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Article 23 Student Loan Repayment Program
Posted On: Oct 29, 2013

Article 23

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

considerations.

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

mission.

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

submission.

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.


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