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Can I Use My G.I. Bill To Pay Off Student Loans?

Q: I joined the South Carolina Army National Guard in 2008. I have a loan dating back to 1982 and I also have a loan taken out under my name for my daughter to attend college in 2009. Can the G.I. Bill pay off the debt?

A: No, the GI Bill can’t pay off student loans directly. However, if you are using the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserves (MGIB-SR) to go to school, you can use that G.I. Bill money to pay for whatever you want, including student loans.

One program that does pay off certain (federally-insured ) loans is the Student Loan Repayment Program. Many times that is an option at enlistment in lieu of the G.I. Bill. The reasoning is if you already have student loans when you enlist, you probably don’t need more money for college, but could use the help to pay off student loans. During the same period of time (three years) you can’t get both SLR and the G.I. Bill.

When you are eligible for re-enlistment, ask about the SLR program. It is usually an option for certain critical MOSs or selected units. It would mean having to go to another MOS-producing course and probably switching to a different unit, but it is something to think about and possibly a re-enlistment option.

Also, you mentioned the loan taken out by you for your daughter. Depending on the type of loan and certain other factors, it may be eligible for SLR. Generally speaking, loans for family members are not SLR eligible.

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