Fourteen U.S. Senators have cooperated to introduce legislation to provide immediate student loan debt relief to active-duty service soldiers and members of the National Guard.
Currently, soldiers who are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries abroad are charged interest on their Federal Direct Loans while they are defending the country overseas. The bill would prohibit interest from accruing for members of the Armed Forces on active duty, regardless of the date of disbursement, for up to 60 months. This would save the average service member between $1,183 and $1,479 over the course of a 12- to 15-month activation period.
Last year, Congress passed legislation authored by Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) that prevented interest from accruing on loans originated after October 2008. The bill provided important relief to service members who intended to take out loans in the future, but it did not address those who currently had loan debt. This legislation corrects that problem.
"When Americans go off to serve their country during time of war, the government should not collect interest on their student loans," Bayh said in a statement. "Our soldiers and their families are already putting so many aspects of their lives on hold during their deployment. This is one more way we can honor their sacrifice and ease their transition from active duty service. It is relief we can and should provide for our soldiers right now."
Publication Date: 10/15/2009