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.

PILRAP recipients may receive up to $4,000 per year and a total of $12,000.  As of June 2019, we have awarded over $450,000 to 59 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! 

The application is linked below.  The application is available in January and is due by May 1 of each year.

If you have any questions about the program or your eligibility, please email Laurie Barron at lbarron@rwu.edu.

PILRAP Program Description

Application 2020

PILRAP FAQs

What is the goal of the program?

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To make public interest law practice a financially feasible choice for our graduates.

Who is eligible for the program?

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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?

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You must work at least 20 hours/week.

What employment will qualify?

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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
  • Prosecutors
  • 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?

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Applications are accepted beginning in January 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?

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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?

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  • 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?

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Up to $4,000 annually and a total of $12,000.  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 $12,000.

Who will decide the amount of funding for each applicant?

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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?

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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.

Close Course Type Descriptions

Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.

Elective

After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.

Seminar

Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.

Clinics/Externships

Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.