Military Student Loan Forgiveness: A Complete Guide
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Military student loan forgiveness has been a hot topic in the media recently and rightly so. Military service personnel grant freedom for the country and maintain peace in areas where there is a high probability of the occurrence of a conflict. These people put their life at risk in order to keep their nation safe. Therefore, once their military duties are over, they need to feel welcomed home with great respect and gratitude. A veteran struggling with student debt will not feel any type of gratitude from the state, nor will he/she feel welcomed home.
On the contrary, federal and private student loans are bound to add up to the military’s frustrations and disillusions. Military service members who are still on duty, veterans and National Guardsmen who serve for at least 90 days can take advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which provides funding for education, including tuition, fees, books and even housing for the period of studies. However, the GI Bill does not cover existing student loans, so veterans with pre-existing student loans cannot benefit from education gratuities, which seems quite unfair if we come to think of their sacrifices.
In order to provide the necessary support for military students who have contracted a loan prior to joining the army, the federal and state authorities have come up with a number of programs meant to offer military student loan forgiveness and/or financial facilities for their educational debts.
1. Military College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP)
The program is designed to help people who join the military to pay for their already contracted student loans. Unlike other similar programs, the CLRP does not send the money to the military’s account, but to an account belonging to the company which services the student loan. This is a safe way to ensure that the money reaches its intended destination. Usually, the first payment reaches the lender’s account at the end of the first year of service.
Military personnel who join the army, as well as persons who choose to re-enlist, can apply for loan forgiveness through the College Repayment Program, provided that they meet the following criteria:
- Have a College Degree, as GED or other equivalents do not qualify for the CLRP;
- ?The Armed Forces Qualification Test score should be above 50;
- ?Give up the rights available for militaries through the Post 9/11 GI Bill if they apply for the 4 years program (not applicable for the 6 years program). It is advisable that military personnel who plan to continue their studies after their service period is over opt for the 6 years program to benefit both from the CLRP and the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
- Have a student loan which is accepted in the program. Thus, loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program, Federal Perkins Program and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program are not eligible for a repayment through CLRP.
The program is open for all branches of the military, including some branches of the Reserves too. In fact, the amount of money that can be repaid, depends on the branch in which the candidate is enrolled.
Thus, the Army’s CLRP pays $65,000 in military student loan forgiveness for each soldier. The Navy’s CLRP also pays $65,000, but the Navy Reserves only benefits $10,000 from loan forgiveness. The National Guard’s CLRP offers $50,000, the program for Coast Guards offers $30,000 and the Air Forces program has $10,000 for each military. The Marines currently do not offer any type of CLRP. One of the CLRP’s drawbacks is that it does not cover the loan’s interest.