- Section 1. Statement of Purpose
- Section 2. PILLFF Financial Assistance
- Section 3. Changed Circumstances and New Information
- Section 4. Repayment
- Section 5. Leave
- Section 6. PILLFF Committee
- Section 7. Disclaimer
Rules promulgated and effective, April, 2007
The Purpose of the Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund (PILLFF) of The School of Law shall be to provide financial assistance to graduates of the School of Law who obtain employment in the field of public interest law and who need assistance in repaying loans for legal education.
- A Person is eligible to be considered for PILLFF assistance if the person
(1) will graduate or has graduated from the School of Law;
(2) files a written application for the grant with the PILLFF Committee;
(3) agrees to remain continuously employed in the field of public interest for two years after the effective date of an initial grant and for one year after the effective date of any subsequent grant; and
(4) will be responsible for the full or partial repayment of qualified debt during the grant year.
(5) will be or is a member of the SC Bar
- A person is employed in the field of public interest law within the meaning of the PILLFF if the person is employed to do legal work by an organization described in subsection 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code or is employed by the State of South Carolina or one of its potential subdivisions, and if the employment requires a Juris Doctor degree; provided, however, that a judicial clerkship in not employment in the public interest law. Public interest work for other states or federal employment located outside SC are not eligible. Non-profit work must demonstrate a nexus to SC.
- Debt is “qualified debt” if it is debt incurred to pay the expenses of legal education and owed to an institutional or governmental lender. Private debt owed to a family member of friend outside the framework of a regular lending is not a qualified debt.
- No PILLFF assistance shall be used for any purpose other than to repay qualified debt.
- An award of financial assistance shall be announced at the beginning of the recipient’s first year of public interest law employment. The award will be paid at the end of the first year’s employment contingent on the recipient having become a member of the South Carolina Bar and agreeing to a second year of public interest law employment. In situations when the award recipient has been working more than a year in public interest law, the distribution will take place immediately. In all cases the award will be paid directly to the lender upon receipt of a completed Applicant’s Lender and Employment Verification and Certification Form. This form will be sent by the Law School at the appropriate time.
- In deciding whether to award PILLFF assistance and the amount of the assistance, the
PILLFF Committee may consider any factor that the PILLFF Committee considers relevant,
including but not limited to:
(1) the amount of the applicant’s qualified debt;
(2) the amount of the applicant’s other debt;
(3) the amount of debt owed within the applicant’s household;
(4) the amount of the applicant’s income;
(5) the amount of income received in the applicant’s household;
(6) the applicant’s assets;
(7) household assets;
(8) household dependents
(9) the nature of the applicant’s employment;
(10) the connection between the applicant’s long term goals and the field of public interest law;
(11) the applicant’s prior commitment to public service;
(12) the applicant’s academic performance;
(13) the applicant’s potential for future compensation, including the likelihood that the applicant will move quickly to much higher paying employment;
(14) other available sources of qualified debt repayment assistance
- Applicants must be members in good standing of the SC Bar.
- Preference shall be given to those practicing public interest law in South Carolina.
- An applicant for PILLFF assistance shall file an amended application with the PILLFF Committee whenever necessary to ensure that the application is accurate. An application that was accurate when filed nevertheless is inaccurate if it fails to reflect materially changed circumstances or material new information.
- A recipient of PILLFF assistance shall notify the PILLFF Committee of changed circumstances and new information that a reasonable person would take into account in deciding whether to alter or revoke PILLFF assistance.
- If a recipient of PILLFF assistance fails to remain employed in the field of the of public interest law continuously for two years after the effective date of the award, the recipient shall repay all assistance received from PILLFF, except in the case of long term disability of the recipient or one of the recipient’s dependents.
- A recipient of PILLFF assistance shall repay any funds received because of the recipient’s failure to com- ply with section 3 of these rules.
- A recipient of PILLFF assistance shall repay any assistance funds used for a purpose other than to repay qualified debt.
- A recipient of PILLFF assistance shall repay any assistance funds that must be repaid under rules promul- gated by the PILLFF Committee or under the terms of the particular grant.
- An assistance recipient may take a temporary leave from employment in the field of public interest law without violating the eligibility requirement of continuous employment in the field of public interest law.
- A grant recipient who takes a temporary leave from employment in the field of public interest law shall notify the PILLFF Committee in advance, shall not be eligible for grant payments for the period of the leave, and shall repay any grant amounts received for the period of the leave.
- The PILLFF shall be administered by the PILLFF Committee. The PILLFF Committee shall be appointed annually by the Dean of the Law School. and shall consist of a representative of the major donors, a faculty member of the School of Law, a law student, and an attorney working in public interest law. The Dean shall designate one member of the PILLFF Committee as its chair.
- The PILLFF Committee shall have absolute discretion to determine
1) whether to award PILLFF assistance in a particular year;
2) how many PILLFF assistance awards to give in a particular year;
3) whether to award a PILLFF assistance award to an applicant;
4) the amount of any PILLFF assistance , and
5) the method or methods payment of any PILLFF assistance; and
6) whether to alter or terminate PILLFF assistance.
- The PILLFF Committee shall attempt to make decisions by consensus, but may make decisions by majority vote.
- The PILLFF Committee shall have the authority by majority vote to amend these rules.