Home News Senators Urge ED, DOD to Retroactively Apply Zero Interest Loan Benefit to Military Borrowers – NASFAA

Senators Urge ED, DOD to Retroactively Apply Zero Interest Loan Benefit to Military Borrowers – NASFAA

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Despite a decade-long existence of a benefit exempting military student loan borrowers from paying interest on federal student loans while serving in hostile areas, hundreds of thousands of eligible service members continued to pay interest, a group of Democratic senators wrote in a letter to the Department of Defense (DOD) this week. The senators applauded the recent announcement of a computer matching agreement between the Department of Education (ED) and DOD to correct the issue, and urged Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to retroactively apply the benefit to eligible military borrowers.

The senators—Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington, Margaret Wood Hassan of New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Kamala Harris of California, Doug Jones of Alabama, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Tim Kaine of Virginia—wrote in the letter that the Higher Education Act (HEA) allows military borrowers to forgo paying interest on their federal student loans while serving in “an area of hostilities,” which would qualify them for special pay such as imminent danger pay or hostile fire pay.

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