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FY 2015 John R. Justice Grant Program Fact Sheet


Program Background


The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), the state administering agency for federal criminal, juvenile and victim services funding, applied for and will administer the John R. Justice (JRJ) Loan Repayment program.

In order to ensure that Pennsylvania’s program meets federal guidelines, provides loan relief and promotes employee retention, PCCD utilized a workgroup consisting of statewide prosecutorial and defender associations to assist the agency in its efforts to create program requirements and guidelines. 

This solicitation will provide law school loan debt relief to full-time county and federal public defenders and district attorneys that are determined to have the least ability to repay their loans.

Pennsylvania, as prescribed by the JRJ guidelines, will equally share our allocation between prosecutors and defenders.

As prescribed by federal JRJ requirements, we have incorporated geographical dispersion into our plan. Pennsylvania’s 67 counties are grouped by population ranges through Class of County designations factoring in the number of prosecutors and defenders employed in these classes of county.

PCCD will utilize a two-stage application process. Potential applicants will first fill out the online pre-application form to determine eligibility and provide PCCD with a pool of qualified applicants.

** A link to the online form and the pre-application worksheet is provided at the end of these instructions for your convenience. **

From this pool, PCCD will select public defenders and district attorneys to receive awards who demonstrate the greatest need. The selected individuals will then be asked to complete a formal application to include income verification, school loan verification and a John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program Service Agreement.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has been retained to administer loan repayment matters and will work directly with the appropriate lending institutions to make these loan payments.

Once preliminary selections are finalized, these individuals will be mailed a formal application packet (including Appendix A from the JRJ solicitation) to complete and return along with required documents (i.e. 2014 Federal Tax Return, education loan documentation, proof of employment, etc.). A copy will be retained by PCCD, with a copy forwarded to PHEAA for verification. If all the required documentation is received and PHEAA’s requirements are met, PCCD will instruct PHEAA to execute and maintain loan forgiveness processes with the relevant loan institution.


Eligibility Requirements


Pennsylvania’s JRJ program is designed to prioritize selection of individuals who have the least ability to repay their qualifying law school loans. We will consider individuals who are employed within Pennsylvania as full time Public Defenders and District Attorneys. Selected recipients will agree to provide three additional years of employment or must repay the entire loan forgiveness amount, if the continued employment requirement is not met. We will follow the specific loan eligibility/ineligibility as prescribed in the federal JRJ requirements such as:
NOTE: Under federal JRJ program guidelines, PCCD must give preference to those who have previously received JRJ awards.


Eligible Loans  

      a.    A loan made, insured or guaranteed under part B of subchapter IV of Chapter 28 of Title 20 (Federal Family Education Loan Program)

       b.    A loan made under Part C or D of subchapter IV of Chapter 28 of Title 20 (William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan and Federal Perkins Loans);

       c.    A loan made under section 1078-3 or 1087e (g) of Title 20 (Federal Consolidation loans and Federal Direct Consolidation loans, respectively).


Ineligible Loans

       a.    A loan made to the parents of a dependent student under section 428B of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1078-2).

       b.    A Federal Direct PLUS Loan made to the parents of a dependent student.

       c.    A loan made under section 428C or 455 (g) of the higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1078-3 (Federal consolidation loans) and 1087e (g) (Federal Direct Consolidation loans) to the extent that such loan was used to repay a loan described in clause (1) or (2).


We are targeting individuals that have completed at least one year of full-time employment and are limiting eligibility to those with no more than five years of full-time employment. In addition, an attorney may not be in default on repayment of any federal student loans.


NOTE: Once you start the online application process, you will need to finish it. You will not be able to save your information and complete it at a later time. Because of that fact, we strongly encourage you to download and complete the JRJ Loan Program pre-application worksheet BEFORE starting your pre-application online.


Be sure you have the following information at hand before beginning the pre-application process:

       1.      The Source of your 2014 Federal Taxable Income (Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ)

       2.      Your Federal Taxable Income Amount

                 a. Line 43, Form 1040

                 b. Line 27, Form 1040A

                 c. Line 6, Form 1040EZ

        3.      Use this link to download the pre-application worksheet.

        4.      Use this link to access the online JRJ Loan Repayment pre-application.


The application is now closed. 


Contact Information


Jackie Weaknecht

Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency