The Air Force SLRP Program Remains Cancelled
(Updated May, 2017)
Bad news to everyone still waiting on any sign that the Air Force Student Loan Repayment Program is getting brought back to life; there still appears to be no plan to reinstate these benefits.
I guess the need for Airmen remains low enough that the Air Force doesn’t feel they have to offer student loan forgiveness benefits in order to get new enlistees, and I don’t think anyone should be crossing their fingers or holding their breath to wait for it’s reintroduction.
However, there may still be one place where the benefit remains available, and that’s with the Air Force’s JAG personnel.
On the JAG recruiting FAQ page, it clearly states that they offer the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) benefit, with up to $65,000 in repayments made over a three-year period in annual installments.
Copy of the Air Force JAG’s FAQ: Promising SLRP Benefits
What is the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)?
The SLRP pays up to $65,000 over a three-year period. Three annual payments are made in equal portions directly to your lender, and the first payment occurs at the completion of your first year of service. Payments are taxable.
I’ve personally contacted the JAG’s Chief of Recruiting and verified that this benefit is still on offer to eligible candidates, so if you’ve really got to get some help with your loans and you’d like to serve in the Air Force, then you’ll want to consider applying to JAG.
Also, on another positive note, the Air Force Tuition Assistance Program remains fully-funded, so there’s still a great higher education benefit to enlisting as an Airmen.
And finally, I’m also still holding out hope that President Trump’s Student Loan Debt Plans may include additional forgiveness and repayment benefits, including a substantial boost to Military Education Benefits, which could mean a reinstatement of the Air Force SLRP benefit.
Need Help Paying Off Your Loans?
Let me give you a quick word of advice: the best way to get rid of your student loan debt in 2017 is to forget about the Federal Student Loan Relief Programs on offer, and instead to challenge the validity of your loans.
I recommend that everyone with student loan debt attempt to qualify for a Borrowers Defense Against Repayment Discharge, which lets you wipe out your loans if you can prove that your school or servicer has broken an applicable State or Federal law.
The easiest way to get your debt discharged via the Borrowers Defense to Repayment Program is by proving that you were promised something that the school, or your servicer, couldn’t possibly deliver, meaning that they committed a form of false advertising by promising you a set salary, a management position, guaranteed job placement, or some other thing that they didn’t follow through with.
Millions of Americans are qualifying for forgiveness benefits via this program, and successfully using it to discharge their loans, but the trick to the program is that it requires some fancy legal writing..
My recommendation on getting your Borrowers Defense Against Repayment letter approved is to pay a professional service to help you prepare it, but instead of spending thousands with an attorney, I recommend contacting either the Federal Student Loan Relief Helpline, or the Private Student Loan Relief Helpline instead.
These services are staffed by student loan debt experts who can tell you whether or not you’re likely to qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment discharge, and who can handle all the paperwork for you, for a fee.
Your first call to either Helpline is free, so you have nothing to lose by calling them up, explaining your situation and asking if they think you could qualify for the discharge. It’s only if you agree to let them pursue the discharge on your behalf that you’ll start being charged, so you’ve got nothing to lose but a few minutes of your time!
To reach the Federal Student Loan Relief Helpline, call 1-888-906-3065
To reach the Private Student Loan Relief Helpline, call 1-866-530-9946
Other Paths to Getting Debt Free
If you’re one of the lucky people who has their loans serviced by Navient, or who attended ITT Tech, DeVry or a Corinthian Colleges school (Wyotech, Everest, Corinthian, etc.), then I’ve got great news: you may have a good shot at getting your loans forgiven!
All three of the schools mentioned above are currently offering excellent Student Loan Forgiveness Benefits, with all programs covering Federal loans, and some even offering financial assistance for private debt.
For details on how to take advantage of these programs, please visit my pages on the Navient Student Loan Forgiveness Program, as well as my pages for student loan forgiveness benefits from ITT Tech, DeVry, and Corinthian Colleges.
Air Force Student Loan Repayment Program Shutting Down
(Updated July, 2016)
Bad 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.
[Editor’s Note: This program is definitely defunded. You will not be able to qualify for or receive any form of Air Force SLRP unless the Air Force reinstates the benefit. As of Summer, 2017, it’s definitely not on offer, and I’ve seen no signs that it is going to come back soon.]
Air Force CLRP Benefits
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.
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