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 since the initial federal fiscal year (FFY). The allocations for Texas grants have been: $701,233 for 2010, $293,061 for 2011, $112,112 for 2012, $105,302 for 2013, $47,056 for 2014, and $53,093 for the current FFY (October 1, 2015 - September 30, 2016). Federal law requires that the aggregate amount of a state's grant funds disbursed on behalf of prosecutors and public defenders be equal. Therefore, approximately $26,546 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
2014 – Prosecutors: $1,023; Public Defenders: $1,346
Given the substantial reductions in annual award amounts since 2010 resulting from the reduced federal allocations, no new applicants will be enrolled in the program this year. Approximately 40 FFY2014 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, March 4, 2016, to be considered.
Applications from prior year beneficiaries were initially 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.
Please visit this web page in October of 2016 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. 2015-RJ-BX-0017 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.