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Can I Get the Student Loan Repayment Program and Not Affect My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m in the National Guard and have served 11 years. I have three deployments so I have over 3 years active duty so I’m 100% Post 9/11 GI Bill eligible. On my next contract I was thinking of getting SLRP and getting loans for my school all year long. Then next year get the SLRP in my contract to repay those loans back. Bonuses suck, so I’d be making my own basically. This won’t affect my Post 9/11 GI Bill right? I already earned that. What do you think?

A: In theory your plan should work, however, I caution you on a couple of things. Number one, will the Guard have the SLRP option available to you when you are due to reenlist?

With the troop draw-down coming on the active duty side, more prior service members getting off of active duty would be getting into the Guard to finish off their 20 years and qualify for retirement benefits. With a large influx of prior service individuals, the Guard may not offer SLRP as a reenlistment option. My point is to make sure it is available before you take out any student loans.

Number two, you already have 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement to use. If you do not plan on getting more than a four-year degree, then use your GI Bill benefits and avoid the hassle of student loans (even if the Guard would pay them off).

Also, know that only certain loans qualify for repayment under SLRP. Get the wrong type loan and you’ll end up paying it off yourself. I suggest you familiarize yourself with the National Guard SLRP website to see if you qualify before doing anything rash.

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