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Will My Son’s New GI Bill Pay for Any of His Student Loans?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My son enlisted in the Navy as of February 15, 2011. His one year will be accomplished soon. I was wondering if the New GI Bill will cover any student loans that were acquired prior to his enlistment. Thank you.

A: There are two separate issues here. First, the New GI Bill cannot pay for student loans. It is an entirely separate program and can only be used to pay for new schooling. Second, to get student loans paid for, your son would had to have signed up for the Student Loan Repayment Program at the time he enlisted. The repayment program is slightly different among the different service branches.

At the time he enlisted the Navy was paying up to $65,000 over a three-year period. How that works is each year, the military member has to submit DD Form 2475 on each eligible student loan. Many sign up for the program, but either don’t know or forgot about the requirement to submit the annual paperwork. So time goes by and they are upset because nothing was paid on their loans.

For the New GI Bill, your son will have to serve at least two years before he could use his Post 9/11 GI Bill. However, he will also have Tuition Assistance that he can use while in the Navy. Once he can start using his Post 9/11 GI Bill, then he could also use the Tuition Top-Up Program to help pay any tuition costs over what TA will pay. But he will have to wait for another year before he needs to worry about using that program.

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