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The North Carolina Legal Education Assistance Foundation Helps North Carolina Lawyers Pursue Careers In Public Service Through Law School Loan Repayment Assistance.

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2021 LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE! Details on the Applicants Tab. 

Important Federal Student Loan Payment Flexibilities

On March 27, 2020, the president signed the CARES Act, which, among other things, provides broad relief in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for federal student loan borrowers whose loans are owned by the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW First, it's important to understand that the provisions of the CARES Act that affect federal student loans are temporary. The changes to your federal student will end December 31, 2020.

In addition, the interest rate and status changes apply only to your federally owned William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, and Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program loans. If you have other federal student loans that are not owned by ED and/or have private loans, you'll need to contact the servicers of those loans to discuss potential relief options.

The following actions on the federally owned loans has been taken:

  • 0% Interest Rate - We changed the interest rate on the loans to 0% for the period March 13, 2020, through Dec.31, 2020. During this period, you will not be charged interest on your loans.
  • Administrative Forbearance - We placed the loans identified in an administrative forbearance for the period March 13, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020. During this period, you will not be required to make monthly payments on your loans. If your payments are made through auto-debit, those debits will not occur while the forbearance is in place. We will report you as current to credit reporting agencies.

Although you will not be required to make monthly payments during this specific administrative forbearance period, payments you would have been required to make between March 13, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, will count toward loan forgiveness provided all other qualifying factors are met.

Please seek updated information:

NC LEAF provides loan repayment assistance for eligible attorneys employed as prosecutors, public defenders, and legal services providers.


The mission of NC LEAF: to assist in the recruitment and retention of public interest attorneys by providing loan repayment assistance for law school debt.

Background: Equal access to justice is a cornerstone of our legal system. NC LEAF encourages attorneys to pursue careers in public service through an educational loan repayment assistance program. Rising law school debt and low salaries in public service positions present enormous impediments for law graduates committed to public interest careers. NC LEAF helps ensure that skilled lawyers continue to aid the underserved citizens of our state by providing financial assistance towards relief for law school debt. 

The problem: Student loan is consistently cited as the overwhelming reason why attorneys decline or leave positions as prosecutors, public defenders, and legal services providers. The vast majority of law students borrow to finance their legal education and the rising costs have imposed staggering debt, an average of $110,000 for new graduates in North Carolina. With starting salaries at $40,366, it is difficult to accept low-paying employment and satisfy a mortgage size monthly debt load.

 Assistance:  Funding is available for public interest attorneys in Mecklenburg County.  A gift from the C.D. Spangler Foundation makes this loan repayment assistance program possible for 2021. The continued federal John R. Justice Grant will assist Prosecutors and Public Defenders. IOLTA grant support is available for public interest attorneys working in legal services or non-profits.Please contact for details.