Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $133,039)
JOHN R JUSTICE (JRJ)
FY2022 Grant Program
PROGRAM ABSTRACT FOR ILLINOIS
July 6, 2022
In an effort to meet the increased needs of the State’s Attorney and Public Defenders offices in the State of Illinois, Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is providing the resources for the administration of the John R. Justice Program (JRJ). ISAC provides for the payment of eligible educational loans (both Federal Family Education Loan Program [FFELP] and Federal Direct Loans) for state and federal public defenders and state prosecutors who agree to remain employed as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years. The annual awards to qualified defenders and prosecutors will are subject to sufficient annual appropriation by the federal government, up to an aggregate total of $60,000, to repay their student loan debt.
Illinois is following a model that centralizes the administration of the program thereby allowing a consistent and standard approach statewide. With this model, applicants apply directly to ISAC, (the governor-designated state administering agency) which decides, based on the programmatic criteria set forth by the U.S. Department of Justice and developed by an Advisory Committee, which applicants should receive funding.
The allocation for FY2022 is up to $1.00. Historically, the demand for the program exceeds the funding level; therefore a formula has been designed to distribute awards to applicants with the least ability to repay their student loans within each of the five appellate districts statewide. There is an additional statewide category for prosecutors. Although the law permits an annual maximum award of $10,000, in order to serve as many recipients as possible, it was agreed by the Advisory Committee that the number or awards made through this program, as well as the individual dollar amount awarded, are subject to sufficient annual appropriation by the federal government.
Therefore with a funding level of $1.00 we anticipate awarding $0.50 for Prosecutors and $0.50 for Public Defenders.
Below is a comparison of the total number of prosecutors, public defenders and federal public defenders employed in the State of Illinois prior to the inception of the JRJSLR program funds availability and the current fiscal year.
State of Illinois Totals
Federal Public Defenders