Senate Approves Debt Relief for Civil Legal Aid Attorneys

  • 8/2/2007
  • Legal Services Corporation
  • Source: CALegalAdvocates (Decommissioned) >

On July 24, 2007, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Higher Education Amendments of 2007 (S. 1642), which include a provision to provide loan repayment assistance to civil legal aid attorneys.

The provision was introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) as an amendment to the bill. Sen. Harkin originally introduced the measure as a separate bill (S. 1167) on April 19, 2007.

The provision creates a loan repayment assistance program to be administered by the Department of Education, which would provide up to $6,000 a year--up to $40,000 for a lifetime--in educational debt relief for civil legal aid attorneys. Recipients would commit to a minimum of three additional years of service, or be required to repay the benefits they received. Priority would be given to legal aid lawyers with five years of experience or less. The provision authorizes $10 million in appropriations for FY 2008.

The bill is awaiting action in the House, where it will have to pass before being sent to the President for final approval.

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