QUESTION: I just returned home from serving in the U.S. military in Iraq and would like to start paying off some of the student loans I had before being deployed. Are there any programs the state offers that would help?
ANSWER: First let me thank you for answering the call to duty and serving in the nation’s armed forces. You are correct in assuming there are state benefits for veterans and I would like to provide you with information about one program in particular.
Recently, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) voted to extend the Armed Forces Loan Forgiveness Program. This program provides a one-time loan forgiveness benefit to servicemen and servicewomen in recognition of the bravery, dedication, and loyalty exhibited by the service to our country following the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.
This one-time loan forgiveness benefit of up to $2,500 is for student borrowers who served in the Armed Forces in an active duty status between Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2007. Applicants must have an eligible, non-defaulted loan such as a PHEAA Guaranteed Loan, an AES Stafford, Consolidation, PLUS, or SLS loan. These loans must be disbursed on or before Sept. 31, 2007.
Eligible applicants must meet one of three following criteria:
A current resident or a state resident who was living in Pennsylvania at the time of enlistment and was in the military continuously through at least Sept. 11, 2001, regardless of current residence.
A non-resident of Pennsylvania who left a Pennsylvania-approved institution of post-secondary education due to a call to active duty.
A non-resident of Pennsylvania who enlisted in the military immediately after attending a Pennsylvania-approved institution of post-secondary education.
Applications for the Armed Forces Loan Forgiveness program can be downloaded online at RepSonney.com. If a borrower is overseas and cannot complete the application, a signature by the Power of Attorney will be accepted with supporting documentation. Applications must be completed and returned to PHEAA by Dec. 31, 2007.
More information, including applications for the Armed Forces Loan Forgiveness Program, can be obtained by contacting my district office at 814-897-2080 or 814-664-9126, or by visiting my Web site at RepSonney.com.
If you have a question you would like Rep. Sonney to address in an upcoming column, please send it to:
Rep. Curt Sonney
Room 149-B East Wing
P.O. Box 202004
Harrisburg, Pa 17120-2004
Rep. Curt Sonney
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Dan Massing
House Republican Public Relations