LRAP Program Guidelines

Program Overview

LRAP provides financial support for recent J.D. graduates employed in public interest or public service settings, where salaries are significantly lower than in the private sector. Graduates may participate in the Program for up to 10 years. The 10 years of participation need not be continuous, but must be completed within 12 years.

To qualify for LRAP, a graduate must work for a nonprofit organization or an agency of government in law-related employment that makes substantial use of legal skills. There are certain specific exceptions as set forth in the “Qualifying Employment” section below. LRAP loans will be granted for the current period, assisting participants with all qualified loan payments to be made for that period. At the end of the period, the LRAP loan will be forgiven (canceled) when the participant demonstrates that he or she has met the employment and income requirements and made all the qualified educational loan payments.

Because most educational loans offer a six-month grace period following graduation, graduates going directly into qualifying employment will usually receive their first LRAP loan approximately six months after graduation.

UCLA J.D. graduates who have outstanding charges on their BAR account are not eligible to apply for LRAP funds until the balance owed is paid in full. Graduates in arrears on student loan payments are not eligible to participate in LRAP until all accounts are brought to a "current" status.

Qualifying Employment (New guidelines effective as of 1/1/2018)

To be eligible for LRAP, an applicant must work in qualifying employment. Only loan repayments made while participants work in qualifying employment will be eligible for assistance with an LRAP loan and subsequent cancellation. Qualifying employment is defined as a full-time permanent paid work and includes the following:

(a) A nonprofit organization or an agency of government in law-related employment that makes substantial use of legal skills, for example, by requiring passage of the bar or otherwise drawing heavily on law school training.

(b) Employment in non-tenure track law school clinical instructor positions requiring substantial case supervision.

(c) Positions with international NGO's that meet the above requirements.

(d) Positions with an agency of a foreign government will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

(e) Fellowships with a private public interest law firm will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

(f) Career clerkships.

(g) Starting with the 2018 eligibility period, judicial clerkships of two years or less are also qualifying.

Positions in private firms other than fellowship as in (e) above are not qualifying.

Graduates who are permanently employed less than full-time (but greater than half time) in positions that otherwise meet the above definition may still qualify for assistance by demonstrating that they are actively seeking full-time work.

Participant's Annualized Income, Income Cap, Adjustments and Asset Cap

Eligibility for LRAP loans, as well as the amount of the LRAP loans, depends also on an applicant's annualized full-time income. Annualized full-time income is the equivalent of the total income reported in the Financial Statement and Personal Information section of the LRAP application. To be eligible for an LRAP loan, an applicant's annualized full-time income (after adjustments as set forth below) must be less than $80,000.

A married participant's annualized full-time income will not be adjusted unless his or her spouse has a higher income, in which case the participant's eligible income will be calculated based on half of the joint income of the couple. In determining joint income, educational loan payments by the spouse will be subtracted in determining the spouse's annual income.

For purposes of entrance into and participation in LRAP, those with dependent children, as determined under federal income tax guidelines, shall receive a credit in the form of a downward adjustment of their annualized full-time income, by $6,000 for one dependent child and by $4,000 for each additional dependent child.

Each applicant is allowed to accumulate $10,000 per year of assets (exclusive of retirement funds and home equity) without those assets affecting eligibility for LRAP loans, as well as the amount of the loans. A married participant is allowed to accumulate $20,000 per year of assets (exclusive of retirement funds and home equity). Any funds over these amounts will constitute income for the purposes of determining LRAP eligibility and a participant's required contribution.

In the case in which the applicant and his/her spouse are both eligible for assistance, the income for each will be calculated as half of the couple's combined income, UCLA Law educational loan repayments will not be deducted from the spouse's income, each may deduct half of the dependent allowance, and each may take the full asset exclusion.

Imputed Contribution

For Program participants with an annualized full-time income of $60,000 or less, the LRAP loan shall equal the amount necessary to cover all scheduled payments for eligible loans during the applicable eligibility period. For participants with full-time annualized incomes greater than $60,000, the amount of Program assistance will be prorated, with participants expected to make an imputed contribution. The imputed contribution will be equal to 35% of income above $60,000.

Beginning with a participant's 3rd year of participation in the LRAP the Contribution Point of $60,000 will be increased by $1,000 per year (e.g., a person who is in his third year of participating in our LRAP will have a Contribution Point of $61,000; a 4th year participant will have a Contribution Point of $62,000, etc.).

Eligible Loans

LRAP will assist with repayment of the principal and capitalized interest of the federal student loans for which the applicant is using one of these Income Drive Repayment (IDR) options:  Income Based Repayment (IBR) or Pay As You Earn (PAYE). There is no loan cap for federal student loans. Federal student loans include: Perkins if included in a Federal Direct Consolidation loan, Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford & Direct, and Graduate PLUS loans.

For applicants who currently do not utilize IBR or PAYE, their monthly loan debt will be determined based on the lesser of: (a) the imputed IBR/PAYE repayment or (b) the applicant’s actual repayment plan. In this case, the applicant will be responsible for at least the difference in his/her actual loan payments and the IBR/PAYE calculation determined by the Law Financial Aid Office for the purposes of LRAP eligibility.

Married applicants, who file their federal tax returns jointly, will experience higher PAYE or IBR payment, unless the spouse is not working and only the applicant’s income is taken into consideration when determining the monthly loan payment.  If you decide to file your federal taxes jointly and your spouse has an income, we will use the applicant’s income only and the household size to calculate PAYE or IBR payment.  This means if you file your tax returns jointly your monthly loan payment may be higher than your monthly LRAP benefit.

The debt limit on a private, law school approved, Bar study loan is $15,000. Any loan amount borrowed in excess of the student budget as determined by the Financial Aid Office for any particular year will not be eligible for LRAP assistance.

Length of Program Participation

The maximum length of LRAP is 10 years.  The 10 years of LRAP participation need not be continuous, but must be completed within 12 years.

Period of Initial Eligibility

Graduates seeking to participate in LRAP must begin participating in the Program within three years after the end of their loan grace period, which normally ends six months after graduation. For example, if you are a graduate of the Class of 2014, you must enter the LRAP by November 30, 2017 deadline for the 2018 LRAP application.

Loan Repayment Terms (Calculation of Program Assistance)

LRAP will provide each participant with a loan equal to the total annual debt service (allowed per LRAP) less any imputed contribution to be made on the principal and capitalized interest of eligible loans during the period.  The highest interest rate covered by the Program is 8.25%.

LRAP funds may only be used toward your LRAP eligible loans in those months for which you receive assistance.  Participants cannot apply for an LRAP loan based on a 10 year repayment schedule, make actual payments of less than that, and expect the entire LRAP loan to be forgiven. Payments made in excess of the current minimum repayment are also not eligible for assistance or forgiveness and are the sole responsibility of the participant.

Application Procedure

Application forms are available from the LawNet website. Applications must include all pertinent information regarding loans, employment and income. If the applicant secures a qualifying job after the application deadline date, s/he can apply for assistance after that date, up to one month after the beginning of his/her employment.

Approved applicants will be notified and sent a Promissory Note and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Loan disbursements will not occur until the Promissory Note and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities are completed and returned to the UCLA Law Financial Aid Office. Loan forgiveness will not occur until cancellation documents have been reviewed and approved.

Participants will be notified if they qualify for loan forgiveness. Please refer to the LRAP homepage for published cancellation deadline dates.

Applicants who fail to submit their LRAP cancellation documents by the required deadline will be subject to monthly penalties during future eligibility periods.

Limited Funds Contingency and Right to Modify

In the event that funding is not sufficient to fully fund all qualified applicants in the manner anticipated above, UCLA Law will select LRAP recipients and determine award levels; available funds may be disbursed pro rata, or awards may be adjusted on an individual basis considering salary and total loan indebtedness.

Coordination with Other Programs

Applicants are expected to take advantage of all other loan repayment assistance or forgiveness programs for which they qualify. LRAP assistance will be awarded only if there is remaining eligibility after assistance from other such programs has been exhausted. Applicants must notify UCLA Law of other programs from which they are eligible to receive benefits. UCLA Law reserves the right to review and revise this LRAP as it deems appropriate.