John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program
If you have previously received the John R. Justice Award and you wish to receive the award again for 2013-2014, you must submit a new 2013-2014 application.
2013-2014 Program Guidelines
Congress enacted the John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act (the “Act”), codified at 42 U.S.C. §3797cc-21, to encourage qualified attorneys to choose careers as prosecutors and public defenders and to continue in that service. The John R. Justice (JRJ) Grant Program provides loan repayment assistance for local, state, and federal public defenders and local and state prosecutors who commit to continued employment as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has awarded funds to all 50 states and the District of Columbia to serve eligible recipients working within their respective jurisdiction. Each state is required to distribute funding across geographic and population areas to ensure all areas of the state are equitably represented. Funds also are to be divided evenly between prosecutors and defenders.
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
- Be employed (or accepted an offer of employment as of the date of application) in Tennessee in one of the following positions:
- Prosecutor – employed full-time (not less than 75% of a 40 hour week) with a local government unit or the state of Tennessee; continually licensed to practice law; and prosecutes criminal or juvenile delinquency cases at the state or local government unit level (including supervision, education, or training of other persons prosecuting such cases). Prosecutors who are employees of the federal government are not eligible. 42 U.S.C.§3797cc-21(b)(1).
- Public Defender – employed full-time (not less than 75% of a 40 hour week) with a local government unit, the state of Tennessee, or federal government; continually licensed to practice law; and 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 a full-time employee of a nonprofit organization operating under a contract with a local government unit or the state of Tennessee who devotes substantially all of the employee’s full-time employment to providing legal representation to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases including supervision, education, or training of other persons providing such representation; or employed 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. 42 U.S.C. §3797cc-21(b)(2).
NOTE: Attorneys who are in private practice and not a full-time employee of a non-profit organization, even if individually or part of a firm that is under contract with a state or court-appointed to provide public defense services, do not qualify as “public defenders” and therefore are not considered to be eligible as beneficiaries under this solicitation.
- Must not be in default on a federally guaranteed educational loan or owe a refund on any scholarship or grant program administered by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC).
Eligible Student Loans
The following loans are eligible for repayment with JRJ funds:
- A loan made, insured, or guaranteed under part B of subchapter IV of chapter 28 of Title 20 (Federal Family Education Loan Program);
- 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);
- A loan made under section 1078-3 or 1087e(g) of Title 20 (Federal consolidation loans and Federal Direct Consolidation loans, respectively).
The following loans are ineligible for repayment with JRJ funds:
- 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);
- A Federal Direct PLUS Loan made to the parents of a dependent student.
- 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 section (2) or (3).
Applicants who have consolidated their qualifying loan(s) with a spouse’s loan(s) should provide documentation showing the dollar amount each party held at the time of consolidation and calculate what percentage of the new combined loan is attributable to each person. TSAC will look at the current loan balance, and based on the percentage attributable to the attorney requesting participation, will establish that portion as the “loan balance” eligible for repayment.
New - Amount and Payment of Award
The individual award amount is $1,062 and will be remitted directly to the holder(s) of the loan(s) to be repaid. You will need to contact your loan holder to determine how the payment will affect your loan and future payments. Subsequent award amounts and number of awards may change based upon future federal appropriations. Funds for fiscal year 2013-14 will not be distributed until after January 1, 2014. Recipients must continue to make regular student loan payments for any remaining student loan balance.
Selection and Distribution Process
Recipients will be selected from all qualified applicants based on their ability to repay their student loans. Applicants’ ability to pay will be determined by a formula using total taxable household income and total amount of qualified student debt. Program funds are equally distributed between prosecutors and public defenders in each of Tennessee’s three Grand Divisions. Pursuant to U.S. Department of Justice guidelines, those who have previously received the JRJ grant will receive priority consideration in subsequent award years; however, priority consideration does not guaranty receipt of the JRJ grant.
New - Required Service Commitment
As a condition precedent to the repayment of any loan obligation, attorneys selected to receive assistance must sign a service agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to remain employed as a prosecutor or public defender for the specified period of service unless involuntarily separated from employment.
A JRJ applicant may receive the award up to three times and be obligated for only one three-year period of service. However, an additional award received after the original three-year period of service has been satisfied will require one additional year of service in an eligible position. If an attorney voluntarily leaves employment prior to the end of the three year commitment period, or in any subsequent commitment period, the distributed funds received for that commitment period must be repaid. An attorney who leaves employment for another qualified public defender or prosecutor position in Tennessee will continue to be eligible for benefits.
Award received in year 1 – requires a three-year period of service
Award received in year 2 – does not require service beyond the original three-year period
Award received in year 3 – does not require service beyond the original three-year period
Award received in year 4 – requires a new one-year period of service
Renewal of Benefits for 2013-2014 Beneficiaries
Attorneys who previously received the JRJ award will be given priority consideration for funding for subsequent awards, although such priority does not guaranty receipt of the award in 2013-14 or subsequent years. Prior JRJ recipients must continue to meet all other eligibility requirements. Renewal of the award is not automatic and TSAC is not obligated to renew a benefit in the same (or greater) amount previously received by a beneficiary.
JRJ funds may be taxable to the recipient. The U.S. Department of Justice has requested a formal opinion from the IRS as to taxable status but no answer has been issued at this time. Recipients of the JRJ grant should consult with the IRS or a professional tax advisor concerning tax liability. TSAC will not issue Internal Revenue Service 1099 MISC forms to JRJ recipients.
Application Priority Deadline
The application and all required documents must be sent together and RECEIVED at TSAC offices no later than 4:30 PM (Central Time) December 20, 2013. This is not a postmark date, but actual receipt of application material. Faxed applications will not be accepted. Recipients of the award will be notified in January 2014 and payments will be made to loan holders/servicers sometime in the first half of 2014.
NEW APPLICATIONS FOR 2013-14 – Applicants will use one of three applications depending on whether they have previously received the JRJ award. Choose the correct fillable PDF application (below), print, and submit, along with all other required documentation, to TSAC at the address below.
Application 1 – use this application only if you are a first time JRJ applicant. (Application 1)
Application 2 – use this application only if you have previously received the JRJ award AND you will not have fulfilled the three-year service obligation by November 15, 2013. (Application 2)
Application 3 – use this application only if you have received the JRJ award for all of the previous three years (2010, 2011, 2012). Remember that receipt of JRJ benefits beyond the initial three-year commitment obligates the recipient to one additional year of service for each additional year the award is received. (Application 3)
What to Submit with the Application
- Application – Part One/Applicant Information
- Application – Part Two/Employment Verification
- Application – Part Three/Eligible Loan Verification (including account statements for each loan listed on the application)
- Application – Service Agreement
- Copy of signed 2012 tax return (if married and filing separately both must be submitted)
- Legal Alien Resident Verification (if applicable)
Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation
Attention: JRJ Program
Suite 1510, Parkway Towers
404 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0820
Please send questions regarding this application to firstname.lastname@example.org.