The US military is a fine career choice for many, and a great stepping stone for others. Men and women who join the military will attain a higher level of discipline and bearing while also having the chance to see different parts of the world.
On top of this, college graduates with student loan debt can be alleviated of the stress of having to pay off their loans, or part of them, by taking part in the student loan repayment program that the military offers.
How Much Debt Will the Military Pay For?
The loan repayment program will not be attractive to everyone.
41-year-old Dr. Michelle Bisutti, for example, owes more than $500,000. Her case is unique because more than half of her obligation is interest and penalties since she has allowed them to go into collections due to a misunderstanding of when she was to begin making payments that should have started back in 2003.
The military loan repayment programs would not be attractive to her anymore because the Army and Navy only pay off $65,000, which would have been a more viable option when Dr. Bisutti only owed her original principal amount of $250,000. That is, of course, if she would have started making payments on the loan. The Air Force loan repayment program pays $10,000.
These programs, especially the Army and Navy (the Marine Corps is a department of the Navy) are very attractive to students graduating from state schools and community colleges where all or most of the loans will be taken care of in exchange for earning a competitive salary in the service of one’s country.
Is Military Service for Loan Repayment the Best Option?
Some students may find that paying off their own student loans is better even if they join the service, and the reason is that the Post-9/11 GI Bill is a fantastic program that not only pays for tuition on further schooling, but it also pays the student a direct amount equal to the housing allowance she would receive if she was stationed there for the military.
So, a married veteran attending Columbia University in New York City would receive about $1,200 per credit in tuition assistance while receiving close to over $33,000 in direct payments tax free to cover living expenses.
The military loan repayment programs are great for future soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. But for those who are going to further their education when they leave the service, it is better to handle the loans in another way.