The DC Bar Foundation’s mission is to fund, support, and improve DC’s civil legal services network. One way that the Foundation improves DC’s civil legal services network is by providing loan repayment assistance to qualified attorneys working for an eligible employer in DC. This program, called the loan repayment assistance program (LRAP), has two goals: (1) increase the number of experienced, skilled lawyers working on behalf of low-income individuals based in DC; and (2) assist DC public interest lawyers who have incurred significant educational debt.
The Foundation runs two LRAPs under a consolidated application process: (1) the publicly funded LRAP, referred to as “DC LRAP;” and (2) the privately funded LRAP, referred to as “DCBF LRAP.” Although the programs share basic eligibility requirements, terms of assistance, and certification and disbursement schedules, there are some differences between the two programs.
Terms of Assistance
Both programs provide one-year, interest-free, forgivable loans, with a 12-month service requirement. A maximum of $12,000 per year, to be distributed quarterly, may be awarded to each approved applicant. If the number of qualified applicants exceeds the pool of resources available for loan forgiveness, the Foundation maintains ultimate discretion in determining the level of assistance and the allocation of funds. Renewal of LRAP awards is not automatic; LRAP recipients must apply each year to be considered.
Applications are typically released in mid to late September and due in early November, with awards being announced towards the end of December. Participants’ awards are for one year of assistance, beginning in January and ending 12 months later, in December of that same year. If the recipient maintains eligibility throughout the 12-month service requirement, the recipient’s loan will be forgiven.
There is also a mid-year LRAP application for DC LRAP (DC residents only), if funding allows. DC LRAP participants already receiving a full-year award (the 12-month service obligation) may also apply if their monthly law school loan payments have increased since applying. These applications are typically released early April and due in early May, with awards announced mid-June. These awards cover six months, July to December only.