Can I Get My Student Loans Forgiven Since I’m in the Military? – Jeremiah

Question:

Dear Steve,

Active Duty Military Officer – wondering if I can discharge student loans due to my military service.

I am an active duty military officer, and have been continually serving since graduating with my undergrad in May 2005. I read recently that after 10 years of military service, my loans might be forgiven. Is this true?

Fun fact: Although I have been on active duty continuously for over 10 years, some of my student loans have been in deferment, so I have not been paying on my student loan for 10 consecutive years.

Thanks in advance.

Jeremiah

Answer:

Dear Jeremiah,

Well I’ve got some good news and bad news. The good news is you would be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. After 120 on-time and qualifying payments the balance of your loans would be forgiven.

The bad news is it is doubtful that your current loan situation would qualify. Loans in deferment don’t count.

To get your loans into qualifying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program you would need to consolidate your current loans into a new Direct Consolidation Loan and opt for an income-driven repayment plan, like the Income Based Repayment program.

Now these income-driven repayment programs can give you a qualifying payment that is really low, but there are consequences for enrolling. See this.

So if you think you will remain in the military or in some government or non-profit job, then you might want to consolidate your loans now and get the monthly payments counting towards forgiveness.

As the program stands right now, it’s an all or nothing solution. You don’t get the forgiveness until you’ve made 120 qualifying payments.

Sincerly,


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