The military services offer the Student Loan Repayment Program as an incentive to many service members when they enlist or re-enlist. It can be difficult to take advantage of the program, however, because of the extensive paperwork and the eligibility requirements. But you can get the funds to pay off federal student loans if you follow the correct procedures.
Determine if you are eligible for the program. The SLRP is an incentive given to individuals enlisting or re-enlisting in the Army or Army Reserve. In return for a three-year commitment, the military will repay up to $65,000 of your college loans. If the program isn't offered and accepted by you as a part of your contract, however, you can't add it on later. To check if you have it, review your enlistment or re-enlistment contract. If you have it, there will be an attached addendum stating that it was included.
See if your loans are eligible. The SLRP can only be used to repay student loans from the federal government, not third-party loans. Remember that receiving a government loan through a third party (like a bank) is different than receiving a separate loan (like a collegiate loan) directly from the bank. Generally, the SLRP covers subsidized Stafford loans and unsubsidized Stafford loans. Fortunately, these are usually the first loans offered to you as a student, and are likely the loans you have.
Check the date of the loan disbursement and the date of your military contract. You must be serving in good standing to receive SLRP. You must also meet two further criteria: You must have been serving for one year and your loan must be at least one year old. You must submit for SLRP each year of your service.
Go online to access Army paperwork to apply for the funding. To begin, navigate to the Army Web-Enabled Education Benefit System (see Resources) and log in. Navigate to the "My student loan repayment" portion.
Print out DD 2475, which is the primary form for SLRP (see Resources). This form has three portions, the first of which is filled out by your unit administrator confirming that you are a service member in good standing. The second is filled out by you, containing your personal information.
Fill in your loan information in the third section of the form. Here it is helpful to have the master promissory notes for each of your loans. Record your account number and be sure to mark which loan this is from your total number of loans. For example, this is the second of 11 loans. Finally, fill out the address of the holder of the loan and mail both the form and a copy of the master promissory note.
- Be aware that money disbursed under the SLRP counts as income and will be taxed. So if you forget to file for several years and then receive an $8,500 payout, that will count as $8,500 of extra income that year.
- Be patient, this process can take time.
- Don't worry if you have missed filing for SLRP for the years in which you and your loan were eligible. The loan holder will calculate the money you should have been paid and disburse it in a lump sum.
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