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Can I Use My GI Bill to Pay Off My Wife’s Student Loans?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am probably going to enlist soon. If I was joint account holder with my wife for her school loans, will the GI Bill work to pay those off then?

A: The GI Bill does not work to pay off any student loans – yours or your wife’s. That is a separate program called the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP).

It may be offered to you at enlistment as a GI Bill alternative, if you are enlisting for just three years, or as an additional program if enlisting for six years. If you opt for SLRP, you immediately incur a three-year obligation as a pay-back period and you have to decline the GI Bill in writing.

And since you can’t acquire GI Bill eligibility during your SLRP obligation period, that is why you can’t get both on a three-year enlistment, but you can with six years. The last three years of your enlistment would fully establish your GI Bill eligibility at the 100% rate.

However, the SLRP most likely would not help you pay off your wife’s student loans. Loans not covered under SLRP include:
• Loans from a private source
• Equity Loans
• Loans from State Funded sources
• Institution Loans
• Consolidated Loans

Most likely, as a joint account holder with your wife, your loans would be classified as consolidated.

However, don’t let this deter you from enlisting. Serving your country as a member of its Armed Forces is an awesome experience.

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