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Is There a Different Set of Student Loan Repayment Program Rules for Reservists?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Is there a different set of rules for Reservists? And if so, what are they? For instance, I am a Reservist who has SLRP on my contract, but if I can’t use both benefits then I would choose the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

A: Yes Selected Reservists (including the National Guard) do fall under a different set of rules for many programs and the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) is a good example. As a Selected Reservist, you can get the SLRP option with a six-year enlistment. Your active duty brethren can get it with as little as a three-year commitment. The other big difference is you do not need to have existing student loans at the time you sign up for SLRP, whereas active duty personnel have to have existing student loans that qualify for the program at the time of enlistment.

Even the Post 9/11 GI Bill program is different between the active duty and Selected Reserve as far as the transfer of benefits option. While both parties have to have served for at least six years, and have at least four years left on their enlistment at the time of a transfer of benefits request, active duty personnel have to be at the 100% tier level in order to make a transfer request. Selected Reservists can be at a lesser percentage. Typically a one-year Title 10 tour in support of a contingency operation rates a 60% Post 9/11 GI Bill tier level.

The other difference is the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance for the spouse using transferred benefits. Active duty spouses do not get the housing allowance if the sponsor is still serving, but the spouse of a Selected Reservist does get it, although it is at the same tier level of payment as the sponsor’s tier level.

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