Student Loan Relief for Public Service Attorneys
Legal Service Corporation announced that a student loan repayment program for legal aid attorneys was included in the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act:
“Under the legislation signed by President Bush on Aug. 14, the Secretary of Education may offer student loan repayments of up to $6,000 a year to civil legal assistance attorneys who agree to a minimum three-year commitment to their work. Total loan repayments cannot exceed $40,000, according to the law. The loan repayment provision in the bill was championed by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, who began his career as a legal aid attorney, and Rep. George Miller of California.”
The John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act, also known as the Durbin Bill, which provides student loan relief for young prosecutors and public defenders, also passed.
The aim was to increase recruitment and decrease turnover. In 2007 the Recruitment and Retention Committee of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association released a report entitled It’s the Salaries, Stupid!…and Much More: The Developing National Crisis in the Delivery of Legal Aid, which details some of the problems facing legal services agencies and, not surprisingly, salaries and student loans are a major issue.