“To direct the Secretary of Education to deem each month for which certain Federal student loans are in deferment during a period of active duty service as months counted toward public service loan forgiveness.”

Sponsored by Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT) & Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) & Marco Rubio (R-FL)

The Problem: Service members are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which means they can enroll in income driven repayment plans that will result in student loan forgiveness after 10 years of qualifying payments. Service members also have access to student loan deferment and forbearance periods during military deployments. These loan deferment and forbearance periods are intended to account for the unique financial impacts of deployment on a service member’s family. Currently, if an eligible service member enrolled in PSLF chooses to put their loans into deferment or forbearance during a deployment, those periods do not count as PSLF qualifying payments, meaning that in the service member will need to complete a longer overall period of service before qualifying for student loan forgiveness. Yet these are some of America’s most deserving public servants –service members deploying in support of our national security.

The Solution: This bill would count military student loan deferment or forbearance as qualifying payments to PSLF so that service members who deploy have their periods of service appropriately counted toward their loan forgiveness, including for:

  • Active-duty service members deployed overseas on a combat tour
  • Active-duty service members deployed away from their families and home station to support a Department of Defense mission
  • National Guard and Reserve members brought onto active duty orders for more than 30 days to support a federal mission, such as an overseas deployment or U.S. disaster relief
  • National Guard members brought on to state active duty orders to support a state mission, which includes those members who have been supporting the COVID-19 pandemic response

Read the bill and its progress here.