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    How To Apply For An Army College Loan Repayment Program

     Army student Loan

    Many Americans are unaware that the Department of Defense provides multiple financial aid programs for military, army, and navy service members and their families. One such program that can help you get rid of your student debt quickly is the Army College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP).

    Read on to learn more about this initiative’s eligibility criteria and application process.

    Eligibility Criteria

    Service members are eligible for CLRP if they meet the following terms and conditions:

    • Must agree to a minimum of three years of service
    • Soldiers in the Army and Navy reserves or the Army and Air National Guard will have to enlist for a minimum of six years of service
    • Must have an LRP guaranteed in writing in their enlistment contract
    • Army members should have a high school diploma and receive an overall score of at least 50 on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
    • Must decline enrollment in writing using DD Form 2366
    • The College Loan Repayment Program needs to be stated in a soldier’s enlistment contract

    Applicant's Responsibility

    Listed below are the applicant’s primary responsibilities:

    • Service personnel must remain on active duty and be registered in the program
    • Existing lending products mustn’t be in default. Moreover, the applicant will be responsible for paying the fees and any accrued interest
    • The debt payments must be made directly to the lender and won’t be considered taxable income. Additionally, no repayments need to be made until the applicant completes one year of service

    Loans That Qualify For CLRP

    To qualify for the CLRP, you must’ve acquired your lending product before joining the military. The following financing types qualify for the College Loan Repayment Program:

    • Auxiliary Loan Assistance for Students (ALAS)
    • Stafford Student Loan
    • Parental Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
    • Consolidated Loan Program
    • Federally Insured Student Loans (FISL)
    • Perkins Loan
    • Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS)

    Award Limits

    The award limits on CLRP depends on the military branch you’re enlisted in and whether you’re on active duty or in reserves. Here’s an overview of the funding limits:

    • Army: Active army members can be eligible for up to $65,000 in student debt repayment assistance
    • Army Reserves: Army reserves may receive up to $20,000 for an enlistment of at least six years
    • Navy: Navy members will receive up to $65,000 with at least four years of service after enrollment
    • Navy Reserves: The Navy reserve receives the same benefit as the Army reserve except the lifetime benefit is capped at $10,000
    • Marines: There’s no CLRP for marines
    • National Guard: National Guard members can receive an award limit up to $50,000 if they enlist for at least six years

    The GI Bill And CLRP

    This is an important aspect to consider before you enlist. No active-duty member seeking CLRP is eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill for the same enlistment period. Active duty members can participate in the GI Bill during the enlistment period, even if they have used CLRP in their first enlistment. However, members aren’t allowed to use the GI Bill until after 30 months into the second enlistment. 

    These provisions aren’t applicable to members of the Reserve and National Guard, who can use the Reserve Montgomery GI Bill and the CLRP during the same enlistment period.

    Disbursal Process

    CLRP loan forgiveness awards don’t come directly to the student. Instead, they’re issued to the lender in the student’s name. Basically, instead of getting a check, the funds are directly issued to whoever services your student lending product.

    After you enlist and have CLRP written into the service contract, the lender will start receiving the payments from the Federal government after the completion of each year of your service, as provisioned in the contract.

    Bottom Line

    If you’re looking forward to joining the Army, Navy, or the Air Force, you must consider the College Loan Repayment Program. Once you meet the eligibility requirements and have a qualifying lending product, enlisting for this program can help you lower your student debt substantially.

    Do your research and make sure you understand the contract agreement before enlisting so you know what your responsibilities will be once you get selected for the program.