Former and present members of the military are highly regarded by lawmakers and the American public. Federal lawmakers have created multiple programs that can help active duty personnel and veterans pursue a higher education. Perhaps most famously is the G.I. Bill, which provides multiple types of benefits. The G.I. Bill has undergone multiple changes over the years. There are additional educational and student loan repayment options for active duty members and veterans.
- Use the G.I. Bill: You may be eligible to use G.I. bill benefits, which can provide tuition, housing and school supply assistance. However, depending on when you left the service and other factors, your eligibility and the amount received may vary. For instance, President Trump signed the Forever GI Bill into law, which made some changes to how aid is disbursed. G.I. benefits can be used in conjunction with federal student loans.
- Repayment assistance programs. Multiple student loan repayment assistance programs are available to servicemembers. Active duty members of the Army may take advantage of the Army Student Loan Repayment Program. Reservists may use the Army Reserve College Loan Repayment Program. Members of the Air Force could utilize the Air Force College Loan Repayment Program. There are similar repayment programs for other branches of the military. You could check your eligibility for these programs.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). The PSLF Program allows eligible borrowers to receive loan forgiveness after making ten years of timely payments. As a member of the military, you are eligible for PSLF if you have Direct Loans in good standing. After making ten years of payments, your remaining balance is forgiven with no tax penalty. It would be wise to enroll in this program as soon as you are able, as it may not exist in the near future.
- Additional forgiveness programs. There are other options for loan forgiveness in addition to PSLF. You could see if you are eligible to receive a National Defense Student Loan discharge. This option may be available if you served one year in an area deemed an imminent danger (frequent hostile fire). In addition, you may be able to seek loan forgiveness by applying for a Permanent and Total Disability discharge through the Department of Education.
- Options for deferments and lower payments. There are programs you could utilize that may help defer payments or cap interest rates. If you are eligible for the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, you could cap interest rates for private and federal student loans. You may also be able to defer federal loan payments during active duty and for 13 months after returning home. If you have federal loans, you may be able to enroll in an income-driven plan. These limit monthly payments to a percentage of your income.
Questions About Student Loans? Contact Our Kansas City Student Loan Lawyers
We have only touched on a few of the common programs and types of aid that may be available. You could continue following our blog or newsletter for future updates on student loan tips for servicemembers. The Sader Law Firm also offers help to student loan borrowers who are struggling to make payments and who wish to explore options for debt relief. You could reach our firm by calling (816) 281-6349 or by using our online case review form.