John R. Justice (JRJ) Student Loan Repayment Program
APPLICATION FOR GRANT PROGRAM IS NOW CLOSED
(Please Check Back for Updates)
All awards are subject to Federal Funding availability
The Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts is pleased to support the John R. Justice Program (JRJ Program) in Arizona. Please take a moment to review the materials below to see if you qualify for student loan assistance through the JRJ Program.
WHAT IS THE JRJ STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM?
One pressing challenge facing our criminal justice system today is the retention of those who serve everyday to ensure that our communities are protected and the rule of law is upheld—including our prosecutors and public defenders. In the current economy, both prosecutor and public defender offices find it difficult to attract and retain talented attorneys. Driven by educational debt, attorneys interested in public interest law often forego opportunities to work in these offices in order to seek more lucrative private sector positions. Attorney shortages in these offices can result in overworked attorneys handling unmanageable caseloads, potentially affecting public safety, the administration of justice, and ultimately the public's confidence in our justice system.
Student loan debt is consistently cited as the overwhelming reason why attorneys decline or leave positions as prosecutors and public defenders. The vast majority of law students borrow to finance their legal education and the rising costs have imposed staggering debt. Furthermore, public defender and prosecutor salaries have failed to keep pace with the escalating cost of education. As a result, talented lawyers are often unwilling to accept attorney positions as prosecutors or public defenders, creating real challenges for those offices in their quest to hire and retain capable attorneys.
Acknowledging this challenge, Congress enacted the John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act (42 U.S.C. § 3797cc-21), named for the late John Reid, Justice of South Carolina, to encourage qualified attorneys to choose careers as prosecutors and public defenders and to continue in that service. The John R. Justice (JRJ) Program provides loan repayment assistance for local, state, and federal public defenders and local and state prosecutors who commit to continued employment as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years. The Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is the Governor-designated entity administering the JRJ Program in Arizona.
Congress provided the first year of funding for the JRJ Program in fiscal year 2010. While Arizona received $186,632, and slightly less than $150,000 in the first two years of funding, respectively, the allocation for fiscal year 2012 has been further reduced to $65,683.
The JRJ Program requires equal distribution of awards between prosecutors and public defenders. In fiscal year 2011, 26 Arizona attorneys serving as public defenders and 29 Arizona attorneys serving as prosecutors received between $2,570 and $2,867 each through the JRJ Program. While we will attempt to serve the same number of recipients in fiscal year 2012, the specific number of awardees and award amount will not be known until we have reviewed and evaluated all applications.
Award monies are paid directly to the lender or servicer of the loan upon execution of the service agreement required for participation in the JRJ Program. As required by the grant, the award money is intended to supplement, not substitute, the recipient’s personal student loan obligation. Awards are renewable, however all awards are subject to federal funding of the JRJ Program.
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW TO APPLY FOR THE JOHN R. JUSTICE GRANT PROGRAM
JRJ Application for New Applicants - Fillable
JRJ Request for Renewal for Returning Applicants - Fillable
Employer Verification Form - Fillable
Service Agreement - Fillable
Your application can be filled out online and submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 602-307-1274. You can also print and mail your application to:
Executive Office, Suite 411
Arizona Supreme Court
1501 W. Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Applications must be postmarked by Friday, October 26, 2012 to receive consideration.
Your completed application packet must include:
1. Completed and signed application form (or renewal certification for prior year applicants)
The application is in a “fillable” format, and as such, no handwritten applications will be accepted.
2. Required supporting materials (for new applicants), including:
Lender statements for each qualifying educational loan referenced in the application and statements must:
- be recent (last two months)
- show the loan to be in good standing (not in default)
- include the original balance, minimum monthly payment, and current loan balance
NOTE: You do not need to include lender statements for loans referenced on your Student Access Financial Aid Review that are not qualified for awards under the JRJ Program criteria.
3. Applicant’s 2011 FORM 1040 (US Individual Income Tax Return). Please redact social security numbers as they are not necessary for your application.
4. Applicant’s “Student Access Financial Aid Review” (available at www.nslds.ed.gov) and a statement for any other household member with educational debt referenced in the application. Please include the individual information pages for each loan referred to on this report.
5. Original signed Employer Verification Form. Please do not have your employer submit the employer form directly to the AOC. The form must be included with your application.
6. Signed Service Agreement (Note: a signed service agreement will not be required until after grant award selection has been made).
If you have any questions about the application process or would like more information, please email Henrietta Williams at email@example.com.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more general information visit, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/grant/johnrjustice.html. Please note, this website is to be used for general information only. Each state has different criteria for administering the grant. Not all information may apply to the State of Arizona.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2012-RJ-BX-0052 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, the Community Capacity Development Office, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.