Air Force CLRP Program Cancelled?
(Updated July, 2016)
I’ve got terrible news… if the reports I’ve recently received are correct, then this program has been entirely defunded. While the Air Force’s website still maintains that they’re offering CLRP, several people have contacted me to tell me that Air Force Recruiters are now telling enlistees that the information is “wrong”, and that the website needs to be updated. The rest of this page’s content is speculative now, operating under the assumption that the program is NOT actually cancelled, and being left her in case the program returns again in the near future.
Air Force CLRP Benefits
In 2016, the Air Force’s College Loan Repayment Program is nowhere near as valuable as the Army CLRP program or Navy SLRP benefits, but it does provide up to $10,000 of annual loan repayments to help you pay back outstanding student loan debt, and it still appears to be fully funded for the year.
The Air Force CLRP program was created to serve as an enlistment incentive to encourage people to join up during a time when the armed forces have been having trouble recruiting top prospects.
Air Force student loan repayments are provided in annual installments, with payments of 33.33% or $1,500 (whichever is greater) of your debt paid off for each year of service that you complete.
Once you’ve received $10,000 in total loan repayments, you won’t be eligible to receive any more CLRP assistance, but still, $10,000 is some pretty serious coin.
It’s hard to find information about this program, and the Air Force website doesn’t provide much assistance either, as they want you to speak to a recruiter to get the details.
We’ve done our own research and outlined the basics below so that you can go into those conversations with an idea of what to expect.
First off, you have to sign up for the CLRP program within the initial enlistment contract paperwork that you sign when joining the Air Force.
Your recruiter needs to make it perfectly clear within your paperwork that you are doing this, and if it isn’t in writing on your forms then you will not be allowed to receive benefits, so make sure to do that right up front.
In addition, you can only qualify for these benefits if you:
- Have no prior military service
- Agree to enlist for at least four years
- Forfeit your eligibility to Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits (unless you enlist for an extended service contract of at least 6 years)
Not all student loans are eligible to receive CLRP benefits, and in fact, any private loan will not be repaid by the Air Force.
To qualify for the program, you must have a public-funded federal loan. Each of the following loans qualify for the program, though this is not an exhaustive list of what’s eligible:
- Stafford Loans
- Perkins Loans
- Auxiliary Loan Assistance for Students (ALAS loans)
- Parents Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS loans)
- Federally Insured Student Loans (FISL loans)
The biggest drawback to participating in the Air Force CLRP program is that you won’t be able to receive both the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits and CLRP benefits for a single term of service, unless you agree to sign up for a much longer term (6 years is the minimum enlistment committment to qualify for both programs).
Since the CLRP program only offers $10,000, it’s really not worth it, as Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits can be worth substantially more.
Airmen enlisting in the Air Force Reserves aren’t eligible (at this time) to receive CLRP program benefits.
Air Force Reserves enlistees, however, are eligible if they’re joining up for specific missions that have been deemed to be in shortage at the time of their joining, and they may actually be eligible to receive up to $20,000 in CLRP benefits, which is more than regular duty Airmen can receive!
You will have to pay taxes on student loan repayment funds that you receive from this program.
28% of your repayments will be immediately transferred to the IRS on your behalf, so you won’t have to deal with filling out the forms and such, but instead of receiving $10,000 in total loan repayments, you’ll actually only get $7,200.
Get More Information
To get the details about this program from the horse’s mouth, find your way to the Air Force’s official enlisted education benefits page (or click here) and then follow their link to “Chat with an Air Force adviser”.
Be sure to check out my Guide to Military Education Benefits, where you can find out about other valuable benefits programs and packages offered to military personnel.
If you found the content on this page useful, then please help me out by spreading the word that it exists!
Post this page to Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ to let your friends and family know about the Air Force LRP Program, and you’ll be helping to ensure that it remains fully funded for years to come.
The more people who are aware of these benefits, the more will sign up for the program, and the harder time Congress will have de-funding it!
Thank you for your support, and please be sure to stop by again soon.