In September of 2014 the U.S. Department of Justice approved the Coordinating Board's application for a continuation grant to support the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program (JRJ SLRP) for the fifth consecutive year since funding for the program was initially authorized.
The amount of funding for JRJ grants to states has been reduced significantly each year since the initial year. The allocations for Texas grants have been: $701,233 for 2010, $293,061 for 2011, $112,112 for 2012, $105,302 for 2013, and $47,056 for the current year (October 1, 2014 - September 30, 2015). Federal law requires that the aggregate amount of a state's grant funds disbursed on behalf of prosecutors and public defenders be equal. Therefore, only $23,528 is available for loan repayment for each group of eligible attorneys.
The grant reductions necessitated reductions in annual loan repayment awards, as shown below:
• 2010 - Prosecutors: $2,500; Public Defenders: $5,000
• 2011 - Prosecutors: $1,210; Public Defenders: $2,526
• 2012 - Prosecutors: $596; Public Defenders: $1,304
• 2013 - Prosecutors: $877; Public Defenders: $1,423
Given the substantial reductions in annual award amounts since 2010 and the further reduced federal allocation, 2013 beneficiaries have been invited (by e-mail and regular mail) to submit renewal applications and one-year Secondary Term of Service agreements, to qualify for loan repayment awards supported by the current grant. Completed applications and service agreements must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 2, 2015, to be considered.
Applications from prior year beneficiaries will be ranked according to a "least ability to pay" formula required by the U.S. Department of Justice. The formula takes into consideration a variety of factors, including adjusted gross income, exemptions claimed, a cost of living adjustment based on a published index, and the estimated annual student loan payment for a standard repayment schedule. The Coordinating Board will disburse loan repayment awards in the amount of $1,000 on behalf of 23 qualifying prosecutors and 23 public defenders.
Please visit this web page in September of 2015 for any updates on funding for the program next year. Federal program requirements may be viewed at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/grant/johnrjustice.html. For in-depth information regarding available options for financial assistance with student loans, visit http://equaljusticeworks.org/ed-debt/.
For more information, please email us or call the program staff at (512) 427-6477 or (512) 427-6357.
This project is supported by Grant No. 2014-RJ-BX-0041 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the SMART Office, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not represent the official position or policies of the United States Department of Justice.