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Loan Forgiveness for Military Service

Active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for student loan repayment programs. For example, the U.S. Army offers a College Loan Repayment Program to active duty members of the regular Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve. To be eligible, an enlisted soldier must decline enrollment in the Montgomery GI Bill, have the loan repayment program guaranteed in writing in the enlistment contract, score 50 or more on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and enlist in a critical military occupational specialty, among other requirements. The U.S. Army will then repay one third of the soldier’s student loans or $1,500, whichever is greater, for each year of service, up to a maximum of $65,000. Eligible loans include federal student loans, state student loans and some institutional/private student loan programs. (Active-duty enlisted members of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve are eligible for an annual loan repayment benefit of 15% or $500, whichever is greater, up to a maximum of $20,000.)

The U.S. Navy offers a similar student loan repayment assistance program, repaying up to $65,000 in eligible federal student loans. The U.S. Air Force college loan repayment assistance program offers a lower limit of $10,000.

Other student loan repayment programs may be available to servicemembers for enlisting or extending their enlistment. Talk to a recruiter for more details. Be sure to have the loan repayment program made part of the contract.

The Perkins Loan provides loan forgiveness for members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are receiving hazardous duty pay for service in an area of hostilities. The amount of the loan forgiveness includes the interest that has accrued during the year and is set at 15 percent during each of the first two years of service, 20 percent per year during the third and fourth years and 30 percent during the fifth year.

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In order to qualify for private student loan refinancing, lenders require a strong credit score with proof of income and employment history. In some cases a cosigner may be required. Also, if you have adverse credit history, including a prior student loan default*, you may not be eligible. * Default = 270 days late/missed payment on a federal loan and typically 90 days late/missed payment on a private loan(contact your lender for exact definition of default).

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