Army National Guard Pauses Student Loan Repayment Benefits
Education benefits are one of the most powerful incentives to join the military. Army Times reports that the GI Bill and individual branches of service versions of student loan repayment plans are benefits viewed almost as important as drawing a regular paycheck. But for some that benefit isn’t being paid as expected.
For some members of the Army National Guard, some education benefits are being “paused” due to budget concerns.
The duration of the pause and whether it may spread to other military services’ student loan repayment benefits is unclear at press time.
Temporary Suspension of Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)
The Army National Guard has temporarily suspended the Student Loan Repayment Program, saying that payments owed between fiscal years 2020 and 2022 are part of that suspension. Insufficient funding was the reason given.
Attempts to “realign funding” for the program are underway at press time. There is no end date for the pause available at press time.
What is SLRP?
That depends on where you look. In general, the Student Loan Repayment Program is an agreement between the Army National Guard and the soldier to have the Guard pay a portion of the soldier’s student loans in exchange for a longer military contract.
The Army National Guard hosts two SLRP official pages. One page describes SLRP as an option “that may be available to Soldiers and officer candidates (09S) who have one or more qualifying and disbursed Title IV federal loan(s).”
Not all student loans qualify for this repayment program, but for those that do qualify, SLRP is offered as an incentive to enlist or re-enlist, paying off a portion of the soldier’s student loans up to an annual cap or a lifetime cap. How much can you qualify for?
One Army SLRP page says, “Repayments for SLRP incentive contracts issued will not exceed the maximum authorized cap of $50,000 established by the Department of the Army.”
A separate and more detailed Army Guard page states, “Payments for SLRP/09S incentive contracts issued under this policy will not exceed $7,500 for each anniversary year of the incentive term.”
Eligibility requirements include the following:
- Enlist/Extend for a minimum six-year term of service.
- Meet additional eligibility criteria outlined in the annual ARNG Selected Reserve Incentives Program Policy.
The more detailed Army National Guard Page on SLRP notes the six-year service commitment but makes important distinctions between the requirements for prior-service SLRP and the benefit offered to those who joined the Army National Guard without first serving on active duty.
The two pages don’t seem to contradict one another directly, but there is greater detail at this official page about SLRP benefits.
What to Know About SLRP Benefits
- Only student loans listed on the Department of Education National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) aid summary website are eligible for this repayment program.
- Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) “for individual use only” are eligible for repayment.
- State loans and private student loans are not eligible for repayment under SLRP.
Some sources note that the Army National Guard may have suspended the program temporarily but has not stopped entering into student loan repayment plan agreements with new recruits.
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.