Loan Repayment Assistance Program
The Oregon State Bar recognizes that substantial educational debt can create a financial barrier which prevents lawyers from pursuing or continuing careers in public service law. The mission of the OSB Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) is to attract and retain public service lawyers by helping them pay their educational debt.
College Cost Reduction and Access Act
Lawyers interested in this program may also be interested in reading about two federal programs: 1. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, signed into law in October, 2007; 2. Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program.
Detailed information about these programs and Equal Justice Works
A summary of the OSB LRAP Policies and Guidelines follows:
Qualifying Employment: Qualifying employment includes employment as a practicing attorney within the State of Oregon with civil legal aid organizations, other private non-profit organizations providing direct legal representation of low-income individuals, as public defenders or as deputy district attorneys. Judicial clerks and attorneys appointed on a case-by-case basis are not eligible.
License/Residency/Graduation Requirements: Program applicants must be licensed to practice in Oregon. Program participation is not limited to graduates of Oregon law schools or to Oregon residents, provided the applicant works in Oregon.
Salary Cap: Applicants with salaries at the time of initial application greater than $65,000 will be ineligible for Program participation.
Eligible/Minimum Debt: All graduate and undergraduate educational debt in the applicants name will be eligible for repayment assistance. Applicants with eligible debt at the time of initial application less than $35,000 will be ineligible for Program participation.
The Program will make a forgivable loan (LRAP loan) of up to $7,500 per year per Program participant for a maximum of three consecutive years. The Advisory Committee reserves discretion to adjust the amount of the LRAP loan and/or length of participation based on changes in the availability of program funding. The Program annually will forgive one year of loans if the Participant has been in qualifying employment the prior year and has paid at least the amount of his/her LRAP loan on his/her student loans. Only a complete year (12 months from, April 15, the due date of application) of qualifying employment counts toward LRAP loan forgiveness.
Applications: Applicants must be members of the OSB already engaged in qualifying employment by the application deadline. Applicants may not commence the application process prior to receiving bar exam results.
Selection Criteria: Meeting the salary, debt and employment eligibility for the Program does not automatically entitle an applicant to receive a LRAP loan. If the Advisory Committee needs to select among applicants meeting the salary, debt and employment eligibility criteria, it may take into account the following factors:
- Demonstrated commitment to public service;
- Financial need
- Educational debt to income ratio;
- Extraordinary personal expenses;
- Type and location of work; and
- Assistance from other loan repayment assistance programs;
The Advisory Committee reserves the right to accord each factor
a different weight, and to make a selection among otherwise equally qualified
The following factors, in addition to the applicants salary from qualifying employment, may be considered in determining applicant's income:
- Earnings and other income as shown on applicants most recent tax return
- Income–producing assets;
- Medical expenses;
- Child care expenses;
- Child support; and
- Other appropriate financial information.
If there are more eligible applicants than potential Program participants for a given year, the Advisory Committee will keep the materials submitted by other applicants for a period of six months in the event a selected individual does not participate in the Program.
Loan Repayment: Program participants who become ineligible for Program participation because they leave qualifying employment must repay LRAP loans, including interest, for any amounts not previously forgiven.
Applications must be postmarked or delivered to the Oregon State Bar office. If April 15 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is extended to the following Monday.
Applicants notified whether they have been selected for Program participation
Signed promissory notes due for all participants
Initial LRAP loan disbursed
completed applications to: OSB Loan Repayment Assistance Program, 16037 SW Upper Boones Ferry Road, Tigard, Oregon 97281.
To be considered, applications must include all of the following documents:
In 2007, the first year of the program, the LRAP Advisory Committee selected seven applicants to participate.
Over the past five years, fourteen applicants were selected to participate in 2015, twenty-two in 2016, fourteen in 2017, eighteen in 2018 and twenty-three in 2019.
These lawyers practice in locations across the state and include public defenders, assistant district attorneys and lawyers at various legal nonprofits that provide direct representation of low-income individuals.
LRAP Advisory Committee
Alan Rappleyea, Chair
|Washington County Counsel|
Jeff D. Auxier
|Columbia County District Attorney’s Office|
Erik W. Bonn
|Gleaves Swearingen LLP|
Elaine J. Brown
|Gordon & Polscer|
Meghan E. Collins
|Legal Aid Services of Oregon State Bar|
|Willamette University College of Law|
Justin R. Morton
|Intermountain Public Defender|
|Washington County Counsel|
|BOG Member, Center for Women’s Leadership|
|McLain Legal Services|
For more information, contact Catherine Petrecca, email@example.com, (503) 431-6355.