The Public Interest Law Award (see Public Interest Law Award Application) was established in 1988 by the classes of 1987 and 1988 to honor and support law school graduates who choose to enter the field of public interest law. Eligible recipients must have more than $5,000 in student loan debt and demonstrate the procurement of employment in public interest law, an area that includes but is not limited to legal assistance groups, public defenders offices, special interest and minority group advocates, and civil liberties unions. The recipient's starting and projected average annual salary derived from the employment described above must be less than 125 percent of the "standard maintenance allowance (SMA)." Recipients are selected by a committee comprised of a member of the establishing class, faculty and staff. Applications are made the summer after graduation.
Public Interest Law Foundation Grant (see Public Interest Law Foundation Grant Application) was established to encourage and support students engaged in public interest legal work, in 1995 the Iowa Law Foundation Board, at the recommendation of students and faculty, agreed that $20,000 of annual spendable earnings from non-restricted endowed scholarship accounts be awarded in the form of grants to 3-5 third-year students. The recipients must have demonstrated a commitment to pursuing public interest work and have substantial indebtedness from student loans. If a recipient of this grant does not procure employment in public interest work, the grant converts to a loan under the same terms of the Iowa Law School Foundation Loan program. A committee of faculty and staff selects recipients.