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Veterans Service Organizations Nationwide Support Courtney’s Bill to Allow Active-Duty Servicemembers to Count Full Service Period Towards Loan Forgiveness

June 30, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced new support from a host of Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) for his bill, the bipartisan Recognizing Military Service in PSLF Act (H.R. 3486). The bill, which Courtney introduced in May, would finally enable American servicemembers to count the full length of their service towards their Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) requirements. Click here to learn more.

Courtney’s bipartisan bill has now drawn the official support of thirteen VSOs from across the country, representing a wide range of U.S. veterans. Supporting organizations include the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Dixon Center for Military and Veteran Services, the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, the Military Child Education Coalition, the Military Family Advisory Network, the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), the Modern Military Association of America (MMAA), the National Military Family Association, PsychArmor, Student Veterans of America (SVA), Veterans Education Services, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

“As the Representative for eastern Connecticut, which is home to more active-duty servicemembers and veterans than anywhere else in the state, it means a great deal to me to have the support of organizations like the IAVA, the VFW, the Military Officers Association and so many others,” said Congressman Courtney. “I’ve made it a priority to work across the aisle to advance this bill, and I’ve been grateful to receive support from my Republican colleagues, but no endorsement means more than that of the folks who have worn our nation’s uniform. The PSLF program was designed to support public servants like them, who sacrifice more than any of us, and our bipartisan bill would make sure it does a better job of it. Support for our bill from VSOs like these is crucial as we keep pressing forward to ensure our veterans get the support they earned.”

“Our currently serving members provide for the defense of our nation and secure the most precious gift of citizenship which is our freedom. Allowing that service in uniform to count for full credit towards loan forgiveness is the honorable proper action, if we truly respect that service.  We at the Military Order of the Purple Heart are thankful for the bipartisan support that shall add our currently serving members to the public service loan forgiveness program.”—Chuck Byers, MPOH National Legislative Director.

“Public service is a noble calling that VFW members know all too well. This loan forgiveness program should work to benefit those who are still serving in our Armed Forces, and we are pleased to see this proposal would allow for service in uniform to count toward the forgiveness requirements. The VFW is grateful for the bipartisan support to ensure the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program works for those still serving.”—Pat Murray, VFW National Legislative Director

What is the Recognizing Military Service in PSLF Act?

Currently, service members are eligible for PSLF, which means they can enroll in income-driven repayment plans that will result in student loan forgiveness after ten years of qualifying service. Servicemembers 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 servicemember’s family, but currently those periods do not count as PSLF qualifying payments—meaning that if a servicemember chooses to put their loans into deferment or forbearance during a deployment, they will need to complete a longer overall period of service before qualifying for student loan forgiveness.

Rep. Courtney’s bipartisan Recognizing Military Service in PSLF Act would count military student loan deferment or forbearance as qualifying payments to PSLF so that servicemembers who deploy have their full time of service appropriately counted towards their loan forgiveness. The bill would extend the new coverage to:

  • 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.

Courtney was joined by Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) as an original co-sponsor of H.R. 3486. The Senate companion legislation is sponsored by Senators Maggie Hasson (D-NH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).