Student Loan Repayment Program
Section 1. General
The Department has established a Student Loan Repayment Program pursuant to
5 U.S.C. § 5379 and 5 CFR 537 and other applicable rules and regulations. The
purpose of the program is to attract or retain highly qualified individuals by
assisting them in repaying their outstanding Federally-insured student loans.
There is no entitlement to participation in the program. Repayment of student
loans by the Department is at Management’s discretion and subject to budgetary
Section 2. Consideration
a. Should an employee wish to be considered for this program, he/she may
communicate such interest to their immediate supervisor. Management will
provide a response to the employee in a timely manner.
b. In accordance with 5 CFR 537.103(d), the Department’s consideration will
ensure fair and equitable treatment.
c. In accordance with 5 CFR 537.106(c), repayments of student loans are
subject to maximum limits of $10,000 per calendar year and a total of
$60,000 per employee.
Section 3. Criteria
Criteria applicable to this program are stipulated in 5 U.S.C. § 5379 and 5 CFR
537.105. As pertains to bargaining unit employees, the following apply:
a. Written determination. Loan repayments made under this program must be
based on a written determination that, in the absence of offering loan
repayment benefits, Management would encounter difficulty either in filling
the position with a highly qualified candidate or retaining a highly qualified
employee in that position.
b. Determination for retention. Payments authorized in order to retain an
employee must be based upon a written determination that the high or
unique qualifications of the employee or special need of the Department for
the employee’s services makes it essential to retain the employee, and that,
in the absence of offering student loan repayment benefits, the employee
would be likely to leave for employment outside the Federal service. This
determination must be based on a written description of the extent to which
the employee’s departure would affect Management’s ability to carry out an
activity or perform a function that is deemed essential to the Department’s
c. When selecting employees or job candidates to receive loan repayment
benefits, the Department will, consistent with the Merit System principles
set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2) of Section 2301(b) of Title 5 of the U.S.
Code, take into consideration the need to maintain a balanced workforce in
which women and members of racial and ethnic minority groups are
appropriately represented in Government service.
Section 4. Reporting
The Department shall provide Local 12 with a copy of the annual report on student
loan repayment programs provided to OPM within fifteen (15) calendar days after
Section 5. Applicability
The provisions of this Article apply to bargaining unit employees. It is understood
that the program authorized by statute and governed by OPM regulations is for the
benefit of both bargaining and non-bargaining unit employees. Management
reserves the right to determine the extent to which the program addresses
recruitment versus retention. None of the provisions of this Article may be
interpreted in a manner that is contrary to law or inconsistent with the requirement
of an effective and efficient Government.