Barrack Public Interest Fellowship Program: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Barrack Public Interest Fellowship Program?

The Barrack Public Interest Fellowship program is a loan repayment assistance program which loans funds to eligible graduates to help them in the repayment of their student loans. Loan funds received through the program are forgiven at the end of the calendar year provided the recipient remains in qualifying employment.

What is considered qualifying employment?

You must be employed on a full-time basis in a law-related public interest position. We use a broad definition of public interest employment but the basic requirement is that you must be working for either a non-profit or government employer. Students working in positions which don't fall under either of these categories may still be eligible and should contact the Program Administrator for more information.

Does the program cover judicial clerkships?

No, the program does not cover graduates working in judicial clerkships. However, graduates who take a qualifying position after completing a clerkship may apply for funding through the program.

Is there a salary cut-off?

Yes, the current cut-off is $55,000 . We do make adjustments to salary for applicants who are married or have children, and for cost-of-living, so even if your salary is greater than $55,000 you may still qualify for the program. The salary cut-off and income eligibility factors are reviewed yearly and are frequently adjusted to keep up with current salaries in public interest positions.

How much am I eligible to receive?

Award amounts are based on both the adjusted gross income, as defined in the program guidelines, of the applicant and their annual loan repayment amount. Applicants with lower salaries and higher loan repayment obligations are eligible to receive the most funding. Similarly, those applicants with higher salaries and lower loan repayment obligations will receive the least amount of funding. In most cases the program cannot provide funding which equals the total amount you are required to repay on your loans each year. The current maximum award amount is $4,000 per year.

Does the program consider the cost of living for graduates who live in large metropolitan cities?

Yes, we do take cost of living factors into consideration in determining eligibility. We use several different web-based analyses of the cost of living in large cities across the country to provide an accurate picture of the cost of living in those locations as compared to the cost of living in Philadelphia. No adjustment is made for applicants who live in cities with a lower cost of living than Philadelphia.

Will it make a difference if I have consolidated my loans?

Graduates who consolidate their loans typically have lower monthly payments but have an extended loan repayment period, sometimes up to 25 or 30 years. The formula used to determine eligibility looks at the applicant's annual debt repayment amount which is sure to be lower for a graduate who has consolidated his loans as compared to a graduate who has not. In order to account for this imbalance, the program will re-calculate the annual loan repayment of the applicant based on a standard ten-year repayment period so that all applicants are considered in a similar manner. However, a graduate may not receive an award for an amount greater than the total of their actual annual loan payments.

How do I apply?

All applicants must submit an application form (available for download from the Law School website), an Employer Verification Form, documentation from your lender regarding your monthly payment amount and the status of your loan, a copy of your federal tax return from the previous year and a personal statement.

When are awards made?

Awards are typically made in February of each year. If you are awarded a loan through the program you will be required to submit a signed promissory note before any funds will be released to you. Funds are released in one disbursement and it is up to each recipient to use the funds to make their loan payments throughout the year.

Can I receive funding for more than one year?

Yes, eligible graduates may receive funding from the program for up to ten years provided they submit a new application and supporting documentation each year.

I still have more questions. Who should I contact?

Questions should be directed to Johanne Johnston, Assistant Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid at or 215-204-3659.