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Article 25: Student Loan Repayment Program

Section 1

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 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 5, 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, age, or handicapping condition.

Section 2

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) significantly 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 he or she satisfies the baseline criteria for participation in the SLRP set forth herein in Section 3. 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.

Section 3

To be eligible for participation in the SLRP, an employee must maintain an “Accomplished Performer” level of performance, and sign a service agreement, in which he/she agrees to:

1. Complete three years of service with the Employer, which will commence on the date of the first repayment;

2. Complete one additional year of service with the Employer for each additional year of repayment received if the employee continues to meet the criteria specified herein in Section 2A(ii) and loan repayments continue beyond the first twelve months; and

3. Reimburse the Employer for loan repayments under such circumstances as set forth in Section 4, below.

Section 4

An employee who receives loan repayments and fails to complete the required service as set forth in Section 3 above because he/she is 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 he/she received, except that:

1. An employee who fails to complete the period of employment established under a service agreement because he/she leaves 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 he/she received;

2. 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

3. An employee who fails to complete the period of employment because he/she is involuntarily separated for reasons other than misconduct or performance will not be required to reimburse the Employer.

Section 5

Subject to budgetary considerations, the amount of loan repayment paid by the Employer on behalf of an employee participating in the SLRP is subject to both of the following limits (in each case, less taxes due): (i) $10,000 per employee per calendar year; and (ii) a total of $60,000 per employee. Within these limits, the Employer may repay more than one eligible loan for a recipient.

If insufficient funds are allocated to the SLRP for all selected employees to receive the maximum yearly limit or the maximum amount they are eligible for, they will receive all repayment amounts allocated to the SLRP on a pro rata basis.

Section 6

A. Loan repayments made by the Employer on behalf of an employee participating in the SLRP will not exempt an employee from his/her responsibility or liability for any of his/her 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.

Section 7

The Employer will make loan repayments under the SLRP by direct payment to the holder of the loan on behalf of the employee.

Section 8

All nominations made pursuant to this Section 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.