FAQ

Eligibility

The PILAP program is available to students, beginning with the graduating class of 1988, who are employed at a salary of less than $54,000 by a qualified public interest program.

A qualified public interest program is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services in civil matters to indigent persons, especially underserved client groups such as the elderly, the disabled, juveniles and non-English speaking persons. This definition is based upon that used by the State Bar of California for programs eligible to receive funds under the Interest on Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. A program that receives California State Bar IOLTA funds is automatically deemed a qualified public interest program for the purposes of the PILAP. However, public interest organizations both inside and outside of California that do not receive IOLTA funds may also satisfy Loyola's PILAP requirements).

Employment with government agencies, in judicial clerkships and at for-­profit law firms specializing in "public interest" law does not qualify for assistance under PILAP.

Loan Assistance Formula & Payment Procedures

Loyola graduates receiving assistance under the PILAP will be given grants of up to 90 percent of the difference between their annual salary and the $54,000 ceiling. Those grants must be applied directly to the repayment of educational loans, with priority being given to loans undertaken to complete legal education.

Unlike most other law school assistance programs, Loyola's program is designed to substantially reduce the participants' total amount of loan indebtedness, rather than simply paying the relatively lesser amounts due in the first few years after graduation. The reasoning behind this distinction is that, even with assistance during the first few years of employment, a graduate may be deterred from continuing in public interest law when "balloon" payments fall due, or when struggling to cope with the additional expenses of children, mortgage payments, etc. If PILAP can reduce the total educational debt, this should significantly alleviate the pressure to leave public interest work after the first few years.

Grants will be made payable to the graduate. The graduate will be responsible for making all loan repayments and complying with all processing requirements imposed by lenders and collection agencies. Failure to remain in good standing in meeting repayment obligations will result in termination of eligibility for PILAP.

Applicants are required to inform the PILAP Committee of any increase in salary, the increase amount, and date by which the salary increase will become effective.  The Committee reserves the right to reallocate or reduce funding based upon the salary changes at anytime.

Priority in Awarding Grants

Where the number of qualified applicants for assistance makes it impossible to award grants to all, applicants shall be awarded PILAP grants according to the following priorities:

  1. First priority shall be given to graduates who require assistance in repaying indebtedness incurred for their law school education;
  2. Second priority shall be given to graduates who have no law school loans but have incurred other educational (i.e., college or graduate school) loan obligations;
  3. Third priority shall be given to graduates who have no educational loan indebtedness but whose annual salary is below the $54,000 ceiling. 

In determining awards, the committee may consider factors including the applicant's salary, the applicant's loan indebtedness and the amount of assistance the applicant has previously received from PILAP. The committee may give priority to meeting the financial-assistance needs of applicants who are applying to PILAP for the first time. This priority is consistent with the purposes of PILAP: to enable Loyola graduates to undertake careers in public interest law, and to provide substantial assistance in the first few years of employment.

Duration of Graduate's Participation

Once an applicant has been granted an award, he/she may reapply for another award each year for up to five years, so long as the applicant remains employed by a qualified public interest employer at a salary of less than $54,000.

Maternity/Paternity Leaves & Part-time Work

PILAP participants are entitled to reasonable accommodations for parental responsibilities, including (but not limited to) up to six months of maternity/paternity leave on the birth or adoption of a child. There shall be no reduction of PILAP financial assistance solely because of maternity/paternity leave.

As with any other Loyola Law School financial aid program, arrangements will be made on a case-by-case basis for participants requiring a break in continuous employment, or part-time employment for reasons other than maternity/paternity, during their participation in PILAP.

Supporting Documentation

A completed application for PILAP assistance must include:

  1. Written confirmation, signed by the applicant's managing attorney, project director or his/her designee:
    1. That the employer is IOLTA eligible or, if not IOLTA eligible, why the employer meets the PILAP definition of a qualified public interest employer;
    2. That the applicant is employed full-time, and the starting date of such  employment for a new hire is that the applicant has been employed continuously for the past three months;
    3. The amount of the applicant's salary.
  2. Written confirmation from the Office of Financial Aid of the applicant's education loan debt(s) (for recent graduates only);
  3. Written confirmation from the lender(s) that the applicant is in good status in repayment of her/his education loans (electronic copies of payment history from each lender may be used to confirm that loan amounts and payments are current and not in default).
  4. Completed and signed copy of a W-9 .

The PILAP Committee reserves the right to request additional information from an applicant, including but not limited to: taxable income, assets and other income available to the applicant.

Payment of Award

A PILAP Award will be paid directly to the applicant. It is the duty and responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all loan repayments are made and that all processing requirements imposed by the lenders and collection agencies are fulfilled. Effective July 1, 1996, the policy of the Loyola PILAP program is that a graduate must have been employed in eligible public interest employment for three months before the initial award actually can be paid to him or her. For example, a recipient who began employment on Nov. 1, 2013 and who timely applied for PILAP assistance by the December deadline, would receive his/her award payment in full by the end of January 2014.

The PILAP Committee reserves the right to alter this payment schedule depending upon the administrative or fiscal needs of the Law School.

Tax Consequences of PILAP Awards

The amount of the PILAP award is taxable as income to the Loyola graduate under current federal law. All PILAP Award recipients are required to complete and submit a copy of a W-9 form, required by the federal government.