The National Guard Student Loan Repayment Program

National Guard SLRP Benefits

In 2017, the National Guard continues to provide some excellent education benefits to new enlistees, with the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) being one of the very best programs on offer.

National Guard SLRP benefits are available to both Officers and enlisted personnel, and as of this year, this program offers up to $50,000 in total student loan forgiveness.



Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility guidelines are different for non-prior service Soldiers and those who have previously served in the Armed Forces, and the Army National Guard has it’s own entirely different eligibility guidelines as well.

Here’s a breakdown of how to qualify for the National Guard student loan repayment program in 2016:

Prior Service Soldiers:

If you are a Prior Service Soldier, you are eligible for SLRP benefits when you enlist if you meet these requirements:

  • You must enlist for at least six years
  • You must enlist or affiliate at the grade of E-7 or lower
  • You must enlist or affiliate into a qualified position within an MTO unit (“go to war” units) or Medical TDA unit
  • You must have previously completed Army or USMC Basic Combat Training, or you must complete Army Basic Combat Training within 365 days of enlisting, if you previously served within the Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard. Only if you served in Special Operations units within the USAF or USN can you get out of this requirement
  • You must have no more than 14 years total service when you enlist or affiliate
  • You must be Duty Military Occupational Specialty Qualified (DMOSQ) for your ARNG position
  • You must not have received student loan repayment program benefits in your previous military career
  • You must not have previously received a GRFD ROTC scholarship
  • You must not be enlisting for OCS as a 095 candidate, or as a 09R SMP cadet (unless you’re taking advantage of the 095 SLRP option)
  • You must have scored at least 31 on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT)
  • You must not be enlisting under the provisions of a conditional release from a Select Reserve component, unless you’re doing so from USAR

Non-Prior Service (NPS) Soldiers:

If you are an NPS Soldier, you will be eligible for SLRP benefits when you enlist if you meet these requirements:

  • You must enlist for at least six years
  • You must enlist for a critical skills (CS) vacancy, at or below the grade of E-4
  • You must enlist for a qualified position within an MTOE unit (“go to war” units) or Medical TDA unit
  • You must score at least 50 on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT)
  • You must not also be enlisting in the 09R Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP)
  • You must not also be enlisting in the RFP, Active First or GED Plus Programs
  • You must not also be enlisting as a Glossary Non-Prior Service (GNPS)

Current Army National Guard Members:

If you are already an ARNG member, you are eligible for SLRP benefits if you re-enlist and meet these requirements:

  • You must meet all reenlistment or extension eligibility criteria
  • You must extend within 365-91 days of your ETS for a minimum six years of service
  • You must reenlist or textend at the grade of E-7 or below (though you can accept promotions to E-8 after your contract start date, and still remain qualified to receive SLRP benefits)
  • You must be Duty Military Occupational Specialty Qualified (DMOSQ) for your position
  • You must have no more than 14 years total service by the date of your current ETS
  • You must not be in Mil-Tech status or be a Mil-Tech Soldier in a TPU status while deployed
  • You must not be in AGR status or be an AGR Soldier in a TPU status while deployed
  • You must not be an officer who contracted for this incentive while you were an enlisted applicant (no double-dipping)

Loan Forgiveness Rates

  • Loan Forgiveness Rates are set based upon when you joined the National Guard. As you can see, those who joined more recently have access to substantially better benefits (remember, better benefits are offered when the Guard has trouble with recruiting, and recruiting is tough to sustain during periods of war).
  • The maximum amount you can receive in loan forgiveness is $50,000, and you cannot receive any more than the amount designated in the Maximum Annual Payment column above each year. Based on the data, you will need to serve nearly 7 years to earn forgiveness of $50,000.
  • You must have earned Duty Military Occupational Specialty Qualification before you can start receiving any loan repayment benefits. You will not be considered DMOSQ, and thus will not receive any loan repayments, until you’ve completed your Basic Combat Training (BCT), unless you joined under the 095 SLRP enlistment option.

Program Restrictions

  • To receive loan repayment benefits, you must have at least one qualifying and disbursed Title IV federal loan that is not in default at the time you enlisted, re-enlisted, or extended your enlistment contract. You loan had to have been disbursed prior to the date you enlisted, affiliated, re-enlisted or extended your service contract.
  • You can only receive loan repayment benefits on a loan that was disbursed after your enlistment date if you are re-enlisting or extending your service contract for at least six years in the ARNG and have not taken a break in service from the original SLRP contract start date.
  • Annual repayments can not exceed 15% or $500 (whichever is greater) of the amount that you owed on your eligible loans at the time of your enlistment, affiliate, re-enlistment or extension of your service contract, and enrollment in the SLRP program.
  • If you owe less than the amount that is to be given to you in any given year, you will only be eligible to receive the amount left on your loan. You cannot qualify to receive more repayment dollars than you actually owe.
  • Prorated payments will not be offered for separations from service that did not complete at least an entire year of satisfactory participation in the ARNG, or for acceptance of an AGR or Mil-Tech position (including indefinite technicians and temporary technicians on assignment for more than 189 days in any continues 12 month period). Basically, you must remain in a “go to war” unit.
  • Repayments will be cancelled if, at any point in time, your loan goes into default.
  • Repayments may be available for loans that are in default on the same day the following year, but only if the loan is no longer in default at that time. If the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) reports that your loan is in default, you will not receive any repayment benefits unless you can provide a written statement from your lender proving that it is not in default.
  • Lender information will be checked each year to make sure that it matches whatever was reported in the NSLDS documents. NSLDS documents cannot be more than 90 days old from the scheduled anniversary payment date, or not payment will be made on your behalf. It is your responsibility to make sure that updated documents are delivered on time.
  • You cannot receive SLRP benefits for any payments that are already made by you, or by anyone on your behalf. SLRP payments will only be distributed to your lender, not to you.
  • If you have any break in serve, for any reason, you will be permanently disqualified from SLRP eligibility, unless the break is an authorized period of non-availability. Soldiers with more than one authorized break in service, however, will be terminated from eligibility without any recoupment offered.
  • Army Medical Department (AMEDD) officers who have received SLRP benefits will have them terminated without recoupment immediately if they are appointed to an AMEDD corps or branch, except for MOS 67J, 70B and 72D.
  • If you choose a service contract extension of anything less than six years, your eligibility to receive SLRP benefits will be immediately terminated.

For Additional Details

If you still have questions about National Guard SLRP, please contact your recruiter, state Point of Contact, or your state’s Education Services Officer (ESO) to have them answered.

To get details on other military benefits packages created to help reduce the costs of your education, make sure to check out our Military Education Benefits Guide.

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Tim's experience struggling with crushing student loan debt led him to create the website Forget Student Loan Debt, where he offers advice on paying off student loans as quickly, and cheaply, as possible. His new website Forget Tax Debt, offers similar advice to people with back tax problems.

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Comments

  1. Can’t I get get SLRP if I am a current Army National Guard member with less than 13 years prior service and get it in my contract when I reenlist?

  2. I have just enlisted as an 09s with SLRP. My lender is advising that i go to an income based repayment plan. If i refinance under the income based plan will my loans still be SLRP eligible? Does a refinance count as a disbursement?

    • Hi Daniel,

      When you change repayment plans, you aren’t refinancing. If you refinance, you’re going to risk losing all Federal loan benefits.

      My advice? Do NOT refinance your loans, but DO change to an income-based repayment plan. The best currently available Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans are Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and REPAYE.

      If your loans are newer than 2007, then you may qualify for PAYE, and should pick it. If your loans are older, or if you don’t qualify for PAYE because of some other eligibilty conditions, then get on REPAYE.

  3. I enlisted as a 09S and signed up to receive SLRP. I also want to get enrolled into a Master’s program. Can I receive SLRP and Tuition Assistance at the same time?

  4. chris yeziao says:

    Hi,
    I joined the national guard in march 2016, and i am enrolled in slrp. they told me that i have to make my monthly payment and they will pay 12% each year and they didn’t give me more information. Can you explain to me how it works exactly?
    Thanks!

  5. Nathan Harris says:

    Hi my name is Nathan Harris. I am a specialist in the U.S. Army National Guard and I have 16 years of service with the National Guard. I have just recently signed up for six more years of service with the National Guard. I applied for the repayment program and was denied because I exceed 14 years of service . My feelings are this you should not have any regulations denying a soldier who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for his/her country. I am also considered a veteran based on completed a tour in 2003-2004 for OEF. It’s very disheartening to be denied benefits that should eligible regardless of years serve. If you are in good standing you should eligible and your education counselor should make the best effort to help you as well.

  6. Dennis Granger says:

    My son is in the Army National Guard, his MOS was in concrete, asphalt and he was in a Engineering Battalion….My son volunteered to go to Afghanastan when one of the other guy had to stay back home.Student Loan company started calling this month about his loans.. The guy with the Army National Guard told me that my son was suppose to have had his MOS changed and approved prior to go over to war…said it was in his contract.He said nobody ever said anything to him about that….My son went to Afghanistan to serve his country and now they want to take his SLRP away from him because of a minor technical error…He has called and spoke to several people trying to get this resulved..But his heart is broken …My son volunteers for everything that comes along, but the Army Guard has not lived up to their word to him as I have gone with him and heard those things…Any help would be appreciated to help him to resolved this problem

    • Hi Dennis,

      Honestly, I would recommend contacting an attorney to get legal help with this issue. It’s a sad fact, but the military ties to pull all sorts of bullshit and weasel their way out of paying benefits that have been fully earned.

      One thing you could try (before spending money on it) is to contact the Student Loan Ombudsman Group, which is a group or lawyers that offer free consulting and legal assistance to people struggling with Federal student loan problems.

      Find their contact information here.

  7. Hi Tim
    I’m looking into joining the ANG or NG as a ‘Chaplain’.. would I qualify for the SLRP?
    It truly seems like a great program once everything gets worked out.
    And – is there a military branch like the army where folks are “not” having issues with their SLRP?

    Thanks so much for helping folks on this site and for the great assistance with everyone, it’s been
    Stellar!!

    • Hi Brand,

      You’ll need to speak with a recruiter to get the latest info on which missions qualify. They don’t do a good enough job of keeping their website fully updated for me to have perfectly accurate information.

      Thanks for visiting and thank you for volunteering to serve your country!

  8. I have been in seven years….. I have went through 3 admin NCO’s and have submitted my paperwork every year… I even extended a year and was reassured they would put extra effort into figuring it out. I ONCE HAD A Major help push it with no avail. I am looking into finding a lawyer for this matter. I WARN EVERYONE THINKING THIS WILL SAVE YOUR DEBT. IT WON’T AND YOU WILL BE STUCK IN THE SERVICE PAYING OFF YOUR OWN LOANS!

  9. Tim,

    I just need a bit of clarification regarding eligibility. I am an officer that commissioned last year into the guard so I still have 7 years left on my contract. I owe about 30k total that’s completely federal. Once I finishmy duty mos school, am I eligible for this program? Also, if eligible, do I make these payments and then receive acheck back, or does the ARNG just directly pay the loans for me? Thanks for.your help!

    Ryan

    • Hi Ryan,

      All of the LRP programs are supposed to work where you pay the loan, then get a reimbursement from the military, so you will need to keep making your payments.

      On eligibility, were you prior service, or is this your first time in the military? There’s different rules for prior service and non prior service personnel.

      Also, I don’t want to steer you the wrong direction, and I am not an official representative for this, so you would be better off contacting your state’s Education Services Officers with your question. They will be able to give you an authoritative answer. You can find a list of them here.

  10. I am having the same problem as others. I put in my paper work over two years ago and from that time until present I have been getting the runaround. I was told at one point that the form I used to submit for payment was obsolete and that I would new to use the new version. When I submitted the new form I still did not get paid on time.
    The real issue is that the Government is broke. Government representatives are making false promises to People to get them to sign contracts which they have no intention to fulfill. They are using stalling tactics and other schemes to defraud as many soldiers as they can. Sure some soldiers are getting paid but that is just to make it look like they are paying people.

    • Brian,

      I think you’re close to the truth, but not dead-on. The Government is definitely broke, but I don’t think they’re stalling because they don’t have the money to pay out these military benefits. The money is there – the problem is the system, and the people who run it.

      The red tape is so thick, and the people managing these programs so overworked (but also lazy and oftentimes essentially incompetent) that it’s impossible to get them to DO anything about fulfilling their promises.

      No one gets fired because your benefits are late, or because you fall between the cracks. No one misses promotions. No one fails to get a raise. There are no repercussions at all for incompetence!

      Please try contacting the Student Loan Ombudsman Group (1-877-557-2575) to see if they can help you get through this process with some sort of legal procedures. I have recommended this to others in the same situation, and asked them to report back to let me know if the assistance worked or not, but never heard anything yet.

      PLEASE let me know if they are able to help you out, or if they aren’t. I would love to find a working solution for people like you because I get this question at least a couple times a month and I hate not knowing for sure whether I’m sending people in the right direction.

      One last thing – thank you for your service. I hope you get everything worked out quickly.

  11. I’m in the ARNG and have SLRP in my contract. It took my unit nearly 6 months after my first year anniversary to get me the DD 2475’s to send to my loan servicer. Now it’s been over 6 months since all of those documents have been turned in and still no payment. My second anniversary was a couple of months ago. I turned in all of the NSLDS paperwork prior to my second anniversary but my unit still has not created new DD 2475’s for this year. So at this point the state has yet to make a payment and my unit has yet to taken the effort to begin processing this years payment. I have gone up my chain of command with no results and am seriously considering taking this to a congressional level in hopes to gain some traction. Do you have any suggestions on how I should proceed?

    • Try taking it to the Congressional level, but that may not be much help either. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories like this lately, and I’m very concerned about what’s happening to you guys.

      I would recommend contacting the Student Loan Ombudsman Group and seeing if they can help you get this resolved quickly. They’re pro-bono lawyers who are supposed to represent people with legal issues regarding Federal student loan debt.

      If anyone could help here, I would think it’d be them.

      Thank you for your service, and good luck! Please let me know how it goes too. I’d love to hear a story with a happy ending when 99% of what I get is misery.

    • tom leddy says:

      My son has been trying to get reimbursed for 5 years now! Not one cent has come his way. He fills out required forms every year. Talks to his “leaders” and gets the old “we’ll look into it” line. Worst part is he would have had loan paid off on his own, but ANG said to make minimum payments. Now he has accrued so much more interest as well. What a joke to treat our soldiers like this. What a bad taste it has left in our mouths. Guess we’ll try the lawyers next!

  12. Wyoming Guard says:

    SLRP is BS. I have filed all of the paperwork and keep getting told everything looks great and should be paid any time now. Well guess what, I am almost 2 years into my contract with no SLRP payment. Another officer in my unit WAS getting paid yet mysteriously did not receive payment this year either.

    • Hi There,

      This program is not B.S., but like all the other Military Benefits that the Federal Government offers, recipients often experience issues when it comes time to actually receive the money.

      If you aren’t receiving your benefits, then you need to run a query up the chain of command to figure out what’s gone wrong.

      2 years is far too long between disbursements, but if you don’t bug the hell out of those administrative people, they’re never going to do anything on your behalf.

      Get on the phone and call them every single day until you’ve got a solid answer on why your loan hasn’t been paid. Ask for their supervisors until you get to someone who can make a decision.

      It may take a bit of your time, but it’s going to be far more likely to produce results than complaining.

  13. OCS to Butter says:

    Hello, I see you are answering questions quickly!

    I am currently an 09S and have turned in all the necessary paperwork on time. I am halfway through my state OCS program and no payments have been made. I call every month to my loan holder and education office – no clear answers.

    On the side, I have a direct commission packet being reviewed and looking to drop OCS. Will my SLRP, none of which has come through, be affected?

    Also, I am looking to receive a state GI bill with kicker (in grad school). If I take it right now, and drop OCS as soon as I received a commission would I be risking anything?

    • Hi There,

      I wish I could give you a clear answer on these questions, but to be honest, I’m not entirely sure.

      You’re going to need to speak to the people who run the programs for answers.

      As much as it may be a pain in the rear, only the National Guard itself can give you an authoritative answer to these questions.

      Thank you for your service, and sorry I can’t help further.

  14. Originally when I enlisted SLRP was included in my contract. My recruiter never informed me that I needed to turn in paperwork. When I arrived at Basic training they said to wait until I get to my Active duty unit and they will handle it. My unit was deployed when I got there and nobody knew what steps to take. All in all the loans never got paid. Now that I am a Warrant Officer in the National Guard and no longer on active orders, is there a way I can readdress the issue to have my student loan repayment taken care of. Or is there a different option that I should pursue?

    • Hi Chief,

      So is SLRP in your contract or not? If it is, then you MAY have a chance. If it’s not, then no way.

      The bad news is that I’ve never heard of SLRP benefits being paid retroactively. I don’t think you’ll be able to get anything accomplished on this, but my suggestion would be to speak with your CO and try to work up the chain of command until you can get a clear answer.

      Someone should be able to resolve this for you, but there’s a lot of confusion regarding the loan repayment programs (in all branches), and very few resources to get things accomplished when the train runs off the rails.

      Don’t give up on it yet, but don’t expect that anything will come of your efforts either. Most likely, you’re going to be banging your head against the wall.

  15. Brian Lothridge says:

    I am a member of an Air National Guard unit and am currently on my last year of enlistment. I have a SLRP contract and have received payments on time up until this past year (July 2014). I am being told that there is an issue at the National level having to do with to many numbers being submitted on the form that is used to process this payment. I have been checking every other month up until today and keep getting the same old story. Becoming frustrated and wondering if this issue will resolve itself and I can start receiving payments again.

    • Hi Brian,

      I have heard similar complaints from other service personnel and am dismayed that this issue hasn’t been sorted out yet.

      I’m not certain that this is true, but I was told once that the way this program works is that the Federal Government allocates some certain amount of funds for the forgiveness program (for each branch of the military), and that those funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

      That means that the benefits can be ‘used up’ before you get your chance to receive them, because they’ve been allocated to other Guardsmen. To me, that does not seem fair, or honest, or like something that America should be doing to military personnel, but that’s apparently the way this works.

      Are you getting your annual application forms in early each year, or did you delay on submitting your information this time around? It’s possible that so many others applied for the benefit before you that there’s nothing left, but I do certainly hope that is not the case, and that you’ll get your funds soon.

    • I’m also in the air guard. How do I get started with SLRP? I’ve been in for two years now but just found out about this program. Any help would be appreciated.

      • Hi Ish,

        SLRP benefits are only available to those who had them included in their original enlistment contract. If you don’t have it in writing that you are to receive them, then you won’t be able to access the program.

        It’s a one-time offer, as an incentive to get people to sign up for service. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news here, but you’re too late to join the SLRP party.

  16. I’m going to MEPS to sign up for 09S option for OCS with guard – I am prior service (6 years Active Army) and was told I am not eligible for the SLRP because I am prior service by NG recruiter….is this true or is this the current rules on the SLRP?

    • Whatever the Recruiter says is probably correct. It’s possible that they’re wrong, but they typically have access to the best, most reliable and most recent information.

  17. ARNG Soldier says:

    Where did you get this information? Most of this is correct except for the current ARNG members. According to the FY 13 policy which is still in effect you must have less than 13 years TIS to qualify for this incentive. This is also stated on the National Guard website.

    • Hey thank you for stopping by and clarifying that piece. We’ve aggregated the information on this site from other websites, and have reached out to each of the military branches, the VA and the DOD for comments on some of the less clear elements of the different military programs available, but it’s difficult to get a response back from them.

  18. Rosa Alierace says:

    SLRP has been great for me too. I’ve already paid off over $20,000 in student loan debt. If it weren’t for the National Guard student loan repayment program I’d be screwed.

  19. Gene Pemberton says:

    Hey thanks for this. I wasn’t sure if the National Guard was right for me, but the Student Loan Repayment Program is going to save my ass. Now that the wars have wound down, I’m signing up to take advantage of it.

    • In Afghanistan says:

      Now that the war have died down you’re signing up?! You pussy!

      • been there says:

        Let me guess “in afghanistan” you deployed to afghanistan and claimed to have this heroic tour? I bet you were one of the fobbits who constantly bought out the PX so us real war fighters when we came back to the fob didn’t have anything to look forward too! Your exactly whats wrong with our military today,I hope you didn’t drop any of your 3 hot meals a day on your crisp clean ACUS while you were in Afghainstan you f@#king poser!

  20. I’m not sure if it’s different in other states, but for the Hawaii Army National Guard I have to get a form from our state National Guard Education Incentives Office every year and send it to the loan holder. They then fill out a portion and send it back to the Education Incentives Office, who then sends it to the National Guard Bureau for payment.

    It’s a pain in the behind and takes a long time, but so far I’ve had two payments made. It’s also a different process than Active Duty and Army Reserve soldiers have to go through.

  21. Billy Patterson says:

    I’m not sure why you guys are having so much trouble – I signed up with SLRP in my contract and received the first payment within three weeks of my one year anniversary. Have you guys called VA to find out what’s going on?

  22. NG Soldier says:

    I enlisted in the Army National Guard and I have SLRP in my contract.

    They say they will make a payment each year on your anniversary date.

    Guess what, my anniversary date came and went and NO PAYMENT has been made.

    That is the US Army for you.

    • You have to fill out a DD 2475 and get unit and loan lender approval. its not just handed to you. like with everything else you have to put forth the effort.

  23. Timothy Trettel says:

    I am having trouble getting my SLRP payments disbursed, it has been approximately 9 months I have been dealing with the issue. Please advise.

    SPC Trettel

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