COLLEGE COST REDUCTION AND ACCESS ACT
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) (H.R. 2669) was signed into law on September 27, 2007. The Act provides debt relief for graduates who are repaying federal student loans. The summary below provides a general overview of a comprehensive law and is not intended to provide complete information or to address all issues relating to the Act. There are two major provisions of the law that impact law students and graduates: Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Income-based repayment.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) was created to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in a broad category of public service jobs
Generally speaking, a public service job is defined by the Act as a full-time job in public interest law services, government, military, emergency management, public safety, law enforcement, public health, public education, social work, child care, public library sciences, or any other job at a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. The final regulations issued October 23, 2008 provide some additional guidance on eligible employment types.
The PSLF program allows eligible borrowers to cancel the remaining balance of their Direct Loans* after serving full-time at a public service organization for at least 10 years while making 120 qualifying monthly payments after October 1, 2007.
The government will forgive any outstanding federal loan balance once 120 loan payments (generally, 10 years) have been made while working in an eligible public service position. Graduates making payments on a Direct Loan could begin “counting” their 120 payments as of October 1, 2007. Any loan payment made prior to graduation would not be included in the ten year period for forgiveness.
*Graduates with FFELP loans would be required to consolidate their federal loans into the Direct Loan Program to be eligible for the forgiveness.
Income-Based Repayment (IBR)
Section 203 of the Act creates a new loan repayment option that reduces monthly federal loan payments for all high debt/low income borrowers. Income-based repayment (IBR) places an annual ceiling on federal loan payments which is based on the borrower’s income. This portion of the law took effect on July 1, 2009.
In general, loan payments would be limited to 15% of discretionary income, where discretionary income is defined as adjusted gross income minus 150% of the poverty level for the borrower’s family size. For more detailed information on the formula used to determine the monthly payment, utilize the IBR calculator.
In addition to reducing the monthly payment required, the income-based repayment program also requires the government to pay any unpaid interest on the subsidized portions of the loans for up to three years after the borrower elects the IBR option.
After 25 years of payment, the government will write-off any unpaid principal and accrued interest.
More detailed information on the loan forgiveness provisions can be found in the resource links below.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness Information - Comprehensive information about Public Service Loan Forgiveness including which jobs qualify, which loans are covered, and how to earn forgiveness.
- PSLF Basic Checklist
- IBRinfo.org - Project on Student Debt's web site specific to Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Register your email to receive notification of important developments.
- Detailed public service loan forgiveness information from finaid.org
- PSLF Web Page
- PSLF Questions and Answers
LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LRAP)
What is LRAP?
Suffolk University Law School began its Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) in 1989 to assist JD graduates pursuing careers in the field of public interest law. Graduates who were selected for LRAP benefits receive reimbursement for education loan payments, including federal Stafford, Perkins, and Graduate PLUS Loans, Suffolk University Law School Trustee Loans, and private educational loans borrowed for enrollment at Suffolk University Law School. The program is funded by Suffolk University and administered by the Office of Financial Aid.
Due to federal laws designed to relieve the burden on loan borrowers entering public service, it was decided at Suffolk University to phase out LRAP starting in 2014, with the last group of new LRAP recipients. LRAP recipients selected in 2014 and earlier may choose to submit twice annual renewal applications and receive LRAP benefits until they or their spouse reach income limits, are no longer in eligible employment, or reach the 10-year program limit.
Types of Eligible Employment
The program is available to all LRAP renewal recipients who work in a public interest job which utilizes the legal training and skills of the graduate in one of the following types of employment:
•Non-profit public interest litigation, advocacy or policy groups
•Non-profit legal services organizations serving indigent clients
•Law-related state, federal, or local government positions to which the applicant has been hired or appointed, but not elected, including prosecutor and public defender offices
Consideration may be given to whether the work of the agency or organization provides access to justice or services to traditionally underserved clients.
The following types of employment are NOT ELIGIBLE for loan assistance:
•Private law firms even if the firm does pro bono work
•Judicial law clerkships
The income or renewal recipients will be reviewed bi-annually (prior to each disbursement of funds). The income ceiling for program participants is currently $59,000. If a current LRAP recipient exceeds the income ceiling but remains in eligible employment, benefits will cease.
If married, the applicant's annual gross income must be within the above limits and the spouse's annual gross income must not exceed $67,000. Spouse's annual educational loan payments will be subtracted from the spouse's annual gross income when determining LRAP eligibility.
As long as they remain otherwise eligible, LRAP recipients may receive benefits for up to 10 years.
Disbursement of Funds
LRAP benefits are disbursed twice a year as reimbursement for student loans paid: in February for loans paid from July through December of the prior year, and in August for loans paid from January through June. Recipients who continue to meet all eligibility requirements of the program, as evidenced by submission of a renewal application, will receive bi-annual benefits for a maximum of ten years.
Renewal Application Procedures
Recipients of LRAP benefits are required to submit renewal paperwork twice a year showing continued eligibility for the program. Renewal Applications are available annually in March and are due no later than July 15th in order to receive August LRAP benefits and are due no later than January 15th in order to receive February benefits.
Recipients Accepted into LRAP Prior to January 2013:
For students who entered the Loan Repayment Assistance Program prior to January 2013, a promissory note with the loan amount expected to be paid for the next six-month period must be completed and returned with the renewal paperwork.
To receive a renewal application please download the renewal application from the LRAP forms section below.
Once completed, applications should be submitted to:
Loan Repayment Assistance Program
Office of Financial Aid
Suffolk University Law School
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108
Renewal Application-January 2016 - If you are a current LRAP recipient, complete all parts of this
application and submit to the Office of Financial Aid for continued
benefits. Please use the checklist to be sure you are completing and
submitting all required documentation.
Renewal Application-July 2016 - Not currently available.
Please note: These forms should NOT be completed by renewal applicants unless specifically requested by the Office of Financial Aid. Applicants will be notified if additional information is required.
Employer Certification Form - Your employer must complete this certification form in order for you to receive renewal LRAP funds.
Employer Certification Form for Spouse - Renewal married recipients must have your spouse's employer complete this certification form in order for you to receive renewal LRAP funds.
Loan Documentation Instructions & Form - All applicants must complete this form for all renewal applications.
Promissory Note - Recipients accepted into LRAP prior to January 2013, and who are not "reimbursement" recipients, must complete this promissory note prior to each disbursement of LRAP funds.