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Guidelines

Benefit Amounts

If you have a current financial aid package, you can view your potential PSI benefit by logging in to your "My HLS Financial Aid" account on the right. Click on the "Messages" tab to see a message describing your PSI benefit. If you do not have a current financial aid package, we will send you an email describing your potential PSI benefit early in the fall term.

The potential PSI benefit for each individual student at HLS is determined as follows:

Full tuition benefit

Available to those who enrolled at HLS in the fall of 2008 as first year JD students, those who enrolled in the fall of 2009 as first year JD students or second year transfer JD students, and those admitted to HLS as first year JD students between September 30, 2007 and August 30, 2009 who deferred enrollment. 100 public service points must be earned while in law school to qualify for this benefit, and a five-year commitment to public service (one year of which can be satisfied by a clerkship) will be required.

$10,000 benefit

Available to those who enrolled at HLS in the fall of 2007 as first year JD students and those who enrolled in the fall of 2008 as second year transfer students. 65 public service points must be earned while in law school to qualify for this benefit, and a three-year commitment to public service will be required (six months of which can be satisfied by a clerkship).

$5,000 benefit

Available to those who enrolled at HLS in the fall of 2006 or earlier as first year JD students and those who enrolled in the fall of 2007 or earlier as second year transfer students. 50 public service points must be earned while in law school to qualify for this benefit, and a two-year commitment to public service will be required. Credit toward the two-year commitment will not be given for clerkship work.

Note: 

Students admitted to the JD program after September 1, 2009 are not eligible for the PSI, but are eligible for a successor initiative, the Public Service Venture Fund, to support public service work. Students who attended class at HLS and subsequently took a leave of absence are eligible for the PSI benefit that applies to the JD class with which they first enrolled.

Terms of Benefits and Conditions Requiring Repayment

Students who qualify for the Public Service Initiative should also complete the standard financial aid application process. Any need-based grant aid for which they qualify will be subtracted from the total tuition amount and the difference will be designated as a Public Service Initiative grant. In no case will the combination of need-based grant and PSI grant awarded exceed the amount of tuition charged for that year. Students who participate in the JD/PhD Fellowship program or the Yellow Ribbon Program are not eligible for the PSI, as these programs already offer a full-tuition benefit.

Students will sign a PSI Agreement specifying the terms of the PSI grant. Graduates must begin work in a full-time, qualifying public service job (or a clerkship) within three months after graduation, and must remain exclusively in public service employment for 5 full, consecutive years (60 months), or a shorter term as described above for the $5,000 or $10,000 benefit. A graduate who does not remain continuously employed in a public service position will be contractually required to repay the PSI grant according to the following repayment schedule:

Time in an eligible position Amount to be repaid
Less than 12 months 110% of PSI grant
12 - 23 months 100% of PSI grant 
24-35 months 90% of PSI grant 
36-47 months 80% of PSI grant
48-60 months 70% of PSI grant 


Recipients of the $5,000 PSI Grant will be considered to have met their commitment after 24 months of eligible employment. Recipients of the $10,000 PSI Grant will be considered to have met their commitment after 36 months of eligible employment. 

PSI grants are repayable in the form of a Harvard Loan at an 8% fixed interest rate over a ten year repayment term. Should the borrower subsequently enter the Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP), this loan will be treated like any other education loan in determining eligibility for LIPP assistance, subject to the participant's loan eligibility guidelines for LIPP.

Parental leave

Graduates may take parental leave from employment after the birth of a child for up to one year without being required to begin repayment; time in a parental leave will not count toward meeting the public service commitment. Graduates with children not yet of age to enter ninth grade who work at least half-time will accrue time toward the public service commitment at the full time rate. Work at less than half-time will not count toward meeting the public service commitment.

PSI Timeline for students graduating in June 2014

-- September/October, 2013: Complete online PSI statement of intent (required for 3Ls only)
-- October/November, 2013: Complete formal PSI Agreement (3Ls only); deadline for return of Agreements is 5pm on November 12, 2013
-- December, 2013: PSI Grant disbursed to student bill for those who sign the Agreement
-- April 15, 2014: Deadline for early withdrawal from the PSI; a PSI Cancellation Fee will be charged*
-- May, 2014: Update contact information with Student Financial Services
-- August/September, 2014: Submit documentation of PSI eligible job; updated documentation will be required at 6 month intervals until completion of commitment**

See the 2013-14 PSI Calendar for more details.

* for PSI recipients in the Class of 2014 who withdraw from the PSI before April 15, 2014: a PSI cancellation fee, representing the interest that would have accrued on a loan of the same amount at an 8% interest rate from December 1 through the date of written withdrawal from the PSI, will be charged to the student bill.

** for PSI recipients who have taken ineligible jobs or otherwise fail to meet the eligibility requirements, repayment of the PSI, beginning at 110% of the awarded amount, will be required as described in the repayment schedule above.

Last modified: August 27, 2014

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