Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Program (PILRAP)
RWU Law’s Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Program (PILRAP) was created in 2008 and is designed to provide support for our graduates pursuing careers representing low-income clients in non-profit offices. This assistance comes in the form of a forgivable loan.
Due to the DOE's pause on federal student loan payments, the due date for PILRAP applications for the 2022-23 cycle has not yet been determined. We have not accepted any applications since May of 2020 due to this pause. We will provide our current PILRAP recipients and all eligible alumni with an update once the pause has been lifted. In addition, please click PSLF Update to read about the significant changes expanding borrower’s eligibility for loan forgiveness only until October 31, 2022. We want to be sure you take advantage of this opportunity. If you have any questions, please contact Kate Politano, Assistant Director of Law & Graduate Programs in the Office of Financial Aid.
PILRAP recipients may receive up to $4,000 per year and a total of $15,000. As of June 2020, we have awarded over $489,000 to 60 alumni. The application process is simple and requires minimal documentation. To date, every single eligible applicant who has been in qualifying employment and repayment status has received funding!
Submit your PILRAP application and supporting documents via our Secure Portal
What is the goal of the program?Click to Open
To make public interest law practice a financially feasible choice for our graduates.
Who is eligible for the program?Click to Open
RWU Law graduates who work in qualifying public interest employment may apply to first enter the program within the 5 years of graduating.
Do I have to work full time?Click to Open
You must work at least 20 hours/week.
What employment will qualify?Click to Open
Qualifying employment is limited to core public interest jobs which provide legal services for or under the direction of a governmental unit or an organization described in Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) to people who cannot afford to pay, such as: legal aid or legal services offices and certain other private nonprofit organizations that provide legal services for persons or organizations financially unable to obtain adequate legal services; and indigent or public defender offices.
Some examples of qualifying positions include:
Attorney at Legal Services or Legal Aid office
Attorney at nonprofit organization qualifying for tax exemption under Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) and serving indigent clients
Attorney at Indigent Defender or Public Defender office
Some examples of non-qualifying positions include:
- Judicial clerk
- Attorney at federal, state or municipal agency other than Public Defender offices
- Attorney working in a military Judge Advocate General’s office
- Attorney working in an educational position
- Attorney working at a “Think-tank” or policy-making organization
When can I apply?Click to Open
Applications are accepted beginning of March and are due by May 1. Applicants must apply to initially enter the PILRAP within the first 5 years following graduation.
When will I know if I am getting funded?Click to Open
Applicants will be notified around June 15 if they have been awarded a PILRAP allocation for the one year period.
What factors will be considered?Click to Open
- Your income
- Your educational debt
- Your monthly educational loan payments
- Your employment
While it has yet to occur, if we are faced with funding constraints, we may look at your broader financial picture based on documentation submitted with your application to determine funding.
How much money will I get?Click to Open
Up to $4,000 annually and a total of $15,000. Annual funding will be based on your student loan payments due each year. Our goal is to fund 100% of your annual Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR) student loan payments (even if you are not in IBR), up to $4,000 annually, until you reach the program total of $15,000.
Who will decide the amount of funding for each applicant?Click to Open
The PILRAP Program will be administered by the PILRAP Committee. The Committee will be appointed by the Dean of the School of Law and will include a full-time member of the Law School Faculty, the Financial Aid Director, the Dean of Students, an alumnus of the law school, and a member of the bar of the State of Rhode Island.
Why do I have to sign a note?Click to Open
PILRAP is structured as a loan which will be forgiven at the end of the one-year term as long as the recipient remained in qualified public interest employment and made the required student loan payments for which the funding was granted. While individual recipients of these loans should check with their tax advisors, it is intended by the RWU Law that the forgiveness of these loans for those working in nonprofit public interest settings should be excluded from income taxation in accordance with § 108(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.