I’m Active Duty Military and Was Told to Hold Off Paying My Student Loans


Dear Steve,

This is concerning student college loans… I enlisted in the Army Reserves in 1994, did not get the loan repayment option in my contract (nor did I know about it at the young age of 17).

I attended college, by use of unsubsidized Stafford Loans. Graduated college and have been serving active duty ever since. I was told by the education centers that a program will come along that might help me with the loans so hold off on paying them.

Bottom line, interest has accrued, minus the years I spent in combat zones. I’ve been paying on the loans for several years, but it seems I’m just paying the interest.

There doesn’t seem to be a federal program available that seems feasible. The loans are consolidated with Nelnet (worthless when it comes to advice or any type of assistance for that matter).

It’s simply ironic that a servicemember can spend two to three years in service and get $60+K for college, I have the GI Bill available to me or my family, but there isn’t anything available for a preexisting college loan… almost 25+years of military service… you would think I would have a program that would pay some of my exiting college loans.

What do you recommend for an active duty service member that has a preexisting college loan that doesn’t seem to qualify for any type of loan forgiveness? Loan originated about $22K, but with interest accrued over a decade, the loan currently has grown to $32K.



Dear Matt,

I hear you. The entire student loan issue is a cluster.

When people head off to college the financial aid offices seem to be more focused on selling butts into seats than providing good advice.

For example, if your student loans were Perkins federal loans then you would be eligible for 100 percent forgiveness after five years of military service.

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Since you have consolidated your loans, and I’m assuming these are federal loans, the local program to look at would be the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Under that program, you could be eligible for full forgiveness after 120 approved payments.

But the PSLF program has been under assault by the Trump Administration Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. The current administration has done everything they could it seems to deny forgiveness. They have changed the rules, altered promises, and denied more applications for forgiveness than anything else.

Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.

So the promise to servicemembers is “Active duty servicemembers (and veterans) meeting certain requirements may have the balance of their federal student loans forgiven after working in public service for ten years.” – Source

For details on the PSLF program, click here.

For the other side of the story, read “Federal student loan forgiveness program rejects almost everyone.”

The story says,”The first batch of teachers, nurses, military personnel and other public servants got to start applying for forgiveness two years ago, and the department, led by Betsy DeVos, rejected nearly 99 percent of them.”

“The Government Accountability Office report released Thursday found that of the more than 54,000 applications to the new program — named Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness — processed through May, only 661 were accepted.”

What the government promises, the government takes away.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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