Be forgiven for your student loan

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Be forgiven for your student loan

by: Kim Suchek | .
Stripes Guam | .
published: August 16, 2012

Hello Military Community,

This week I will be going over student loan forgiveness for service members. I have had a few inquiries about how to get your loans eliminated, forgiven, or discharged. Hopefully, I can answer a few of your questions or guide you in the right direction. The National Student Loan Forgiveness Program is for active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserves, who have Federal Stafford, SLS, PLUS, and Consolidation loans borrowed under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). What this means is you MAY get part or all of them forgiven.

Fighting to pay student loan bills can be a hardship these days, and I hope this program will be able to assist a few of you with your struggle. I, myself, wish I had heard of it back in the day when I was a police officer. I am still paying back my student loans!

Service members fall under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Under this program, members of the military who have been employed by the military or a qualifying public service job for the last 10 years may have their federal loans FULLY discharged. Public service qualifying occupations include: emergency management, military service, public safety, law enforcement, public interest law services, early childhood education (including licensed or regulated childcare, Head Start, and state-funded pre-kindergarten), public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly, public health (including nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health care support occupations), public education, public library services, school library or other school-based services.

You need to be employed in these positions full time, which is considered to be at least 30 hours a week or what the employer considers to be full time. The benefit of this program is it allows you to discharge your debt after it has been consolidated for a low payment. The way the program works is that after making 120 monthly and ON-TIME consolidated and reduced payments, your remaining balance will be forgiven.

Direct loan payments that qualify include the Income Based Repayment (IBR) Plan, Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan, Standard Repayment Plan with a 10-year repayment period, and any other Direct Loan Repayment Plans, but only payments that are at least equal to the monthly payment amount that would have been paid under the Standard Repayment Plan with a 10-year repayment period may be counted toward the required 120 monthly payments. And you may actually be able to have zero dollar loan payments count toward your required 120 payments! If you qualify for a zero monthly payment under the Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment Programs, then those payments, or lack thereof, will actually count.

If you helped to pay for college with a National Defense Student Loan, it may be partially discharged. Recipients of a National Direct Student Loan and Perkins Loan may receive partial cancellation of their loan for their service in the U.S. Armed Forces if his/her military service was for a full year in a hostile fire/imminent danger pay area. If you believe that you may qualify for cancellation of your loan(s) due to your military service as described above, you should send a copy of your DD214 (discharge form) and letter of explanation to the agency servicing your loan. For more information you can go to:

Also, I would like to remind service members that are deployed and have their student loans in “deferment” status that you need to request a “military deferment.” These are two separate things. A military deferment will keep any extra costs, fees and finance charges from being added to your account while you are deployed.
If you have any questions or if you have already been through this process, please write me and share your story. I would love to hear it. Best wishes from my family to yours.

Kim Suchek

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to share a story or situation, contact me at and visit my website for updated information and other Resources not listed in my book.

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