State Board announces launch date for Peace Officer Tuition Repayment Program

AUSTIN -- The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board announced this week that the Peace Officer Loan Assistance Repayment Program will officially launch in September for recently appointed officers with student loan debt. Last year, I authored SB 16 with Sen. Kelly Hancock to create this program as a recruitment tool for law enforcement departments around the state. This program is coming online at a crucial time when young Texans who are graduating from college may be considering a career in law enforcement.

Here are more details about the program from the THECB announcement:

In June 2019, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law SB 16 (86th Texas Legislature) authorizing the Peace Officer Loan Repayment Assistance Program (POLRAP) to provide an incentive for Texans to pursue law enforcement careers and remain on the job to help pay off their student loan debt.

The legislation defines “peace officer” in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which describes 35 distinct positions and roles. To be eligible to apply for loan repayment assistance through POLRAP, an initial applicant must have been initially appointed as a full-time peace officer on or after Sept. 1, 2019, have completed at least one year of employment as a full-time peace officer in Texas, and have earned at least 60 credit hours at an eligible Texas higher education institution prior to initial appointment as a peace officer.

Upon admittance to the POLRAP, recipients will receive an initial award based on their one year of prior service. A successful applicant may receive up to $20,000 in loan repayment assistance over a period of five years ($4,000 annually or one-fifth of the outstanding loan balance, whichever is less).