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Article 25: Student Loan Repayment Program
A. The Employer will offer a Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) pursuant to its authority under 5 U.S.C. § 4802(d), subject to the availability of funds. The purpose of the SLRP is to recruit or retain highly qualified personnel by assisting them in repaying all or a portion of their federally insured qualifying student loans (as defined herein) that are outstanding at the time the Employer and employee enter into a service agreement, as provided in Section 3, below.
B. The Parties will retain the SLRP Joint Committee of Labor and Management representatives that will meet at least annually to review the operations of the Agency’s program, and to make recommendations to the Employer regarding how the program might be improved.
C. For purposes of the SLRP, the term student loan refers to:
1. A loan made, insured, or guaranteed under parts B, D or E of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965; or
2. A health education assistance loan made or insured under part A of title VII of the Public Health Service Act or under part E of title VIII of that Act.
D. There is no entitlement to participation in the SLRP. Repayment of student loans by the Employer is subject to budgetary considerations and is at the Employer's discretion. Nevertheless, when selecting employees to receive loan repayment benefits, the Employer will:
1. Adhere to merit system principles;
2. Evaluate the Employee’s qualifications; and
3. Ensure that benefits are awarded in a fair and equitable fashion, without regard to political affiliation, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, age, or handicapping condition.
A. Subject to budgetary considerations, the Employer may grant a student loan benefit to any employee who: (i) meets the eligibility requirements in Section 3; and (ii) contributes to the Employer's mission to protect investors and maintain the integrity of the securities markets.
B. An employee must submit an application for consideration in the SLRP. The application must describe how they satisfy the baseline criteria for participation in the SLRP as set forth in Section 3, below. The application must also indicate whether the employee is electing to receive a one-time, lump sum repayment or recurring biweekly repayments for the remainder of the payroll calendar year.
C. All approved loan repayments made pursuant to this Article must be supported by a written justification from the employee and approved by the employee’s supervisor. The written justification shall refer to the relevant criteria.
To be eligible for participation in the SLRP, employees must maintain an “Accomplished Performer” level of performance, and sign a service agreement, in which they agree to:
A. Complete three years of service with the Employer, which will commence on the date of the effective date of the service agreement;
B. Complete one additional year of service with the Employer for each additional year of repayment received provided the employee continues to meet the criteria specified herein in Section 2(A)(ii) and loan repayments continue beyond the first twelve months; and
C. Reimburse the Employer for loan repayments under such circumstances as set forth in Section 4, below.
An employee who receives loan repayments and fails to complete the required service as set forth in Section 3 above because they are separated involuntarily for misconduct, unacceptable performance, or a negative suitability determination, or leaves the Employer voluntarily, will be indebted to the Federal Government and must reimburse the Employer for the total amount of any student loan repayments they received, except that:
A. An employee who fails to complete the period of employment established under a service agreement because they leave the Employer voluntarily to enter into the service of another federal agency will not be required to reimburse the Employer for the amount of any student loan repayment benefits they received;
B. A right of recovery of an employee's debt may be waived, in whole or in part, by the Employer if the Employer determines, in its sole discretion, that recovery would be against equity and good conscience or against the public interest; and
C. An employee who fails to complete the period of employment established under a service agreement because they are involuntarily separated for reasons other than misconduct or performance will not be required to reimburse the Employer.
Subject to budgetary considerations, the amount of lifetime loan repayment paid by the Employer on behalf of an employee participating in the SLRP will be up to $120,000 per employee less taxes due and the annual limit will be $10,000 less taxes due, provided that any request for SLRP in excess of $100,000 is accompanied by an employee’s self- certification that they have applied for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and were denied or did not qualify. Within these limits, the Employer may repay more than one eligible loan for a recipient and an Employee may submit more than one application and receive more than one payment per year.
If insufficient funds are allocated to the SLRP for all selected employees to receive the maximum yearly limit or the maximum amount they requested, then their approved SLRP repayment amounts will be allocated on a pro rata basis.
A. Loan repayments made by the Employer on behalf of an employee participating in the SLRP will not exempt an employee from their responsibility or liability for any of their loans. Student loan repayments made on behalf of an employee are taxable.
B. The Employer will strive to honor any request made by an employee regarding the form and timing of any tax withholdings; however, the Employer does not have the discretion to make tax payments outside IRS regulations.
C. The Employer will only consider employee requests to cancel SLRP applications and repayment(s) in the same calendar year that the repayments were processed and paid.
D. If an employee is approved to receive student loan repayment(s) but no longer has a qualifying student loan balance outstanding at the time the repayment(s) is made, then the employee must reimburse the Employer for the excess amount of any student loan repayment(s) they received.
The Employer will make loan repayments under the SLRP by direct payment to the holder of the loan on behalf of the employee. The loan repayments will be made in accordance with the employee’s selection on their application to receive either a one-time, lump sum repayment or recurring biweekly repayments for the remainder of the payroll calendar year.
All nominations made pursuant to this Article must be supported by written justification, which shall refer to the relevant criteria. An employee’s supervisor may nominate a particular employee for the Program; otherwise employees may nominate themselves for selection in the Program.