Servicemember Support—We're Here for You
As a servicemember, you help to serve and protect our country. We appreciate everything you do–and now it's our turn to support you. We'll help you understand the many benefits you can apply for that can help you repay your student loans. If you have additional questions about managing your loans, please call our specialized military support team at (877) 253-1928, or email us at email@example.com.
Take Advantage of Servicemember Benefits
Your military service may qualify you for one of these loan forgiveness opportunities.
Members of the military may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
- Only federal Direct loans are eligible.
- You must be employed full-time at a qualifying government agency or nonprofit organization. If you are a contractor, your employment doesn't count toward PSLF unless you are directly employed by a qualifying employer. If you are employed in more than one qualifying part-time job at the same time, you will be considered full-time if you work a combined average of at least 30 hours per week with your employers.
- You must make 120 on-time qualifying payments or the equivalent (or receive credit for payments).
- You must be in a qualifying repayment plan. (e.g., Revised Pay As You Earn, Income-Based Repayment, Pay As You Earn, or Income-Contingent Repayment Plans.)
*Important Limited PSLF Waiver: On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education's office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) announced a temporary period during which borrowers may receive credit for payments that previously did not qualify for PSLF. This change will apply to student loan borrowers with Direct Loans, those who have already consolidated into the Direct Loan Program, and those who consolidate into the Direct Loan Program by October 31, 2022.
Under the waiver, FSA will also be updating borrower accounts (with additional credit for payments) to include periods of deferment and forbearance for specific military related service in the eligible PSLF repayment period counts.
If you are unable to work because of a total and permanent disability, you may be eligible for a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge of your Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), Perkins Loans, Direct Loans, or Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant service obligation.
A borrower may be considered totally and permanently disabled in one of the following three ways (additional details apply):
- The Total and Permanent Disability servicer regularly receives information from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) identifying veterans who may qualify for TPD discharge.
- The Total and Permanent Disability servicer regularly receives information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) identifying individuals who may qualify for TPD discharge.
- You can submit a certification from a doctor of medicine (M.D.) or osteopathy (D.O.) who is licensed to practice in the United States that you are totally and permanently disabled.
For more information on how to apply for TPD discharge or to check the status of your application, you can sign up and create an account on DisabilityDischarge.com or call (888) 303-7818 for assistance.
You can also visit StudentAid.gov for more information on the TPD discharge process.
Interest Rate Reductions
Servicemembers may be eligible for one or both of these interest rate reductions while on active duty.
SCRA offers a 6% maximum interest rate and waived late fees for borrowers on active duty. In most cases, the SCRA benefit begins on your first day of active duty, and expires when you're no longer on active duty. In many cases, eligible servicemembers aren't assessed late fees while receiving this benefit.
We check the U.S. Department of Defense database of active duty servicemembers each month to identify our student loan borrowers who are on active duty. We then apply the SCRA benefit to the servicemembers' federal student loans serviced by Great Lakes. If you are on active duty and don't see benefits applied to your loans, contact us. It's possible that the website doesn't reflect your active duty status.
- Loans must have been disbursed prior to active duty start date.
- Active duty start date must be confirmed either via the U.S. Department of Defense database or by submitting a copy of your orders.
Did You Know?
SCRA benefits for members of the National Guard or Reserves begin as of the notification listed on your orders. We can only apply the benefit from the notification date if you've provided your orders to us.
If you think you qualify for the extended benefit, please send us your orders to ensure that you get all of the benefits you're entitled to.
Zero percent interest may be available to servicemembers serving in hostile areas who are receiving special pay. If you're eligible, you won't pay any interest on your qualifying Direct loans for up to 60 months.
- Only federal Direct loans made on or after October 1, 2008 are eligible.
- Proof of deployment in a hostile area. Acceptable documents are a certifying official's statement and signature, military orders showing that you're serving in a hostile area, or a leave and earnings statement showing that you are receiving hostile pay.
Reduce Your Payments
You may be able to reduce your federal loan payments through an income-driven repayment plans. Learn more about repayment options.
Qualifying borrowers may be eligible to extend their Income-Based Repayment plan amount verbally based on provisions within the HEROES Act Waiver.
- Eligible service members can renew their current IDR plan up to 90 days after their end date, or a maximum of one year (whichever is less).
- Eligible non-service members can renew their current IDR plan for up to one year from the qualifying event.
Borrowers will need to contact our military helpline at (877) 253-1928 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You're serving on active duty during a war, other military operation, or national emergency.
- You're performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war, other military operation, or national emergency.
- You're residing or employed in an area declared a disaster area by any federal, state, or local official in connection with a national emergency.
- You have suffered direct economic hardship as a result of a war or other military operation or national emergency, as determined by the U.S. Department of Education.
Temporarily Postpone Your Payments
Deferment and forbearance options are available to temporarily postpone your federal loan payments while serving in the military. If you choose to postpone your payments, keep in mind that the unpaid interest on your loans may capitalize, or be added to your principal balance, when you resume repayment. If you need lower payments, an income-driven repayment plan may be a good option.
The federal government pays the interest for you on eligible subsidized loans for the duration of your deferment, but keep in mind you're responsible for interest that accrues on all other types of loans. You're responsible for interest that accrues on all loans during forbearance.
Military Service deferment temporarily postpones your monthly payments while you're on qualifying active duty.
- You must be serving during a war, military operation, or national emergency.
- You must be assigned to a duty station other than your normal station.
- Only federal loans are eligible.
If you're called to active duty while you're in school, you may be eligible to take advantage of the Post Active Duty Student deferment. If you're eligible, you won't be required to make payments for a maximum of 13 months after the end of your active duty service.
- You must be called to federal or state duty while you are enrolled in school.
National Guard Duty Mandatory forbearance is available to some members of the National Guard.
- You aren't eligible for the Military Service deferment, but are called to State active duty that qualifies you for the Post-Active Duty Student deferment.
- You must have been activated to National Guard duty within six months of being enrolled in school at least half time.
- Only federal loans are eligible.
Department of Defense Loan Repayment Program Mandatory forbearance is available to servicemembers who are performing the type of service that qualifies for partial repayment of student loans under the Department of Defense Loan Repayment Program.
- Eligibility varies by agency. Talk to your commanding officer to find out if you are eligible.
- Only federal loans are eligible.
- If you're waiting for a military student loan payment to go through, you can temporarily postpone your payments by applying for this forbearance.
Manage Your Account During Active Duty
It's important to keep in touch with Great Lakes, and any other student loan servicers you may have, while you're on active duty.
- Update your contact information, including your email address, so we can get in touch with you about your student loans.
- Authorize a trusted person to manage your account. This might include designating a Power of Attorney who can sign documents and act on your behalf to manage your student loans.
- If you're on active duty but are unable to send us documentation right away, contact us. If you can't call or email, have a trusted friend or family member contact us on your behalf. We can help!
Benefits to Help Pay for Your Education
If you or your dependents are interested in pursuing higher education, there are benefits that can help pay for school.
|ROTC||Each branch offers merit scholarships. Find your branch's scholarships: Army, Air Force, Navy, or Marine.|
|Montgomery GI Bill||Monthly education benefits.|
|Post-9/11 GI Bill||Financial support for education if you've served at least 90 days since 9/10/2001.|
|Pell Grant||Additional Pell grant funds for eligible students who've lost a parent or guardian as a result of their service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.|
|Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant||Grant funds for students who are not eligible for a Pell grant and have lost a parent or guardian as a result of their service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.|
More Resources for Active Duty Servicemembers
You can find more tips and advice as you manage your student loans in a free brochure developed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Title IV student loan servicers.
More information about all of the benefits available to servicemembers, not just federal student loan benefits, is available from the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers.
Military OneSource offers answers to military life questions you didn't even know to ask. It's a central hub and a go-to-place for the military community.
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