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 helping them repay their educational debt. BC Law School's program honors Arbella Insurance founder and former Massachusetts Attorney General Francis X. Bellotti (BC Law '52). Bellotti Program awards are determined by a Dean-appointed committee and are renewable annually.
The Bellotti Program encourages graduates to pursue public interest careers by offering no-interest loans that are cancelled after one year if qualifying conditions are satisfied.
Recipients and Distributions
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. In recent years, annual awards have ranged from $500 to $6,000.
To be eligible for an LRAP award for the upcoming calendar year, the applicant must submit an application by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The application must be received by the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid by December 1 to be considered. Applicants will be notified of the committee's decision in late January.
Commitment Letter and Promissory Note
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.
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
- be employed on a full-time basis in a legal public interest job
- earn a gross salary of $75,000 or less
For example, graduates of the Class of 2021 must apply for the first time by December 1, 2023 for award year 2024. 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.
Recipients will remain eligible for awards for up to ten years after graduation or until their gross yearly salary reaches $100,000.
Recipients who first applied for award year 2014 or earlier will remain eligible until their gross yearly salary reaches $100,000.
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
- 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.
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 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 apply LRAP financial awards directly to their educational loans.
The Committee will make awards for applicants based on monthly payments as determined under federal income-driven repayment plans (e.g., Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Income-Based Repayment (IBR)). First-time applicants should select a repayment plan and receive official determination of their actual monthly payments prior to the December 1 LRAP application deadline. New graduates should 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 Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) plan. Calculators are available at studentloans.gov.