Loan Repayment and Forgiveness
Public Sector Careers
Francis X. Bellotti Loan Repayment Assistance and Forgiveness Program
Loan repayment and assistance programs (LRAP) help law school graduates in law-related public interest careers by assisting them in the repayment of their educational debt. BC Law's program is named after Arbella Insurance founder and former Massachusetts Attorney General Francis X. Bellotti (BC Law '52). Bellotti Program recipients are determined by a Dean-appointed committee and the awards are renewable annually.
Guidelines and Process
General Description of the Program
The goal of the Francis X. Bellotti Loan Repayment Assistance and Forgiveness Program is to encourage Boston College Law School graduates to pursue public interest legal careers. The program does so by offering no-interest loans; these loans are cancelled after one year if qualifying conditions are met. As a condition of the award, LRAP recipients must provide the law school with a commitment letter and promissory note affirming:
· The intent to remain in a law-related public interest position for the full year of the award;
· A promise to repay the award should they not remain in a law-related public interest position for a minimum of nine months of that year, or if they fail to meet any other conditions of the award for that year;
· That the awards received from the Bellotti Program will be used solely for the repayment of educational debt and for no other purpose.
The Committee shall determine annually the award recipients and their award distribution. These determinations are based on:
· The funds available to the Committee;
· The number of qualified LRAP applicants;
· The type of employment;
· The relationship of each applicant's salary to educational debt;
· All information contained on the application form and supporting documents.
In keeping with the Bellotti Program's goal to support a variety of careers in public interest, the Committee may need to cap awards each year in order to assist as many candidates as possible. They may also decide to give awards of varying amounts. In recent years, annual awards ranged from $500 to $7,000.
In order to be considered for the Bellotti Program, first-time applicants must have graduated with a J.D. from Boston College Law School within the past two years and be employed on a full-time basis in a legal public interest job earning $60,500 or less. Judicial clerks may petition to apply within three years of graduation. Part-time employment will be considered on a pro-rated basis, if funds allow.
Beginning with first-time applicants for award year 2015, applicants will remain eligible for awards for up to ten years after graduation or until their salary reaches $65,000. Continuing applicants (those who first applied for award year 2014 or earlier) will remain eligible until their earnings reach $65,000. For example, graduates of the Class of 2014 must apply for the first time by December 1, 2016 for award year 2017.
Graduates employed in the following categories or sectors are not eligible to apply for the award:
- Judicial clerkships of any type, including but not limited to staff attorney positions and judicial fellowships.
- Academic teaching, research, or clinical fellowship positions
- Law school or university administrators
- Boston College Law School Post-Graduate Fellows
- Short-term positions of less than one year
- Volunteers without pay
- Deferred associates who have accepted an offer from a firm, regardless of start date.
Graduates who may be ineligible now will still be eligible to apply to the Bellotti program if they become employed in a qualified law-related public interest position within two years of graduation.
Applicants must also meet the following criteria:
1. Employment must be in a Public Interest Organization
To be eligible for an LRAP award, the applicant's employment must be in a public interest organization. Three broad categories of employment meet this criterion and applicants will be considered in the following descending order of priority. 1) The first category is employment with organizations that provide direct legal services to clients who are indigent and/ or members of traditionally underrepresented groups. These organizations may be private, non-profit entities or government entities. Examples of such organizations include, but are not limited to, legal services corporations and public defenders' offices. 2) The second category is private, non-profit employers. Examples of such employers include, but are not limited to, private organizations with a "501 (c)(3)" or "501 (c)(4)" tax exempt status, such as the ACLU and the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund. 3) The third category is state, municipal or federal government agencies (other than those listed in the exclusion section). Examples of agencies that qualify as public interest employment include, but are not limited to, district attorney offices and attorney general offices.
2. Employment Must be Law Related
Applicants must provide documentation that their employment duties are "law related." At the time of application, candidates will be asked to submit a letter from their employer that describes the terms of the employment offer and description of the duties and salary. The Committee reserves the right to decide if a job meets the intent of the LRAP program.
3. Financial Status
Candidates for the Bellotti Program must agree to: 1) Apply LRAP financial awards directly to their educational loans, and 2) Provide the Committee with a completed Application Form and a copy of your most recent completed federal tax return.
The Committee will make awards for new applicants based on monthly payments as determined under federal income-based repayment plans. First-time applicants should apply and receive official determination of their actual monthly payments prior to the December 1 LRAP application deadline. New graduates should elect a repayment plan and begin repayment during the fall following their graduation.
For all applicants who are eligible for federal income-based repayment plans, the Committee will make awards based on these figures even if the applicant does not select one of these plans. Applicants who are eligible for one of these plans, but have not elected such a plan will be asked to calculate and submit a worksheet to the Committee demonstrating what their monthly payment would be under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) plan. Calculators are available at the website www.studentloans.gov.
To be eligible for an LRAP award for 2015, the applicant must submit an application by e-mail to email@example.com or fax to the attention of LRAP at (617) 552-2917 by December 1, 2014. The application must be received by the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid by December 1st to be considered. If not received by December 1st, your application will not be accepted.