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Terms and Conditions and Major Obligations of Scholars

The expense of law school, potential incurred debt, and the low salaries associated with public service law can present a financial burden to those pursuing a path of public service. By covering the costs associated with attending law school, the Gates PSL Program relieves most of this burden and enables Scholars to pursue a public service career.

A. Participant Responsibilities

Scholars must commit to successfully completing the three year J.D. program and to working in the public service arena for a period of five years upon graduation. The Gates PSL Program also provides opportunities to engage in public service law and related activities throughout law school, to enhance both theoretical and practical experiences in public service. Scholars are selected based on their sincere interest and stated intent to work in public service. While enrolled in the J.D. program Scholars are required to attend the annual retreat, Gates PSL Scholars' seminars, Scholars' meetings, and to participate in two internships. Following each internship, Scholars complete a comprehensive report on their learning and experience. These reports will be shared with the University of Washington community in a variety of ways.

Public Service Definition. Public Service is defined broadly for the purposes of this Program. However, this scholarship is intended to support public service work that provides certain benefits to society. The Program is intended to promote legal public service work that: seeks to secure equal justice for disadvantaged and underserved individuals or communities; fosters equity, fairness, human dignity, the peaceable resolution of disputes and the rule of law; or preserves and protects the world's health and resources for the benefit of the public good.

For the purpose of determining Scholars' compliance with their commitment to work only in public service for five years following graduation, "Public Service" means employment on at least a half time (50% of a full-time position) basis with organizations, other than the University of Washington, which are described in Section 501(c)(3) and exempt from federal taxation under Section 501(c)(3) or are organizations that are treated as government units within the meaning of Sections 170(b)(1)(A)(v) and 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. Eligible positions must involve law and will typically have a minimal educational requirement of a J.D. degree, require the employee to utilize his or her legal training to a significant degree, and/or are positions that are typically held by members of the legal profession. There may be questions of interpretation in respect to some employment. The Dean will work with the Program Director to determine a resolution of such questions. A Recipient may seek review of such determination by the Advisory Board of the William H. Gates Public Service Law Program by submitting, to the Dean of the Law School, a written request for such review within ten days of the Director's determination. The Advisory Board's decision shall be final and binding upon the Recipient.

B. Scholarship Loans and Repayment

Gates PSL Scholars agree to work only in Public Service for five years following graduation. Repayments to the University will be required in the event that a Scholar fails to: (1) graduate from the UW School of Law; or (2) complete the required period of employment in Public Service.

The Advisory Board shall establish the amount of the scholarship award on an annual basis. The sum of the annual scholarship payments (covering tuition, books, other normal fees imposed for University and UW School of Law enrollment, costs of room and board and incidental expenses) is referred to as the "loan amount" and must be repaid in the event a Scholar defaults on the terms of the Program. It is the intent of the University and Gates PSL Scholarship donor that scholarships awarded pursuant to the Program be treated as "student loans" within the meaning of Section 108(f) of the Internal Revenue Code. However, in the event any portion of the loan amount is determined to be taxable income to the recipients, the scholarship recipients will be solely responsible for the payment of any federal or state taxes due.

Upon selection, each Scholar shall sign a scholarship agreement and master promissory note. The scholarship agreement shall acknowledge the circumstances pursuant to which he/she may be required to repay the loan amount, the manner in which the terms of repayment will be determined, the events or conditions which will be treated as full repayment of the loan and such other provisions as may be required by the University to carry out the intent of the Program in a manner that is consistent with the Program guidelines.

Compensation Limit. Public service is intentionally defined broadly by the Program. One of the central purposes of the Gates Public Service Law Program is to enable and encourage Recipients to work in relatively lower paying public service law positions without being burdened by substantial law school debt repayment obligations. Accordingly, if, during any year of the five year Public Service obligation, the Recipient's compensation from her or his post-graduate Public Service employment exceeds a certain amount, the amount of loan forgiveness for that year will be reduced on a dollar-for-dollar basis for each dollar earned in excess of the Compensation Limit. (For example, and for illustration purposes only, if a recipient were to receive $65,000 of compensation during a year following graduation for which the applicable Compensation Limit is $60,000, then the amount of loan forgiveness that the Recipient would otherwise be entitled to for that year under Section V, above, would be reduced by $5,000.)

The Compensation Limit applicable to all Recipients during each year of their Public Service obligation under this Scholarship Agreement and Promissory Note shall be based on the then current United States Government pay scales (GS Salary levels) for the compensation of individuals holding positions in the U.S. government (http://www.opm.gov/oca/09tables/) as follows:

First year of employment following graduation – GS 12 Step 1
Second year of employment following graduation -- GS 12 Step 5
Third year of employment following graduation -- GS 13 Step 1
Fourth year of employment following graduation -- GS 13 Step 5
Fifth year of employment following graduation, and after -- GS 14 step 1.

The GS level to apply shall be that level established for the region in which the Recipient is employed. If Recipient is not working in the United States, the GS level for the Seattle region shall be applied.

In the event that a Scholar fails to satisfy the conditions for satisfying the loan in a continuous manner, then he/she shall be in default and shall be required to repay all or such part of the loan amount, together with interest calculated at the rate applied under the Federal Perkins Student Loan Program, as may remain after any credit against said amount allowed by the Advisory Board. In addition to such other factors the Advisory Board may deem appropriate for earning credit, credit shall be allowed for Public Service done by the Scholar prior to his/her default in performance.

Last updated 8/8/2013