Through the Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund, also commonly referred to as the PILLFF program, qualified applicants may be able to have a portion of their student loans forgiven. The Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund (PILLFF) provides 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 used to fund their legal education. This fund was established in 2002 by retired USC Law Professor William McAninch to help alleviate the high debt incurred by young lawyers dedicated to serving the public. Read on to see eligibility requirements, award amounts, and the application process for the Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund.
In order to be eligible for the Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund, you must meet the following criteria:
- A Person is eligible to be considered for PILLFF assistance if the person:
- has graduated from the USC School of Law
- files a written application for the grant with the PILLFF Committee
- agrees to be continuously employed in the field of public interest law for two years after the effective date of an initial grant and for one year after the effective date of any subse- quent grant; and
- will be responsible for the full or partial repayment of qualified debt during the grant year.
- A person 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 political subdivisions, and if the employment requires a Juris Doctor degree; provided, however, that the employment is not a judicial clerkship
- Debt is “qualified debt” if it is debt incurred to pay the expenses of legal education and owed to an institution or governmental lender. Private debt owed to a family member or friend outside the framework of a regular lender 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 paid only to a person who has become a member of the SC Bar and who agrees to remain continuously employed in the public interest law field for a second year. 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 time of notification of an award.
- in deciding whether to award PILLFF assistance and the amount of the assistance, the PILLFF Committee may consider any factors that the PILLFF Committee considers relevant, including but not limited to:
- the amount of the applicant’s qualified debt
- the amount of the applicant’s other debt
- the amount of debt owed within the applicant’s household
- the amount of the applicant’s income
- the amount of income received in the applicant’s household
- the applicant’s assets
- household assets
- household dependents
- the nature of the applicant’s employment
- the connection between the applicant’s long-term goals and the field of public interest law
- the applicant’s prior commitment to public interest law
- the applicant’s academic performance
- the applicant’s potential for future compensation, including the likelihood that the applicant will move quickly to much higher compensated employment
- other available sources of qualified debt repayment assistance
- Preference shall be given to recent graduates of the USC School of Law
- Preference shall be given to those practicing public interest law in South Carolina
To see a full breakdown of requirements head over to the programs official website.
How much can I expect to be awarded?
Through the Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund, award amounts may be different each year depending on the funding through the program.
For a full breakdown of this programs offers, head over to their website.
What loans are eligible for this program?
The Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund will only forgive federal loans. You may have to consolidate to meet the requirements of some programs. The UofSC School of Law Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund considers all loans.
How do I apply for this repayment program?
In order to apply for the Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund, you will need to complete their application packet. Once this packet is completed you will need to see below for further details.
Please Note: Please attach a copy of your most recent student loan statements
June 30: Deadline for this program.
Once the application has been completed you will need to mail the application to the address below:
Pamela D. Robinson
USC School of Law
1525 Senate Street Room 386
Columbia, SC 29208
If you have questions please contact Pamela Robinson at 803-777-3405 or [email protected].