Like many other institutions in the public sector, the Air Force has options to tackle student loans. They can opt to go under one of these repayment plans, which may also qualify them for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Aside from these, there are also benefits that an eligible individual may also acquire. These all depend on if they can gain eligibility.
The Specifics of Air Force Student Loan Repayment
The loan repayment program was one of the ways to encourage people to transition to the air force. There are differences when compared to Navy and Army benefits. The Air Force can provide a $10,000 maximum annual loan repayment a year. During your first year, they will pay around $1,500 or 33% of the remaining principal balance of the first year.
From then on, they will continue paying the debt until they reach the limit. While it isn’t a total repayment, unlike other offices, the $10,000 can go a long way towards helping pay the loan off quickly.
Those in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps have more opportunities for repayment. They can apply for up to $65,000, which the Air Force will pay directly to the lender. Those under JAG may also access income-based repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Plans. The eligible can also transfer some of their benefits to dependents.
There are only several types of loans that qualify for Air Force student loan repayment. The first qualification is that the student must have had a federal loan. The Air Force does not entertain repayment for private loans. Some examples of qualified loans include:
You must sign up for the repayment program during enlistment or risk missing out. The repayment plan also has some other requirements you need to follow:
- You must forego eligibility to post 911 GI bill benefits unless you serve for a minimum of six years.
- You must enlist with the Air Force for at least four years
- You should not have any military service on your record
Is The Repayment Plan Worth It?
One of the biggest concerns among many applying is the inability to receive post 911 GI Bill Benefits if you don’t serve for at least six years. Those who would want to take advantage of these advantages may need to indicate that they’re staying for longer or lose all those advantages. Applicants should also know that 28% of repayment goes to taxes, meaning that they will only get $7,200 of the total $10,000.
Service members can qualify for more benefits if they participate in specific missions. Some have gained up to $20,000 in benefits that go into student loan repayment.
Keep in mind, though, that Air Force Reserves do not qualify for any program or benefit unless they are on specific missions.
Putting It All Together
The best way to seek out Air Force student loan repayment is if you’re in a circumstance where you’re not under large debt. That way, the plan will have more of an impact. Those who’d want to serve under the force longer may want to take advantage of it.