Did you know that the U.S. government gives military members certain benefits for military members to fund their education with student loans? Were you also aware that military members are given special student loan repayment options as a reward for your service? Here’s the scoop.
Benefits Military Members are entitled to*
- Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Interest Rate Cap
- Interest on federal student loans obtained prior to your military service is limited to 6% during periods of active duty. The interest rate limitation also applies to any private education loans you may have.
- Military Service Deferment
- You can postpone federal student loan repayment during certain periods of active duty, such as during war, other military operation, or national emergency, and immediately following active duty.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness
- You may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of your Direct Loans when you’ve made 120 qualifying payments after October 1, 2007, while employed in public service, including military service.
- Deferments After Active Duty
- You can postpone repayment while you prepare to return to school following your active duty.
- 0% Interest
- While you are serving in a hostile area that qualifies you for special pay, you do not have to pay interest on Direct Loans made on or after October 1, 2008, for up to 60 months.
- Repayment Based on Income
- Repayment plans that base your monthly payment on your income are available. Under these plans, you may qualify for a low or zero payment amount with the possibility of forgiveness of the remaining balance in the future.
- HEROES Act Waiver
- While you are on active duty, the Department of Education waives many of the documentation requirements attached to program benefits. For example, if you are on a payment plan based on your income and military service prevents you from providing updated information on your family size and income, you can request to have your monthly payment amount maintained.
- Department of Defense (DOD) Repayment of Your Loans
- In certain circumstances, as determined by the DOD, all or a portion of your loans may be repaid by the DOD.
- Veterans Total and Permanent Disability Discharge
- If you have a service-connected disability, you may qualify for discharge of your federal student loans.
Helpful Tips for Managing the Student Loan Process
You vaguely remember signing a piece of paper every year at college registration time. Now that you’ve graduated, it’s all become painfully clear–those pieces of paper were promissory notes detailing your student loan obligations. Your loans aren’t going to go away, and you’ll want to repay them as quickly and easily as possible. So whether you have a small sum or a small fortune to pay off, you’ll want to brush up on some student loan basics. Visit the Federal Financial Aid website to learn more.
Keep track of your paperwork
If your idea of organization is stuffing your random assortment of student loan papers into your sock drawer, think again. Repaying your student loans is a serious matter, and you’ll need to stay on top of it. It’s important to keep accurate, accessible records. Open a file folder for each loan, and file any accompanying paperwork there, such as copies of promissory notes, coupon booklets, correspondence from your lender, deferment and/or forbearance paperwork, and notes of any phone calls.
For more information on how AFBN can help you, contact your nearest service center location.