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Can I Switch from the GI Bill to the Student Loan Repayment Program?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently in the Army (active) going through IET in AIT, so I am not permanent party yet. I originally wanted to opt for the Student Loan Repayment Program, but found out in Basic Training that I was signing for a G.I. Bill. Despite not wanting the G.I. Bill, I was told that I could not switch to the loan repayment program at that point, so I signed for the G.I. Bill feeling like that was the only option I had at that point. So my question is can I switch from the G.I. Bill to the SLRP before I enter permanent party?

A: The Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) is something you sign up for at your original enlistment or at reenlistment, if the option is available. So if it was not offered at the time you enlisted, then it wasn’t an option for you to accept. Just so you know, the same period of time cannot be used for both SLRP and GI Bill. In other words, the three year obligation you would have incurred by signing up for the SLRP would not apply towards GI Bill eligibility.

To answer your question, no you can’t switch to SLRP at this point in time. What you may be able to do is sign up for SLRP when your reenlistment window opens. Just be sure to keep up with your student loan payments as the SLRP will not pay loans in default. And not all loans are eligible for the loan repayment. Generally only ones that are federally insured.

So find out if your loans qualify for SLRP and then ask about it at your reenlistment. That is about the only option you have at this point.

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