John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program
The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program in Louisiana provides for the payment of eligible educational loans (both Federal Family Education Loan Program [FFELP] and Federal Direct Loans) for state and federal public defenders and state prosecutors employed in Louisiana who agree to remain employed as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years.
The John R. Justice award gives incentives to seasoned attorneys to continue in their public defense or prosecutorial roles which, in turn, benefits the communities they serve,” said Amanda Mustin, assistant district attorney and past award recipient. “I’m a career-long public servant (over seven years as a public defender, and approaching seven years as a prosecutor); which I am immensely proud of and intend to continue. The John R. Justice award helped me pay those loans down more quickly than I could do otherwise without having to leave public service.
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The awards help to ensure that financial concerns are less of a barrier to attorneys hoping to serve the public as prosecutors and public defender. I am both personally grateful for the benefits of the program and furthermore, as a member of the community, grateful for the efforts of the program to retain experienced attorneys in these roles.Sarah Dawkins, assistant district attorney in Orleans Parish
To be eligible for the John R. Justice Program in Louisiana:
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
- Have an outstanding balance of at least $20,000 due on eligible student loans. Eligible loans include FFELP and Direct educational loan(s) (Federal Stafford loans, Graduate PLUS loans, federal consolidation loans) and Federal Perkins loans.
- Be an attorney continually licensed to practice law in Louisiana, and
- a full-time employee of the state of Louisiana or unit of local government (including tribal government) who prosecutes criminal or juvenile delinquency cases at the state or unit of local government level, including supervision, education, or training of other persons prosecuting such cases (Prosecutors who are employees of the federal government are not eligible), or
- a full-time employee of the state of Louisiana or unit of local government (including tribal government) who provides legal representation to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases including supervision, education or training of other persons providing such representation, or
- a full-time employee of a nonprofit organization operating under a contract with Louisiana or unit of local government who devotes substantially all of the employee’s full-time employment to providing legal representation to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile cases including supervision, education, or training of other persons providing such representation, or
- employed in Louisiana as a full-time federal defender attorney in a defender organization pursuant to Subsection (g) of section 3006A of Title 18, United States Code, that provides legal representation to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases.
- Not be in default on any federal student loans.
- State and federal public defenders and state prosecutors employed in Louisiana must have been employed a minimum of one year in a qualifying position as of December 31, 2022. If awarded, they must agree to remain employed as a full time prosecutor or public defender for a minimum of three years following receipt of the award.
- Contract employees are not eligible to participate in the John R. Justice Program.
How Funds are Awarded and Disbursed
|Circuit||Public Defenders||Assistant District Attorneys|
How to Apply
- The online application for the 2023 award opens January 1, 2023 with an application deadline of April 30, 2023. You must submit your application on-line. To access the on-line application, click here to visit the Louisiana Award System — if the deadline has not expired, you will see a “J.R. Justice On-Line Application” button in the menu on the left side of the web page.
- Upon receipt of your application, LOSFA will forward to you a Service Level Agreement for your signature. You must return this signed agreement to complete the application process and be considered for an award. If you fail to return the service agreement within the time allotted, you will be disqualified and eliminated from consideration. If it is determined that you are one of the least able to pay in your region, LOSFA will contact you to request documentation to substantiate the statements made in your application. For each subsequent year you wish to apply, a separate application must be completed.
* “Full time” is defined as required to work at least 30 hours per week.
This project was supported by Grant 15PBJA-22-GG-01210-JRJX awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the SMART Office, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not represent the official position or policies of the United States Department of Justice.