LRAP Guidelines and Spousal Income

As you may be aware, on June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. In light of this, we will apply our program guidelines regarding annualized income to all married participants. Effective January 1, 2016, if you are legally married you should report your spouse’s information on your LRAP application.

As a reminder, LRAP policy states that a married participant’s annualized full-time income will not be adjusted unless his or her spouse has a higher income, in which case the participant’s eligible income will be calculated based on half of the joint income of the couple.

We realize that January 1, 2016 is fast approaching. If you will be renewing an LRAP contract in early 2016 and you have concerns regarding how this will impact you, please notify us before January 1, 2016. We also encourage anyone with questions to schedule an LRAP appointment so that we can discuss your specific situation.

President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Proposal

*This memo is from Dean Gillian Lester.

To:  Students and Alumni
From:  Acting Dean Lester
Subject: President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Proposal

As you may be aware, President Obama released his budget proposal for the 2015 fiscal year on Tuesday, March 4.  His proposal contains surprising changes to federal student loan repayment options and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Beginning with new borrowers on July 1, 2015, they will have only the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) repayment option available to them when they repay their loans.  Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) will be capped at the aggregate independent undergraduate loan limit of $57,500.  There will be a 25-year forgiveness period for borrowers with balances above the aggregate loan limit.

These proposed changes are important because Berkeley Law’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) intersects with the federal government’s current policy and regulations pertaining to the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan and PSLF.  Berkeley Law values and has provided significant support to its public service students and graduates, and it will continue to do so.

Last July, Assistant Dean of Financial Aid, Dennis Tominaga, acted on his growing concern that eventually the federal government might consider changing or eliminating PSLF because of its potential cost and the need to fund other parts of the federal budget.  He urged and requested the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) to begin collecting and analyzing data to illustrate how PSLF and income-determined repayment plans such as PAYE and IBR enable student loan borrowers to obtain the education needed to meet our society’s public service workforce needs.

NASFAA advocates for students and financial aid administrators.  From March through June 2014, its PSLF Task Force will produce a report and recommendations to the NASFAA Board of Directors on the future of PSLF.

It is difficult, if not impossible to predict whether Congress will act on the president’s budget proposal that requests $56 billion in new spending.  Congress has already set spending limits for the 2015 fiscal year.

I am sending this message primarily to assure you that we are aware of these proposed changes and their possible effects on Berkeley Law’s LRAP and your public service career.  We will focus not only on these proposals but any others that may have similar effects.  We will study them in relation to the LRAP and changes that we may need to consider.

We will stay in communication with you and provide you with information about the proposal, its status, and what Berkeley Law can and will do.

Please be assured that we will do our best to protect your interests.

Important Dates to Consider for December Applicants

As we approach the final weeks of 2013, we wanted to notify you of some important dates.

  • LRAP payments initiated before Friday, December 13th will most likely be paid before the end of the year.  Payments initiated after this date will most likely be paid in 2014.
  • The Financial Aid Office will be closed December 16th and 17th for a professional development conference.
  • The Financial Aid Office will be closed Tuesday, December 24th through January 1, 2013 for curtailment. Please note that we will be unavailable by phone or email during this time.

Applications are processed in the order they are received.  As of today, we have processed all complete applications through 1509.  Although we are working hard to get all applications reviewed before December 13th, we cannot guarantee that every application will be processed before this date.  This means you might not receive your LRAP funding until January 2014.

Please let us know if you have an urgent situation that requires our attention or if receiving your LRAP check in 2014 will cause financial hardship.  We will try to accommodate your request, but cannot guarantee you’ll receive funding before the end of the year.

If your application was incomplete and you were notified via email to provide additional documents, your application is in a pending status and may not be processed before December 13.  Again, please notify us if you have an urgent issue.

If you return your LRAP documents before December 13, 2013 AND you have an address change we cannot guarantee that you will receive your LRAP check by the end of the year.

As we’ve stated previously the quickest way to receive your LRAP funding is by signing up for EFT.  To sign up for EFT, please go to and follow the EFT Authorization Instructions for UC Berkeley vendors.

The LRAP Team wishes you Happy Holidays and a delightful 2014!!!

NEW rule for PSLF qualifying monthly payments

As of fall 2012 all PSLF qualifying payments under IBR, PAYE, or the 10-year repayment schedule, only count if made within a 20-day period before and on the due date. Payments made after the due date or before that 20-day period do NOT qualify for PSLF. Please check with your loan servicer and consider arranging auto-debit at a day the month that falls within the PFLF qualifying 20-day period.

Pay-As-You-Earn Repayment Plan

Today the Department of Education announced the new Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan.

In order to qualify you must have a partial financial hardship and meet the following requirements:

“You must be a new borrower as of Oct. 1, 2007, and must have received a disbursement of a Direct Loan on or after Oct. 1, 2011. You are a new borrower if you had no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan as of Oct. 1, 2007, or had no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan when you received a new loan on or after Oct. 1, 2007. ”

The Pay-As-You-Earn plan caps federal student loan borrowers’ loan payments at 10% of the discretionary income and the  remaining loan balance will be forgiven after making 20 years of payments.

The Pay As You Earn plan will be available to borrowers by the end of 2012.

Please see details at the Department of Education’s website:

Public Service graduates can transfer federal student loans to PHEAA

If you have been working in public service for a while, you can initiate a transfer of your federal student loans to (PHEAA) by submitting the PSLF employment certification form (ECF).

The Department of Education authorized (PHEAA) with the verification of PSLF. Once PHEAA receives the ECF, your federal student loans will be transferred to, which provides excellent services according to several LRAP participants and our experience with the school hotline.

Federal Student Loan Servicer contact information!

Direct Loan Servicing (ACS) notice regarding accrued interest capitalization

Are your loans serviced by Direct Loan Serving (ACS) and are you enrolled in IBR?

You may have received a notice stating that you are in Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) and your accrued interest will be capitalized if not paid.

Please note that the notice only applies to borrowers who are actually enrolled in ICR. If you are enrolled in IBR your unpaid interest will not be capitalized and no payment is required unless you leave IBR! You may contact ACS for clarification.

Action Required for PSLF / IBR participants: PSLF employment verification form

This is an update of our February blog post.

On January 31 the Department of Education released its Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness forms and a Dear Borrower Letter. Please read the PSLF Fact Sheet, the Q&A and instructions very carefully before submitting your Employment Certification for PSLF.

The employment verification process is a must for all borrowers, who are enrolled, or at some point anticipate enrolling in IBR, and plan to utilize the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). To read more about IBR and PSLF please go to

To start the verification process you need to submit the employment certification forms completed and signed by your employer, either at the end of a calendar year during which you were employed by a PSLF qualifying employer, or at the end of such an employment.

The PSLF is a federal program that works in conjunction with the Income Based Repayment (IBR) option and is independent of the LRAP.

If you are enrolled in IBR and work in public service you may want to submit a PSLF employment verification form at your earliest convenience. Once it is determined that your position qualifies for PSLF, your loans will be transferred to As a side note, several graduates have mentioned MyFedLoans’ excellent customer service.

Federal Student Aid website – NEW

The Department of Education redesigned the Federal Student Aid website into a more user friendly tool. Here are some valuable links for Public Service graduates:

If you have a moment please browse this new tool and complete a Survey and provide Feedback about your experience.

Loan Payment History Documentation

All federal student loans are serviced by private loan companies and most of these servicers provide only 3 – 5 months of payment history information. Therefore I strongly recommend that you save a screenshot of your most recent 3 – 5 monthly student loan payments (or more if available) and set a pop-up reminder on your calendar/smartphone. This will come handy when you have to submit payment documentation for the cancellation of your LRAP loan that requires up to 12 months of payment documentation.