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Loan Repayment Assistance Programs

  The Caruso Family Loan Forgiveness Fund

Background
The Caruso Family has committed $1 million dollars to establish an endowed fund, specifically for Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law Juris Doctor graduates dedicated to a career in public service. The Caruso Family Loan Forgiveness Fund was established in March of 2003 as an assistance program which partly repays the law school debt of students launching careers in the fundamental, yet lower paying, area of public interest law.

  Judge Harry T. Shafer Loan Repayment Assistance Fund

Background
Judge Harry T. Shafer, along with his wife, Ruth, have established a loan repayment assistance fund for Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law graduates who have entered careers in public service. The Harry T. Shafer Loan Repayment Assistance Fund is restricted to individuals who have graduated from the Caruso School of Law, chosen a career in public service, and meet income limitations as determined by the University. The Caruso School of Law is grateful to Judge and Mrs. Shafer for their generosity.

 

  Loan Repayment Assistance Program Terms and Disclosures

Pepperdine Caruso Law
Loan Repayment Assistance Program
Terms and Disclosures

Program and Donors
The Pepperdine Caruso School of Law believes that lawyers best serve their clients, communities, and society with genuine commitments to excellence, integrity, and professional responsibility. Caruso Law imparts knowledge of the law, expert skills, and professionalism to prepare lawyers for careers of purpose, service, and leadership. The Loan Repayment Assistance Program is among Caruso Law's important commitments to empower our graduates and alumni in public interest and public service careers.

The Caruso Family's generosity supports a generational commitment to alumni who are dedicated to careers in public service and public interest practice. The Caruso Family Loan Forgiveness Fund was established in March of 2003 to relieve law school debt.

Judge Harry T. and Ruth Shafer have established a loan repayment assistance fund for Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law graduates who have entered careers in public service. The Caruso School of Law is grateful to Judge and Mrs. Shafer for their generosity.

These loan repayment programs are exclusively for Caruso School of Law graduates who are working in qualifying JD-required or JD-advantage public service and public interest positions that meet income limitations as determined by Caruso School of Law.

Eligibility and Definitions:
1. Eligible graduates: Only Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law Juris Doctor graduates in qualifying employment are eligible for this program. The qualifying applicant's income level must not exceed an adjusted gross income of $75,000 individually, or the qualifying applicant's combined family income must not exceed an adjusted gross income of $150,000. Eligible graduates may receive loan repayment assistance for a maximum of ten calendar years beginning after they complete a full year of eligible employment.

2. Application Process: Applicants must apply annually for reimbursement of payments they made toward their student loans the previous calendar year while they were working in qualifying employment and making less than the maximum gross adjusted income. Applicants must certify their employment and provide financial statements to substantiate their student loan payments and income. Applications open in February each year and are due by the federal income tax deadline on or about April 15th. The application is available on the LRAP webpage. Documents may be submitted electronically, or mailed and postmarked on or prior to the year's standard tax deadline.

3.Qualifying employment: Applicants must be employed full-time in a JD-required or JD-advantage position with a federal, state, or local government agency or a non-profit organization for at least one-year as of the application deadline described in section b above. The employing organization must qualify for non-profit tax-exempt status under 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) of the IRS code or be a government law office or court. The Law School reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to determine whether a position is qualifying employment. The Program mandates that the employment (a) require or prefer a JD for legal practice or law-related work, (b) advance the public interest and access to justice, (c) be full-time defined by at least 30 hours per week. Applicants may combine two, paid, part-time positions if both positions are qualifying employment with a combined average of at least 30 hours per week.

Examples of qualifying employers of past LRAP participants include not-for-profit organizations that provide legal services to a low-income population or advocate for immigrants, persons with disabilities, children, the homeless, victims of domestic violence, environmental justice, human rights, school reform, and public health; governmental agencies; prosecutor and public defender offices; the military; and courts.
If any graduate is unsure whether their position qualifies they should contact the LRAP administrator for guidance.

4. Eligible Loans: Educational loans approved by the office of financial aid incurred for educational purposes while attending law school to meet law school degree requirements are eligible for assistance from LRAP. Graduates cannot participate in LRAP if they are in delinquency, deferment, forbearance or default on their original student loans. Once loan accounts are in good standing, then the Law School will process the LRAP application. Loans in default are not eligible for LRAP. Subsequent loans that graduates take to repay defaulted loans are also ineligible for LRAP. Loans to cover the bar examination after graduation are not eligible for LRAP. Graduates can find detailed information about their federal loan debt by visiting the Federal Student Aid website at: https://studentaid.gov/h/manage-loans
Details about private student loans can be found on their credit report.

5. Income Eligibility: If single, the qualifying applicant's income must not exceed an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $75,000, and if married, the qualifying applicant's combined family income must not exceed an adjusted gross income of $150,000. AGI can be found on line 37 of Tax Form 1040. Applicants must report income from all sources, providing a copy of the most recent federal income tax return, including all schedules, wage earning statements (W-2 form) and any miscellaneous taxable income reported on form 1099.
Maximum Loan Repayment Assistance Period: Applicants may receive loan repayment assistance for up to 10 years, even if the 10 years are not continuous.

6. Loan Repayment Assistance: Applicants must submit proof of the previous calendar year's monthly payments made to their loan servicer by submitting a copy of their payment history provided by the lender. Applicants must submit their most recent lender statement for all loans that they want to be considered for the Program. Upon determination of eligibility by CSOL for the Program, the LRAP will pay to the applicant the amount the applicant paid toward their qualifying loans during the previous calendar year.

7. Cap on annual benefits: LRAP payments are subject to a cap set annually by the Law School. For 2021, the cap on annual payments is $20,000 per participant.

8. Allocation of Limited Resources. This Program operates on limited funding. The total amount available for loan repayment assistance will be determined annually by the Dean and LRAP Committee. The Law School reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to select eligible applicants each year to receive loan repayment assistance and to determine the specific amount of assistance available to eligible applicants. There is no guarantee that applicants will receive any loan repayment assistance or those selected will receive certain amounts of loan repayment assistance. Further, there is no guarantee that applicants selected one year will be selected in future years..

9. Taxation. Applicants should consult a tax professional to determine whether forgiveness of their loans, if any, is a taxable event.

Procedures and Administration:
1. Dates: The Program operates on a yearly basis. The application opens the 1st Monday of February. Eligible graduates, whether or not they have previously received assistance under the Program, must submit a complete application each year by the typical deadline for filing tax returns, usually April 15th, to be considered for loan repayment assistance that repays the previous calendar year's eligible student loan payments. The committee will strive to announce all funding decisions by June. Once selected, applicants will be asked to submit a completed W-9 form and check payments typically are issued in July.

2. Application: Graduates can obtain the application forms and information on the Law School's website. The application requires:

  • Resume.
  • A copy of the application year's federal income tax return, including all schedules, wage earning statements (W-2) and any miscellaneous taxable income reported on form 1099.
  • A copy of your spouse's (if applicable) most recent federal income tax return, including all schedules, wage earning statements (W-2) and any miscellaneous taxable income reported on form 1099.
  • A statement which includes all of your educational debts, including lender names and addresses, total amount borrowed under each loan type, monthly repayment obligations, and payments made during the previous calendar year.
  • Proof that your loans are in repayment and in good standing from all educational lenders (i.e. letter or billing statement), and proof of the last year's payments.
  • An employment evaluation detailing job tasks, work ethic, personal career growth and salary.
  • A signed income disclosure statement, agreeing to report any increase in income.

Inquiries about LRAP may be addressed to:
Financial Assistance Administrator
Pepperdine Caruso Law
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263-4633
Phone: 310-506-4633
lawfinaid@pepperdine.edu

 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must be employed full-time in a legal position with a federal, state, or local government agency or a non-profit organization for at least one-year. The organization must qualify for non-profit tax-exempt status under 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) of the IRS code.
  • The qualifying individual's income level must not exceed an adjusted gross income of $75,000 OR the qualifying individual's combined family income must not exceed an adjusted gross income of $150,000. Applicants must report income from all sources, providing a copy of their most recent federal income tax return, including all schedules, wage earning statements (W-2 form) and any miscellaneous taxable income reported on form 1099.
  • Applicants who are eligible for program funds may expect partial loan payment typically in July of the current year.
  • Recipients are required to re-apply each year for continued assistance for a maximum of ten (10) years of assistance.

Application materials should be returned to:

Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law
Office of Financial Assistance
ATTN: Berenice Hernandez
24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263-4633

For online submission email: berenice.hernandez@pepperdine.edu for secure portal access. 

The application deadline is April 15, 2021.

 

Application Process

To be considered for assistance, each applicant must submit the following:

  1. A completed application
  2. A completed W-9. If an applicant is selected to receive an award, they will be notified via email by Berenice Hernandez and/or Pepperdine University to complete an electronic copy of the W-9 through a secure online portal.
  3. Resume.
  4. A copy of your most recent federal income tax return, including all schedules, wage earning statements (W-2) and any miscellaneous taxable income reported on form 1099.
  5. A copy of your spouse's (if applicable) most recent federal income tax return, including all schedules, wage earning statements (W-2) and any miscellaneous taxable income reported on form 1099.
  6. A statement which includes all of your educational debts, including lender names and addresses, total amount borrowed under each loan type, and monthly repayment obligations.
  7. Proof that your loans are in repayment and in good standing from all educational lenders (i.e. letter or billing statement).
  8. An employment evaluation detailing job tasks, work ethic, personal career growth and salary.
  9. A signed income disclosure statement, agreeing to report any increase in income.

 

Loan Repayment

Loan forgiveness payments will be disbursed directly to the borrowers, as a taxable income stipend. A completed W-9 is required for funds to be disbursed.

 

Disclaimer

Recipients are selected at the discretion of the Faculty Admissions and Financial Aid committee. Awards are subject to the availability of funds. The receipt of funds in a given year does not ensure continued funding or guarantee an equal repayment amount in subsequent years. The law school reserves the right to modify or terminate the loan forgiveness program and/or any of its provisions without prior notice.