LRAP: Qualifications and Policies

Applicants for LRAP will be considered if they meet the following qualifications:

  • Marquette University Law School graduate of May 2002 or later
    • Graduates must apply for LRAP within five years following graduation. Time served in judicial clerkships tolls the running of this time period.
  • Qualifying Employment
    • Must work full-time (at least 32 hours per week)
    • Must engage in the practice of law or substantive law-related activities.
    • Must work for a public interest or public service employer. This includes work for public interest law firms, non-profit organizations that qualify for tax exemption under IRS Code Sections 501(c)(3), prosecutor or public defender offices, military judge advocate general, and governmental offices that directly serve individuals with challenges to access to justice.  Judicial clerkships do not qualify.
    • The position must be one that requires a Juris Doctorate degree and admission to the bar. 
  • Qualifying Income
    • A graduate may earn no more than the overall median gross income of the past year’s graduating class, with modifications as described below. An annual LRAP award, depending on available funds, is typically 15% of the difference between the overall median gross income of the past year's graduating class and the LRAP applicant's income with modifications as described below. For example, if last year's median gross income was $55,000 and an applicant's income with adjustments is $50,000, the LRAP award, if funds are available, would be 15% of $5,000.
    • Applicants must report income from all sources including salary, interest, child support, spousal/domestic partner support, or any other source.  The Committee reserves the right to deny eligibility in any individual case if projected income does not appear to reflect financial need.  In the event of insufficient funding, applicants with the greatest need, lowest income, and a demonstrated commitment to public interest work will be funded first. 
    • Income Modifications:
      • Spouse or Domestic Partner
        • Married or partnered applicants are treated as having either 1) the applicant’s income if it is the higher income of the pair or, 2) half the joint income if the spouse or domestic partner has a higher income than the graduate.
          • Example 1:  Graduate makes $47,000 annually and spouse/domestic partner makes $30,000.  The imputed income is $47,000. 
          • Example 2:  Graduate makes $40,000 annually and spouse/domestic partner makes $47,000.  The imputed income is ($40,000 + 47,000) / 2 = $43,500.
      • Dependent Children
        • If an applicant has one dependent child whom s/he supports and declares on his/her tax return, the Committee will subtract the application year's federally allowable dependent deduction from the allowable gross annual income ($3,750 in 2012).  The Committee will subtract 1/2 of the federally allowable deduction for each additional dependent child the graduate supports and declares on his/her tax return, up to and including 5 children.
      • Assets
        • The Committee will add to the allowable gross annual income twelve percent (12%) of the value of a graduate’s and a graduate’s spouse’s/domestic partner’s combined assets over $15,000. 
        • Assets include equity in a house, other real estate and investment equity, cash, savings and checking accounts, stocks, bonds, and trusts. 

Other Program Policies:

Timing of Awards & Duration of Eligibility

  • Spring applications (both new and renewal) are due by April 15th
  • Fall applications (both new and renewal) are due by October 15th

Awards are announced in early May and early November. A check will be mailed 6-8 weeks after the recipient returns a signed Promissory Note and W-9 form, both of which are supplied with the award announcement letter.

Participants may receive benefits for no more than ten (10) years of qualifying employment.  

Law School Loans

Applicants must show provide proof of total law school debt including the amount of monthly payments. The size of the overall debt is not dispositive. No LRAP disbursement will be more than the actual payments made by an applicant in the given year.

Leaves of Absence

A participant in the LRAP is allowed to take a leave of absence from the program for up to one year for such purposes as pregnancy, family leave, care of small children, illness, disability, relocation, and other appropriate reasons as approved by the LRAP Oversight Committee.  During this period the graduate is not eligible for new LRAP assistance or forgiveness of any previous loans, but repayment of LRAP loans is not necessary.  If the participant does not return to the program within one year, LRAP loans become payable to the extent not forgiven.

Benefits

            Participants receive assistance in the form of a loan that is forgiven at the end of the year in which the loan is made as long as the participant remains in qualifying employment.   On Friday, June 20, 2008, the Internal Revenue Service ruled that amounts forgiven under a law schools’ Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP) including Marquette’s generally will not be treated as taxable income.  Section 108(f) of the Internal Revenue Code details the requirements for tax-free forgiveness.  However, participants are urged to consult a tax advisor about their awarded amount.  LRAP participants are issued two (2) checks per year, in June and December, each for one-half of the award amount.  Participants are required to execute a promissory note prior to disbursement of the loan amount.

            Participation in LRAP is on a year-to-year basis only.  Once a graduate is admitted to the program, it is his/her responsibility to reapply each year for continued assistance and to certify at the end of every year that he/she has applied the LRAP loan to educational loan payments and has served the entire year in qualifying employment.  At the end of each year for which a loan is granted, the participant is required to complete and submit to the Law School a Certificate of Compliance, certifying that the loan amount has been applied to student loan payments and that they have continued during that year in qualifying employment.

Changes in Graduate’s Financial Condition

            The amounts for which participants are eligible are based upon participant annual gross income and monthly loan payments on covered loans.  If either of these figures changes, LRAP eligibility can be affected.  Any changes in income or loan payments must be communicated to the Committeeimmediately or risk suspension from LRAP.

Termination of Participants for Cause

            If upon verification the Committee determines that a participant has not used the LRAP proceeds for payment of educational loans, the Committee will terminate the recipient’s participation in LRAP and will seek repayment of the loan already made.

Repayment of LRAP Loans

            During each year of participation in LRAP, the participant will receive a loan for the amount for which s/he is eligible under LRAP regulations.  Ordinarily, this loan is forgiven at the end of the eligibility year as long as the participant remains in qualifying employment.  However, eligibility can be reduced at any time due to financial or employment changes.  In such cases, if the participant does not refund excess money received, the amount of the over award will not be forgiven at the end of the year, and the participant will be obligated to repay that LRAP loan amount with interest within six (6) months thereafter.