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Student loan options for US military members, veterans
Military Service Deferment – During active duty and immediately following active duty, you can postpone your payments on federal and some private loans. This is usually offered during a war or similar military operations or national emergency. You can defer your monthly payment during active duty and for up to 180 days after you leave service.
Deferments After Active Duty – This option allows you to postpone repaying your student loans while you prepare to go back to school after serving in the military. It’s also available for federal and some private loans.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program – Under this program you could qualify to have the remaining balance of your Federal Direct Loans forgiven. This applies if you’re employed full-time in the military and after you’ve made at least 120 monthly payments. You must be working full-time at a qualifying government or nonprofit public service organization.
National Defense Student Loan Discharge – The Department of Defense may repay all or a portion of your student loans in certain circumstances. You would likely be considered eligible after serving a year of being deployed to a hostile fire area that puts you in imminent danger.
Veterans GI Bill – This program can help pay for your college, graduate school, and training programs. It’s strictly for veterans of the military and will cover some or all the costs for school.WHAT’S THE AVERAGE DEBT OF A GRADUATE STUDENT IN THE US?
Post-9/11 GI Bills – Full tuition and fees can be covered for you and your family members if you’re a veteran or current military personnel who served after 9/10/01.
Veterans Total and Permanent Disability Discharge – If you’re permanently disabled, under this program, you are not obligated to pay back some or all your student loans. The Department of Veterans Affairs said after identifying you as a qualified participant, they will send you a notice to inform you that your loans will be discharged in 60 days.
There’s also a push by attorneys general to forgive all the student debt accumulated by disabled veterans, as many don’t know about and don’t utilize the program.
To help lower student loan debt in general, experts advise borrowers to shop around for the best rates and compare private student loan and federal student loan rates.