Consistent with the School of Law's long-standing commitment to support its graduates who pursue careers in public service, in 1993, the School established a Loan Assistance Program (LAP). The purpose of the LAP is to assist those students who wish to enter relatively low-paying public interest jobs upon graduation or within a few years thereafter by providing assistance with student loan payments. The LAP has been modified a number of times since its establishment, and it is currently undergoing a thorough review.
The LAP applies to all members of the Class of 1992 and subsequent graduating classes. Members of these classes are eligible to apply for loan assistance for any year in which they will be engaged in qualifying public interest legal work, although the initial application must be made within three years of graduation. Assistance is granted on a yearly basis, and must be reapplied for each year. Applicants who meet the income and asset tests for eligibility may receive loan assistance payments. Payments are made in the form of interest-free loans from UCLA, which must be used to make payments on previously incurred educational loans. The interest-free loan that may be granted is calculated based on both the applicant’s income and the applicant’s educational loan total for the assistance year in question, up to a maximum loan total of $60,000. Eligible applicants are required to pay a specified percentage of their annual loan payments themselves, and the LAP provides an interest-free loan equal to the remaining annual loan payments.
Assistance recipients who remain in qualifying public interest work for a substantial period of time will have most or all of their LAP loans forgiven so that the loans do not have to be repaid. LAP participants who are initially eligible but who become ineligible by exceeding the income or asset limits or leaving qualifying employment, will no longer receive assistance and must pay back any LAP loans, plus interest, to the extent the loans have not been forgiven.
The LAP is administered through the School of Law under the supervision of the faculty Public Interest Committee, which is comprised of faculty, students and staff (ex officio). Eligibility requirements and the assistance and forgiveness formulas may be revised at any time by the Public Interest Committee, and any such revisions will take effect in the first full assistance year following such revisions.
Additional grant and fellowship programs across the country provide grants for job creation at public interest organizations or grants for educational debt reduction. The Office of Public Interest Programs and maintains information about and applications for these grant and fellowship programs.