Will the Air Force SLRP Program Come Back in 2019?
I’ve got bad news to everyone still waiting on any sign that the Air Force Student Loan Repayment Program is getting brought back to life, as it appears there’s still no funding in place for restoring 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.
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Other Paths to Getting Debt Free
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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.]
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.
Disclaimer:Information obtained from Forget Student Loan Debt is for educational purposes only. You should consult a licensed financial professional before making any financial decisions. This site receives some compensation through affiliate relationships. This site is not endorsed or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education.
the DOD has not made a payment towards my SLRP since 2014. I file the forms every year and send them off to my loan institution. I plan on getting out of the Air Force after my six year contract, which is in June 2019. I have not received any answers from my education department nor chain of command. Has anyone had an issue with this program or have any advice?
I’ve heard similar issues from other people over the years, and I’d highly advise that you start sending official questions up the chain of command to see if you can nail down the issue. You should also consult with the Student Loan Ombudsman Group, which a group of Government-backed Attorneys who offer FREE legal advice on student loan-related issues. They may be able to help. Good luck!
I realize that the program has been defunded, but there are still Airmen serving on active duty who have signed up for this benefit and it has been excruciatingly difficult trying to locate any written guidance on it. Since the Air Force SLRP deals with money, there must’ve been some regulation, instruction, or other written guidance to administer and govern that program. I need an official source doc for specific info, such as, if an Airman signs up for the program and doesn’t use it during the first enlistment, is the Airman still eligible after he/she reenlists for another term? Any help would be appreciated.
I think you should contact the VA or DOD to try and locate those details. I’m not sure where the official regulations would be.
I’ve got $17,500 of student loan debt from three years of undergraduate courses, even though I never finished my degree. If I join the Air Force, will I be eligible for their College Loan Repayment Program?
My son is joining the Airforce. The Airforce says that it does not have student loan forgiveness anymore. When I copied it from the Airforce website and asked them directly, the recruiter said that it was wrong on the website and he would contact someone to take it off.
That’s a huge bummer, but it makes sense because Congress keeps defunding military benefits programs, like their recent cut-back on the Basic Allowance for Housing benefit.
Sorry to hear that though, and I will add a note at the top of the page to alert people of the change. Thank you so much for reporting it to me!