Federal Collaboration Raises Awareness of Zero Percent Interest Student Loan Benefit for Military Service
The Department of Defense is collaborating with the Departments of Education (ED) and Veterans Affairs to educate service members and veterans about a significant student loan benefit based on their military service. Federal law exempts members of the military from paying interest for up to 60 months on certain student loans while serving or having served in an area that qualifies them to receive hostile fire or imminent danger pay. Service members and veterans can also apply retroactively based on previous qualifying military service. This benefit applies to direct loans or a portion of a direct consolidation loan made on or after Oct. 1, 2008.
“The DOD is excited to collaborate with our federal partners to make sure members of the uniformed services are aware of this education benefit and know how to take advantage of it,” said Fred Drummond, deputy assistant secretary of defense for force education and training. “It’s also important for service members and veterans to know that if they overpaid student loan interest they can take action to get a refund.”
To build awareness of the benefit among military borrowers, the DOD joined forces with ED and the VA on a multifaceted communications campaign to reach service members and veterans, and their families, through a variety of platforms.
Taking advantage of this student loan benefit is simple and straightforward. Eligible active duty, National Guard, and Reserve service members and veterans can take these actions to avoid student loan interest:
1. Check your loan type and servicer by logging in to “My Federal Student Aid” at StudentAid.gov/login.
2. Contact your loan servicer to find out how to provide any of the following forms of proof:
· A leave and earnings statement showing receipt of hostile fire or imminent danger pay
· A certifying official’s statement and signature
· Military orders showing service in a hostile area
“This is a tremendous opportunity for military borrowers to save on education costs,” said Mr. Drummond. “We encourage service members, veterans, and their families to explore this benefit and use it to improve their financial readiness.”
Service members and families can also meet with an accredited personal financial manager or counselor for free financial counseling at their local installation’s Family Center.
For more information about the zero percent student loan interest benefit, review or visit the following:
· For Members of the U.S. Armed Forces: What you need to know about your federal student loan benefits brochure
· Follow the DOD Office of Financial Readiness on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram