LRAP FAQs

You can find most information about our program guidelines, eligibility, formulas for LRAP support, application and forgiveness procedures, and more in our LRAP Handbooks. For any other questions you might have, read through this Frequently Asked Questions page, schedule an appointment, or email us at lrap@law.berkeley.edu.

 

General LRAP Questions

 

Repayment Questions

 

LRAP Coverage

 

LRAP Payments

 

 

General LRAP Questions

 

How does LRAP work? Who makes the student loan payments? If you are eligible for LRAP support, you will receive funding directly from Berkeley Law in the form of a forgivable loan for a given period of time. During that period, you will make the required student loan payments to your loan servicer on a monthly basis. At the end of your LRAP contract, you’ll submit a forgiveness application and provide proof of those loan payments, income, and employment. If your income remained the same and you made your payments as expected, your LRAP loan will be forgiven.

 

Can I voluntarily waive the grace periods for my loans and begin my loan payments and LRAP participation early? No, LRAP coverage begins at the end of your grace period for federal loans, which is generally in November or December if you graduate in May.

 

I am a newly admitted student. Will LRAP still be around by the time I graduate? Absolutely. Berkeley Law is committed to supporting its public interest graduates.

 

How does California’s budget affect LRAP? Our LRAP is funded primarily by the Professional Degree Fee and is not dependent on state funding. However, the law school budget as a whole is not unlimited.

 

When do I have to report address, family, or income changes? Please notify us of changes immediately and include the effective dates. You can notify us via email.

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Repayment Questions

 

Why is my monthly payment $0? The Department of Education uses the adjusted gross income on your tax return to determine what your monthly payment amount should be under an income-driven repayment plan. If the income on your tax return is less than 150% of the federal poverty standard, it is likely you’ll receive a $0 monthly payment. In 2020, that means you must have more than approximately $19,000 of income on your tax return to receive a monthly payment greater than $0. It is common to receive a $0 monthly payment in your first and second years of repayment.

 

What do I do if my monthly payment is $0? Fortunately, a $0 monthly payment counts as a qualifying payment for Public Service Loan Forgiveness if assigned through the income-driven repayment plan application process and if you are employed in qualifying employment. Thus, there’s no need for you to make any extra payments. The $0 payment shouldn’t be a cause for concern if you plan on pursuing PSLF, but be aware that making $0 payment will cause you to have unpaid interest and your loans to grow in balance (negative amortization). We recommend reviewing the PSLF requirements (on the Federal Student Aid page and on our website) to make sure you know all the things you need to do to comply.

 

Why is my monthly payment less than last year? The Department of Education uses the adjusted gross income on your tax return to determine what your monthly payment amount should be under an income-driven repayment plan. Therefore, the income used by the federal government may be less than your current income.

 

How do I find out what agency services my loans? If you are unsure on the agency that services your loans, you should review your loans at NSLDS or on the Federal Student Aid website, where you’ll be able to see your loan servicer. Once you’ve located your loan servicer, you can create an online account to access your balance, make payments, and download payment histories.

 

What is negative amortization? Negative amortization occurs when the payments on a loan are less than the interest that accrues each month, causing the loan balance to increase.

 

What is the difference between IDR, IBR, PAYE, and ICR? IBR and PAYE are examples of income-driven repayment plans (IDR). You apply for an income-driven repayment plan with your loan servicer, and they will calculate a payment that is 10-15% of your discretionary income from the prior year. This is the monthly payment that is used to calculate your LRAP forgivable loan amount. (Only the graduating classes of 2012 and prior are eligible for coverage under the standard 10-year repayment plan.) Please note that income contingent repayment (ICR) is NOT eligible for LRAP support.

 

Can I refinance my loans with a private company? If you want to stay in LRAP and pursue PSLF, you cannot refinance your loans with a private company. LRAP assistance is available only for federal student loans enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan. Refinancing will transfer your loans from the Department of Education to a private company and remove any ability to enter into income-driven repayment or utilize Public Service Loan Forgiveness. You are welcome to refinance if you no longer plan to use LRAP or PSLF.

 

What is the timeline for applying for IDR/LRAP? Please refer to the table below for a suggested timeline for actions you should take during your graduation year.

Action

Suggested Timeline

Grace period

Lasts for 6 months after graduation (May – November)

Apply for loan consolidation if you have Perkins or FFEL loans (consult with the Financial Aid Office first!)

2-3 months before repayment (approximately in August – September)

Apply for Income-Driven Repayment

2 months before repayment (approximately in September)

Apply for LRAP

1+ months before repayment (approximately October)

Repayment

Begins 6 months after graduation (November/December)

 

What should I be doing each year for IDR/LRAP/PSLF? Please refer to the table below for a suggested timeline for actions you should take each year.

Action

Suggested Timeline

Recertify your income with your loan servicer for your IDR plan

~3 months before your current IDR plan ends.

Apply for renewed LRAP support

~1 month before your current LRAP contract ends.

Apply for LRAP loan forgiveness

The month after your current LRAP contract ends.

Submit a PSLF Employment Certification Form

Annually, and every time you leave a job (submit a final ECF including an end date for each job).

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LRAP Coverage

 

What if my income changes after I’ve already received an LRAP forgivable loan? If your income changes in a given month, we use the income that corresponds to the position you held for the majority of the month. If your income is over $70,000, you may not be eligible to have 100% of your LRAP loan forgiven. This is addressed in the cancellation (i.e. forgiveness) application review. If you need to “repay” funds, you will be notified after your forgiveness application is reviewed and will have a four month interest-free grace period before interest starts accruing and you need to make payments on the amount owed. However, to help you plan financially, we recommend notifying us as soon as possible (according to the terms of the LRAP promissory note) of any changes that may impact your eligibility so that we can estimate how much of your LRAP loan will not be forgiven. 

 

When do I have to report address, family, or income changes? Please notify us of changes immediately and include the effective dates via email.

 

How does my clerkship impact my participation in LRAP? LRAP is designed to support graduates entering into public interest. For one-year (or less-than-two-year) clerkships, you must enter public interest employment immediately following your clerkship or you will be asked to repay the LRAP funds you received while in the clerkship. Completion of a two-year or longer clerkship (or multiple clerkships totaling two or more years) satisfies the employment requirement for LRAP. However, if you don’t finish the second year of your clerkship, you will need to enter qualifying employment (either at a 501(c)(3) or government entity) immediately following the clerkship to have your LRAP loan forgiven.

 

How does unemployment impact my LRAP participation? If you are unemployed during your LRAP contract, you are not eligible for LRAP during the period of time. The change in employment will be addressed through the cancellation process. If you received LRAP funds in excess of your eligibility, we will bill you for that amount.

 

Why is my contract length set for less than 12 months? There are multiple reasons why an LRAP contract length may be less than 12 months. We try to align LRAP contract periods with your income-driven repayment plan and any anticipated changes in family, job, or monthly payment amount. This is to ensure that your LRAP forgivable loan is as accurate as possible from the onset. We may also occasionally need to reduce the length of LRAP contracts to ensure funding for all qualified participants. 

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LRAP Payments

 

When can I expect to receive my LRAP forgivable loan? LRAP applications are processed in the order received. It can take between 3-6 weeks for your LRAP application to be processed and for you to receive funding. If your application is incomplete or you have an address change, this process may take longer.

 

My application has been processed. When will I receive my funds? If you have EFT set up, it can take a couple of days for the funds to be deposited into your account. If you don’t, a paper check should arrive in approximately two weeks.

 

Can I get my LRAP funds sent directly to my bank account? Yes! We strongly encourage you to set up EFT (electronic funds transfer) to receive your LRAP forgivable loan funds directly into a bank account of your choosing! This not only prevents checks from getting lost in the mail, but also means that you receive your funds faster. Be sure to complete the form as a vendor, and include a voided check when mailing your authorization form. Follow the EFT authorization instructions for UC Berkeley vendorsThis is a separate EFT account/process than when you were a student. You cannot apply for EFT for UC Berkeley vendors until after your first LRAP award is issued.

 

How do I change my EFT settings? In order to change your EFT, you must complete a new EFT Authorization Form and follow the EFT authorization instructions for UC Berkeley vendors.

 

I received a pay raise and my new salary will push me over the $70,000 threshold. When and how much do I need to pay back? Please send your updated income information to lrap@law.berkeley.edu. When your cancellation (forgiveness) application is being processed, the LRAP team will re-calculate your eligibility and notify you of the portion of your LRAP loan that is ineligible to be forgiven. If you are required to repay funds, you will be given advance notice and there will be a four-month interest-free period before payment is required.

 

Does it matter when I make my student loan payments from the LRAP funding? Yes, it does matter. In order to receive LRAP funds you must be enrolled in an eligible repayment plan and make monthly, regularly scheduled payments within that LRAP contract period. Payments made outside of the LRAP contract period will not be counted in the forgiveness review. Late payments do not count as qualifying payments for PSLF purposes. If you are enrolled in the IDR track and plan to pursue Public Service Loan Forgiveness, it’s critical that you make your payments on time, when a payment is due, and for the amounts required by your income-driven repayment plan. Late payments do not count for PSLF, and neither do lump sum payments (unless you specifically request not to be put on a paid ahead status). We encourage everyone pursuing PSLF to become familiar with the PSLF requirements and reach out with any questions.

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last updated February 14, 2020

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