and have the entire LRAP loan forgiven. To make maximum use of LRAP, participants are advised to utilize the Income-Driven Repayment option when repaying their federal Direct student loans.

If the participant’s public service legal employment does not meet the requirements for the federal government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness program because it is with an NGO or foreign government, LRAP will provide support for up to 25 years if they are making Income Based Repayments and their public service employment meets LRAP requirements, while continuing to be employed by the NGO or foreign government.

For most participants, the LRAP loan will be equal to six to twelve months of scheduled loan payments, less any imputed contribution.

 

7. Medical and Family Leave

Graduates may receive LRAP support during periods of paid and unpaid medical and family leave while employed. It includes medical, parental, and family medical care leave. Parental leave includes birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. For family medical care leave, family members include spouse, children, parents, siblings, and grandparents.

LRAP will provide up to six months of support for each incidence of leave and no more than a total of 24 months of support during the 10 years of participation in the program.

The maximum amount of support that LRAP will provide is the scheduled standard payments for private student loans and IDR payments for federal student loans.

 

8. Application Procedures

Graduates should apply online. Submitted applications must contain all pertinent information regarding educational loans, employment, and income. The Financial Aid Office accepts LRAP applications on a rolling application cycle. Continuing applicants must submit an application for the upcoming cycle no later than within the month the new eligibility period starts. In order to provide funding at the beginning of each pay period, we encourage applicants to submit their forms prior to our deadline. An LRAP Advisor will inform applicants about their eligibility and provide approved applicants with the promissory note and statement of rights and responsibilities for their LRAP forgivable loan. Program participants will not receive their forgivable loan until they complete and return their promissory note and statement of rights and responsibilities to the Berkeley Law Financial Aid Office. Participants must mail in a hard copy of their LRAP forms with a wet signature, but can also provide an electronic version for faster processing.

LRAP participants must apply for the cancellation of their LRAP forgivable loan within 30 days after the end of each LRAP contract. An LRAP Advisor will inform participants whether their forgivable loan has been canceled.

 

9. Consultation and Appeals Process

The Financial Aid Office encourages students and graduates to consult with an LRAP Advisor regarding LRAP eligibility prior to submitting an application if they have questions or concerns about their eligibility. If an application is denied, the applicant may submit an appeal to the Assistant Dean of Financial Aid. If the appeal is denied, the applicant may submit an appeal to the Dean of the Law School.

 

10. Limited Funds Contingency and Right to Modify

In the event that funding is not sufficient to fully fund all qualified applicants in the manner anticipated above, the law school will select LRAP recipients and determine award levels; available funds may be disbursed pro rata, or awards may be adjusted on an individual basis considering salary and total loan indebtedness.

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last updated April 25, 2019