Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $127,901)
Attorneys employed in Ohio and serving as an eligible prosecutor or public defender are encouraged to apply to the John. R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program (JRJ) through the Ohio Department of Higher Education. A priority deadline will be highlighted after which all applications received will be processed and scored. The minimum goal award amount will be determined for prosecutors and for public defenders. If we receive more applications that will prevent the minimum award still to be determined, we will institute a scoring methodology. Scores will rank applications based on an assessment of each applicant’s ability to pay current student loan debt and will arrive at a ratio of student loan debt to gross annual salary. The highest scores will represent the least ability to pay and will receive higher priority in awarding.
The scoring methodology will weight final scores on two additional factors--length of time in loan repayment and length of public service as a prosecutor or public defender. These additional weights allow applicants who have paid off a substantial amount of their loan debt to be competitive in the program since their base student loan debt to gross annual salary ratio will likely be lower. Also, these weights will reward those applicants who have already fulfilled the core aspect of the JRJ; continuous service as a prosecutor or public defender. Finally, an effort will be made to ensure a diverse geographic representation among award recipients by choosing at least once recipient from each of Ohio’s twelve workforce development regions.
Each recipient will be required to sign a service agreement to continue as a prosecutor or public defender for an additional 3 years. Award amounts will be sent directly to the recipient’s student loan servicer and will be applied to an outstanding qualifying student loan debt(s) in the recipient’s name. Annual follow-up confirmations will be made to ensure recipients fulfill the terms of their service agreement.
Working with both the Ohio Public Defenders Office and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, we were able to determine the employment rates for public defenders and prosecuting attorneys in the state of Ohio prior to our involvement with the JRJ grant in comparison to the most recent employment data collected:
November 2009- 58
2018 - 2020 -73
2021 – No survey was conducted
2022 – Survey currently being conducted
2009- 1,060 Full time and part-time assistant prosecutors (66 of 88 counties reporting)
2018 & 2019 - 766 Full time and part-time assistant prosecutors (47 of 88 counties reporting)
No survey was conducted in 2020
2021 - 824 Full time and part-time assistant prosecutors (50 of 88 counties reporting)
No survey was conducted in 2022 to date