For Graduates

Loan Repayment Assistance Program

What is an LRAP?

Willamette recognizes that many graduates are unable to pursue careers in public interest law because of the low salaries paid in the public interest sector and the amount of the graduate's loan repayment schedule. The Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) was designed to aid College of Law graduates working in public interest law by reducing their law school student loan debt.

Under the program, which is dependent on available funding each year, the College of Law will lend eligible candidates money to help them repay their student loans. If a loan recipient works in a qualifying public interest position for at least one year after receipt of the LRAP, the loan may be forgiven. Eligible graduates may apply annually for a total of three years of LRAP funding and loan forgiveness.

Who is eligible?

Willamette's LRAP is open to all Willamette University College of Law alumni who graduated after April 2005 and are working in public interest law. Graduates may apply within three calendar years, beginning in the November following their graduation. For example, a student graduating in May 2014 would be eligible to apply for the program through November 2017.

The three-year rule is not extended for graduates who begin work in a non-public interest position after graduation, engage in further academic studies or defer repayment of student loans.

Applicants must meet the following requirements to apply for the LRAP:

  • Be an April 2005 or later Willamette law graduate
  • Be employed in a qualified public interest law position (see below)
  • Have a total modified adjusted gross income of $40,000 per year or less
  • Have outstanding law school educational loan debt
  • Not be delinquent on any student loan payments

What is a qualified public interest law position?

Qualifying employment must be (a) law related and (b) public interest in spirit and content. Law related means that the position must substantially utilize the legal training and skills of the graduate. Public interest is defined as employment in which the applicant's law related work is primarily on behalf of economically disadvantaged or under-represented clients, groups or organizations.

How is loan need determined?

A graduate's income and loan debt burden are the primary considerations for determining eligibility and the amount of annual assistance that he or she may receive from the LRAP program. An applicant's gross income is adjusted to reflect dependents, spousal or domestic partner income, and prior educational debt. The LRAP Loan Committee also may take into account extenuating and extraordinary individual financial circumstances in determining eligibility. Income eligibility and individual financial circumstances are reviewed each year.

In calculating modified gross income, the following is taken into account:

  • Applicant's and spouse's/domestic partner's1 income
  • Number of dependents, if applicable
  • Prior educational debt

When are the loans distributed?

LRAP awards are distributed twice a year, in January and in June. A check will be mailed directly to the recipient.

Is there a maximum amount that I can receive?

The maximum total award a graduate may receive during his or her participation in the program is three times the maximum allowable annual award. The current maximum total amount available is $5,000 per year. The maximum annual award amount may be adjusted by the loan committee at its discretion prior to the awarding of new LRAP loans to applicants in any given year.

In addition, if the sum of all LRAP recipients' loan assistance requirements for a year exceeds the annual LRAP budget, then budget constraints may require that a pro-rata reduction be made to all loans.

Who administers the program and makes the decisions?

The Willamette LRAP program is coordinated by the Willamette Law Placement Office. Among other things, the Placement Office distributes applications to interested graduates, receives completed applications and forwards completed applications to the loan committee, which reviews the applications and makes the loan awards. The loan committee is appointed by the College of Law Dean.

How often do I need to apply for the LRAP?

Applicants must apply for the LRAP each year they want to participate. Graduates may apply to enter the program within three calendar years, beginning in the November following their graduation.

What is loan forgiveness?

Under Willamette's LRAP program, after meeting the income and employment qualifications for a minimum of one year, an applicant may be eligible to receive forgiveness of his or her LRAP loan debt. Loan forgiveness is determined one year from the loan origination date.

How do I apply for the LRAP?

  1. Read the full LRAP Program information materials (PDF).
  2. Fill out the LRAP Application Form (PDF).
  3. Attach a letter of confirmation from your employer that includes the following:
    • Confirmation of your employment, including your start date
    • Confirmation of your projected 2011 annual income
    • A copy of the employer's tax exempt certificate
  4. If you are married or have a domestic partner1, attach a letter from your spouse's/partner's employer confirming his or her projected annual income.
  5. After you have applied to the program and successfully met the program requirements, fill out and submit the Loan Forgiveness Form (PDF).

What are the deadlines for 2013?

The deadline for applications is December 2, 2013.

Where do I send my application?

LRAP Committee
Law Placement Office
Willamette University College of Law
245 Winter ST SE
Salem, OR 97301

Where can I go for more information?

Call 503-370-6057 or e-mail us.

1: Under Willamette's LRAP guidelines, domestic partner is defined as an unmarried partner who provides healthcare benefits to or receives healthcare benefits from the applicant.