Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) have proposed a bill seeking to ease military members’ journey towards student loan forgiveness. Currently, there are over 3 million people who serve in the armed forces. Still, as of January last year, only 124 military members had their student loans forgiven under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
The new act seeks to forgive student loans for military members.
The legislators introduced the Recognizing Military Service in PSLF Act on Thursday. The act seeks to assist military borrowers in leveraging the PSLF program by counting student loan forbearance or deferment during deployment. Military members will count their deployment periods as qualifying payments to PSLF, which will count towards loan forgiveness. The program enables non-profit and government employees with government student loans to apply for forgiveness after 120 monthly payments as per a qualifying repayment plan if working full-time in the public service.
The number of military members whose loans were forgiven last year is around 9% of the service members who applied for loan forgiveness under the PSLF program. A Government Accountability Office report indicated that 1,410 military members have applied for debt forgiveness under the program.
Interestingly to qualify for debt cancellation under the PSLF, the borrower needs to have the right kind of student loan repayment program since not every program is eligible. One should be working in the right public service job type. However, some non-profit employment will not be eligible. To qualify, you should have made ten years of monthly repayments with the right kind of federal student loan.
Only 124 military members received loan forgiveness
Out of the 124 members who received loan forgiveness, 37 were from the Navy, 34 from the Army, 11 Marine Corps, and 42 from the Air Force. Overall there were 287 Department of Defence employees whose loans were forgiven under PSLF.
Senator Rubio said that currently, active military members who halt student loan repayment during deployment are disadvantaged from benefiting from the PSLF. This shouldn’t be the case considering the sacrifices they make for the country.