John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment ProgramDue to budget reductions, there is no funding for new awards.
To encourage qualified individuals to enter into employment and remain employed as prosecutors and public defenders, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) have partnered to jointly administer the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program (JRJ).
The JRJ is a federal program that provides for the repayment of eligible educational loans on behalf of certain state and federal prosecutors and public defenders.
JRJ applicants, may, in some cases, also be eligible for a New York State District Attorney and Indigent Legal Services Attorney (DA/ILSA) Loan Forgiveness Program award. The JRJ will be used to supplement New York’s DA/ILSA Loan Forgiveness Program.
Learn more about New York’s District Attorney and Indigent Legal Services Attorney Program.
To be eligible for a JRJ award, an applicant must:
be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen;
be an eligible attorney;
be a prosecutor or public defender;
have eligible student loan expenses;
not be in default of a federally guaranteed student loan;
not owe a service obligation under another program;
evidence financial need; and
at the time of application, execute a service agreement committing to continue working full-time as an eligible attorney for the next three years or, in the event the employment commitment is not fulfilled, any amount received will be subject to repayment.
For purposes of determining eligibility for a JRJ award:
1) Eligible attorney means an attorney who:
is continually licensed to practice law; and
is a full-time employee working a minimum of 35 hours per week and has been employed full-time for at least one year immediately preceding the date of application; and
is employed as a prosecutor or public defender in New York State.
(2) Prosecutor means an eligible attorney employed by a State or unit of local government who prosecutes criminal or juvenile delinquency cases at the State or local level; including supervision, education or training of other persons providing such representation.
(3) Public Defender means an eligible attorney who:
is an employee of a State or unit of local 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
is an employee of a nonprofit organization operating under a contract with New York State or a local 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
is employed as a Federal defender attorney in a defender organization established 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.
(4) Eligible student loan expenses mean the remaining balance of a:
loan made, insured or guaranteed under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program; or
loan made under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program; or
Federal Perkins Loan; or
Federal Consolidation Loan.
How to Apply
Due to budget reductions, there is funding for new awards.
Annual payment amounts are dependent on the availability of federal funds for that year.
The maximum lifetime total an eligible attorney may receive under the JRJ Program is $60,000, or the current total of their eligible student loan debt, whichever is less.
Distribution of Funds
JRJ awards will first be made to all eligible New York State residents. Remaining awards will then be distributed to qualifying, eligible non-residents.
A minimum of one award for a prosecutor and one award for a public defender will be reserved for each New York State county within which recipients are employed. Unused awards will be distributed proportionately among those counties containing the greatest percentages of the state’s population.
JRJ awards will be granted to eligible attorneys evidencing the greatest financial need. This will be determined by evaluating household income to the applicant’s student loan debt.
Award NotificationEligible applicants will be notified by mail if they are selected to receive a JRJ award and may be required to re-affirm acceptance of their award.
Award PaymentThe Supplement will be used to establish eligibility and process a recipient’s first payment. A Payment Application and Verification of the preceding year’s employment is required to receive subsequent installments.
JRJ awards will be paid directly to the lender(s) on a recipient’s behalf for remaining balances of eligible student loans up to the annual payment amount or remaining loan balance, whichever is less. The U.S. Department of Justice, HESC, DCJS and the State of New York are not responsible for any late fees or penalties assessed by your lending institution. You must continue to make your own, regularly scheduled monthly payments.
NOTE: Any Loan Repayment award may result in tax implications. Please consult with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a tax advisor.
For general information regarding the JRJ Program check the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance website.
Questions regarding the JRJ Program should be directed to the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services: