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What student loan relief exists for active-duty members of the military?

If you currently serve on active-duty, you may be eligible to have your interest rate lowered to 6% on all student loans taken out prior to your military service. Moreover, if you serve on active-duty in the military and/or another public service position for a total of 10 years, then you may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

There are several forms of student loan relief available to active-duty servicemembers and National Guard members activated under federal orders, and they vary based on military status and circumstance. Some of these benefits are retroactive.

To obtain an interest rate reduction of your student loans to 6 percent under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), contact your student loan servicer and ask about this option directly. For private student loans you may need to send a written request to your servicer and provide them with a copy of the orders calling you to active duty. You can submit your request anytime during your active-duty service and up to 180 days after leaving service. For federal student loans, this is automatic. If you have federal student loans and have not received this benefit and believe you are eligible for it, contact your servicer. The CFPB has a template SCRA letter that you can modify and use to contact your loan servicer.

If you plan to work in the military or another area of public service for 10 years and you have federal loans, you likely qualify for an income-driven repayment plan and loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. For borrowers with federal student loans, income-drive repayment plans are some of the best options for repaying your debt since the amount you owe each month is tied to your income and family size.

You may also qualify for loan deferment, forbearance, cancellation, suspension of interest accrual , or other relief on federal student loans during active-duty military service. Whether such relief is available to you will depend on the nature of your service and the type of loan you have.

If you need help with your SCRA rights, contact your closest legal assistance (JAG) office for assistance. If you need help applying to the PSLF program, use the PSLF Help Tool or get free help from your closest personal financial counselor .