The Department of Justice Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP) is an agency recruitment and retention incentive program based on 5 U.S.C. § 5379, as amended, and 5 CFR Part 537. The Department selects participants during an annual open season each spring. Any Justice employee serving in or hired to serve in an attorney position may request consideration for the ASLRP. The Department anticipates selecting new attorneys each year for participation on a competitive basis and renewing current beneficiaries during existing service obligations, subject to availability of funds. ASLRP benefits are paid directly to the loan holder, not to the individual attorney. Initial acceptance of ASLRP funding triggers a three-year service obligation to Justice. To receive ASLRP benefits, the attorney must qualify, the attorney's student loans must qualify, and all statutory requirements must be met. Attorneys who do not complete their service obligation must repay the Department for all funds received through the ASLRP. Please review the ASLRP Policy for more details.
THE 2020 ATTORNEY STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM
The ASLRP operates on an annual basis and is scheduled to open on March 1st. There are different deadlines for new requests (from attorneys not currently participating and attorneys who are re-competing for additional benefits at the end of their service obligation) and for attorneys seeking renewal of payments during the second or third year of an existing service obligation. Visit Key Dates and Deadlines for details. Individual attorneys, including current participants seeking renewal, must submit requests electronically through their component to OARM. Components representatives must verify and validate the information on attorney submissions, prior to forwarding them electronically to OARM for action.
Please note that this policy guidance applies only to attorneys participating in the Department-wide Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program overseen by OARM and not any individually negotiated or component-run student loan repayment programs.
IMPACT OF THE CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF, AND ECONOMIC SECURITY (CARES) ACT (Updated July 14, 2020)
On March 27, 2020, the president signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law. Sections 2206 and 3513 of the Act impact on certain federal student loans by:
- Automatically suspending payments and interest accrual on federal student loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education for the period March 13 through September 30, 2020. During this period of 0% interest, the full amount of any payments made will be applied to principal once all the interest that accrued prior to March 13 is paid.
- Temporarily expanding 26 U.S.C. § 127 (e.g., the IRS code) to exclude from an employee’s gross income up to $5250 in qualifying loan repayment benefits issued between March 27, 2020 and January 1, 2021. Guidance issued by the JMD Finance staff and National Finance Center indicate that if an approved ASLRP payment exceeds $5250, the overage will be included in the attorney's gross income and subjected to taxes and withholdings before the remaining balance is issued to the loan holder. Non-taxable and taxable student loan payments will be processed as two separate payments.
The CARES Act suspension of payments and interest accrual does not apply to private loans, federally guaranteed loans owned by commercial lenders, or loans owned by educational institutions. OARM and the ASLRP Panel reviewed the potential impact of the CARES Act on the FY 2021 ASLRP. To ensure that the standards for compliance with ASLRP policy do not differ based solely on the entity that currently owns an attorney’s student loan , the ASLRP Panel approved two temporary changes to the ASLRP policy as enumerated below. These changes apply to all current and prospective 2020 ASLRP participants.
1. The requirement for attorneys participating in the ASLRP to continue to make personal loan payments to qualifying student loans was suspended for the period March 13 – September 30, 2020 (see Paragraph B. 8 of the ASLRP policy); and
2. For purposes of applying the “matching funds” policy in 2021, attorneys participating in or selected for the ASLRP will be afforded constructive credit for the amount he or she would have paid to qualifying loans between March 13 and September 30, 2020 according to the terms of an established repayment plan but for the impact of the CARES Act and resulting modification of ASLRP Policy Paragraph B. 8.
- Many attorneys participating in the ASLRP are enrolled in automatic payment programs, often based on their income.
- The “matching funds” policy applies to ASLRP recipients with base salaries (less locality pay)above $92,500 who receive an ASLRP award that matches the amount of their personal payments to qualifying student loans, up to a maximum of $6000 (the highest award provided under the ALSRP).
- The intent of this provision is to avoid a dollar for dollar reduction in an attorney’s potential ASLRP award next year.
The Department of Education encourages all borrowers who are financially able to continue to make loan payments notwithstanding the automatic suspension in order to reduce the principal of their loans.
The ASLRP Panel recognizes that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may create economic hardship for attorneys whose loans may or may not be not covered by the CARES Act, and that such hardship may cause them to seek deferral or forbearance agreements from their lender. The ASLRP Panel encourages attorneys participating in the ASLRP to continue to make loan payments if financially able, however, it wishes to afford DOJ attorneys increased flexibility to manage their student loan debt without negatively impacting on their potential 2021 ASLRP award.
Please note that the CARES Act does not impact the determination of the amount of an award for the FY 2020 ASLRP, which is based on calendar year 2019 loan payments.
For general information on the impact of the CARES Act on federal student loan borrowers, including the impact on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) plan, please monitor the U.S. Department of Education website.
OTHER RESOURCES (Not Affiliated with DOJ or the ASLRP)
Additional Information and Forms
ASLRP Eligibility Worksheet (tool for requesters to determine eligiblity - not required for submission of a request)
Component ASLRP Points of Contact (Where to Submit Requests)
Component Specific Criteria (ASLRP Policy - Appendix A)
ASLRP Application Checklist (checklist for a complete application)
Forms for Initial Requests: These forms should be used by (1) attorneys not currently participating in the ASLRP; (2) prior ASLRP participants whose service obligations expired prior to 2020 who wish to recompete for selection; and (3) by current participants initially selected in 2017 whose service obligations expire in 2020 and who wish to compete for additional benefits.
- Initial Request for Consideration for Participation in ASLRP This form contains sections to be completed by the requesting attorney and by the component reviewers. Instructions are provided within the form and summarized below.
- Attorney Action: Requesting attorneys must compete Parts 1 and 2, and the Service Agreement, then submit it electronically to their Component Contact with two mandatory attachments: (1) a scanned copy of their student loan history, and (2) their Justification (see form below) and resume. We request, but do not require, attorneys to complete the Statistical Data section.
- The loan history must reflect the attorney's payments for the period January - December 2019; ASLRP awards are based on a calendar year; loan history simply for the past twelve months will not suffice.
- Component Action: Upon receiving the Initial Request form, component representatives must review Parts 1 and 2, complete Part 3, check to see if the attorney's packet is complete (e.g., contains the required attachments), and forward to the Executive Officer (or equivalent) or authorized delegate for completion of Part 4 (final validation).
- When complete, the component will forward the entire packet to OARM electronically. NEW for 2020: PLEASE SUBMIT TO ASLRP@usdoj.gov.
2. Justification Form (Required as part of the Initial Request) Use this form to prepare a written justification for selection. Space is limited to that allocated on the form - do not submit continuation pages, performance evaluations, or any other additional documentation, other than an updated resume.
3. Loan Information Continuation Page Form: Use as needed to document existing student loans.
Forms for Renewal Requests: This form should be used by current participants who wish to request renewed funding during the second and third year of their existing service obligation.
Renewal Request Form (contains Component Verification and Component Validation).
- Attorney Action: Complete Parts 1 and 2, then submit electronically (with one attachment consisting of scanned copies of your loan history) to your Component Contact. The loan history must:
- Reflect the 2019 ASLRP payment (even if that loan has been paid in full);
- Show your personal payments from January - December 2019, not the 12 months immediately preceding submission. ASLRP awards are calculated on a calendar year basis.
- Use the Loan Information Continuation Page Form, as needed.
- Component Action: Review Parts 1 and 2, then complete Parts 3 and 4. Upon completion, forward the entire packet to OARM electronically.
- Ensure the attorney's loan history attachment is included.
Leaving DOJ Prior to Completing the Service Obligation & Waivers of Indebtedness