Illinois Compiled Statutes 110 ILCS 916 Public Interest Attorney Assistance Act. Section 20

    (110 ILCS 916/20)

    Sec. 20. Public Interest Attorney Loan Repayment Assistance Program.

    (a) The Commission shall establish and administer the Program for the primary purpose of providing loan repayment assistance to practicing attorneys to encourage them to pursue careers as public interest attorneys to protect the rights of this State's most vulnerable citizens or provide quality enforcement of State law. The Commission shall create an advisory committee composed of representatives from organizations with relevant expertise, including one person from each of the following entities:

        (1) The Illinois State's Attorneys Association.

        (2) An office of an Illinois Public Defender.

        (3) An office of an Illinois public guardian.

        (4) The Office of the Illinois Attorney General.

        (5) An Illinois metropolitan bar association.

        (6) An Illinois statewide bar association.

        (7) A public law school in this State.

    (b) The Public Interest Attorney Loan Repayment Assistance Fund is created as a special fund in the State treasury. The Fund shall consist of all moneys remitted to the Commission under the terms of this Act. All money in the Fund shall be used, subject to appropriation, by the Commission for the purposes of this Act.

    (c) Subject to the availability of appropriations and subsections (d) and (e) of this Section, the Commission shall distribute funds to eligible applicants.

    (d) The Commission is authorized to prescribe all rules, policies, and procedures necessary or convenient for the administration of the Program and all terms and conditions applicable to payments made under this Act. This shall be done with the guidance and assistance of the Committee.

    (e) The Commission shall administer the Program, including, but not limited to, establishing and implementing the following:

        (1) An application process. Subject to the

    availability of appropriations, the Commission shall, each year, consider applications by eligible public interest attorneys for loan repayment assistance under the Program.

        (2) Eligibility requirements. The Commission shall,

    on an annual basis, receive and consider applications for loan repayment assistance under the Program if the Commission finds that the applicant:

            (i) is a citizen or permanent resident of the

        United States;

            (ii) is a licensed member of the Illinois Bar in

        good standing;

            (iii) has eligible debt in grace or repayment

        status; and

            (iv) is employed as a public interest attorney

        with a qualifying employer in Illinois.

        (3) A maximum amount of loan repayment assistance

    for each participant, which shall be $6,000 per year, up to a maximum of $30,000 during the participant's career.

        (4) Prioritization. The Commission shall develop

    criteria for prioritization among eligible applicants in the event that there are insufficient funds available to make payments to all eligible applicants under this Act. The prioritization criteria shall include the timeliness of the application, the applicant's salary level, the amount of the applicant's eligible debt, the availability of other loan repayment assistance to the applicant, the applicant's length of service as a public interest attorney, and the applicant's prior participation in the Program.

    (f) The distribution of funds available after administrative costs must be made by the Commission to eligible public interest attorneys in the following manner:

        (1) Loan repayment assistance must be in the form

    of a forgivable loan.

        (2) To have the loan forgiven, the participant

    shall (i) complete a year of employment with a qualifying employer and (ii) make educational debt payments (interest or principal or both) that equal at least the amount of assistance received under the Program during the assistance year.

        (3) Each loan must be documented by means of a

    promissory note executed by the borrower in a form provided by the Commission and shall be forgiven when an eligible participant meets the requirements set forth by the Commission.

(Source: P.A. 96-615, eff. 1-1-10; 96-768, eff. 1-1-10.)

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Last modified: February 18, 2015