The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program

The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program (JRJ) provides loan repayment assistance for state and federal public defenders and state prosecutors.

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Loan Repayment Assistance Available for State and Federal Defenders and State Prosecutors

The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program (JRJ) provides loan repayment assistance for state and federal public defenders and state prosecutors who agree to remain employed as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years. 

Funds are allocated annually from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and awarded and administered by designated state agencies.  Repayment and awarded benefits cannot exceed $10,000 in any calendar year or an aggregate total of $60,000 per attorney. 

State agencies administering the John R. Justice Grant Program must ensure that funding for loan repayment is allocated equally between prosecutors and public defenders and must give priority to those eligible beneficiaries who have the "least ability to repay their loans."

 

Eligible Attorneys

State and federal public defenders and state prosecutors who agree to remain employed as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years.

  • All eligible attorneys must be "continually licensed to practice law."
  • Eligible prosecutors are full-time employees of a state or unit of local government (including tribal government), who "prosecute criminal or juvenile delinquency cases at the state or unit of local government level."
  • Public defenders are either full-time employees of a state or unit of local government (including tribal government), or full-time employees of a nonprofit organization operating under a contract with a state or unit of local government, who "provide legal representation to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases."
  • Full-time federal defender attorneys in a defender organization providing legal representation to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases pursuant to Subsection (g) of section 3006A of Title 18, United States Code are eligible.
  • Attorneys providing supervision, education, or training of other persons providing prosecutor or public defender representation are also eligible.
  • Prosecutors who are employees of the federal government are not eligible.
  • Attorneys who are in private practice (and not a full-time employee of a non-profit organization) are not eligible, even if providing public defense services under contract to the state.
  • An attorney must not be in default on repayment of any federal student loans.

 

How do I apply for John R. Justice?

You must follow the procedure set forth by your designated state agency.

If you receive a John R. Justice award, you will need to commit to and complete a three-year service requirement.  You will need to certify your continued employment as an eligible attorney.

 

Eligible Loans

Federal student loans (both FFEL and Direct loans) are eligible for assistance; however, loans in default, Parent PLUS loans, and private, commercial, or alternative student loans are not eligible.

 

State by State Administration

Governor-designated state agencies (or in the case of Washington, D.C., a Mayor-designated agency) conduct outreach and education, solicit applications from eligible recipients, and administer the JRJ Program in each state.  Each designated state agency is eligible to apply for funding to distribute equally between prosecutors and defenders within their state.

Funds will be available to states based on the total population of each state with a minimum base allocation of $100,000.

 

Resources for Designated State Agencies

Equal Justice Works, in consultation with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, has developed a description of the grant application process and sample State JRJ Program Guidelines and Application.  These materials are designed to assist managers of the designated state agencies charged with the responsibility of administering John R. Justice funds in their state.

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