The Public Service Initiative (PSI) was offered as a pilot program for students admitted during the 2009 admissions season or earlier.Students admitted after September 1, 2009 are eligible for a successor initiative, the Public Service Venture Fund, to support public service work.
Can I receive LIPP in addition to the PSI?
Yes, you can still receive LIPP assistance on your LIPP-eligible loans even if you take advantage of the PSI.
How does the PSI differ from LIPP?
If you borrow instead of taking the PSI, it will take you at least 10 years in LIPP to retire that portion of your debt. With the PSI, you discharge any requirement to repay when you complete the public service commitment. Furthermore, unlike LIPP, you don’t have to meet income guidelines to discharge your PSI, your assets are not a factor, and your spouse’s income and assets are not a factor. However, the PSI does require an up-front public service commitment; LIPP requires no up-front commitment and covers a broader range of public service and private sector jobs than the PSI.
If I take the PSI, doesn’t that mean I qualify for less LIPP assistance in the future?
Yes, you will receive less LIPP assistance because you will have less debt.
I’m not sure I want to work in public service for that long; should I take the PSI anyway?
You will be required to make a commitment to public service employment when you enroll in the PSI as a 3L and sign a legally-binding agreement. If you aren’t sure you want to commit to the required years of continuous public service work at that time, you can still apply for need-based financial aid and take advantage of LIPP to help repay your loans; in LIPP you are under no obligation to remain in a specific job for a specific length of time.
Is there any penalty if I leave public service before completing the work requirement?
Yes, there is a modest penalty (similar to the cost of interest that would have accrued on a loan), and you will have to repay the PSI grant. If you are not able to repay in full, the PSI grant can be converted to a PSI loan at an interest rate of 8%. Once converted to a loan, the PSI cannot be converted back to a grant, but it may be eligible for LIPP assistance in the future, subject to the standard terms of LIPP.
If I receive need-based grant aid, will I receive a full-tuition PSI grant in addition to that?
HLS will not award grant aid in excess of tuition. If you have a need-based grant, the PSI grant can supplement your need-based grant up to, but not beyond, that year’s tuition figure. You might still need to borrow to cover other fees and living expenses in your student budget.
So if I already get need-based grant aid, I get less from the PSI?
Yes, because a need-based grant is preferable to the PSI. You never have to repay a need-based grant, and there’s no post-graduate commitment. Since the PSI only covers the gap between your need-based grant and tuition, you will only have to repay the PSI portion of your grant aid if you don’t meet the public service work commitment. You must meet the full required work commitment even if you receive a PSI grant of less than full tuition because of need based aid.