Everyone is aware of the dedication and the sacrifices made by military personnel in the services provided to their country. But, do we do something to uplift the quality of their life? Though we place them on a pedestal, sing laurels about them and provide tributes to their service not much is being done to actually help them better their individual personal and family lives. Keeping that in focus a special program called Armed Forces Loan Forgiveness Program was started after 11 September 2001.
This program is mainly focused on providing relief to a tune of $2,500 to people who have been in active service between 11 September 2001 and 30 June 2008. This is applicable to student loans and can be availed only once. This is totally a private funded program and does not involve the government in any manner. It is run by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEEA) that oversees the entire functioning of the program. Also, there is no burden on the taxpayers to fund the program in any manner.
Apart from the eligibility criteria for the personnel to be in active duty between the stipulated periods mentioned, there are other criteria that need to be fulfilled to be able to avail the loan forgiveness program. Only loans such as AES, Consolidation, HEAL, Keystone EXTRA, SLS and Stafford are eligible for participation to this program. The loan payments should not be in default and be paid correctly till the current date. Only loans provided before the deadline i.e. June 30 is eligible.
Last but not the least the military personnel should have a connection to Pennsylvania to be eligible for the loan forgiveness program. For this, the person should be either a resident of the state presently or should have had their education in Pennsylvania before joining up the armed forces or should have been in the state when they entered the armed forces. For non-residents to be eligible is only possible if they had their education at a state college and joined the military right after their education. If the concerned military personnel match up with all these eligibility criteria, then they can get loan forgiveness through this program.
The entire process of applying has been simplified and made easy. The interested personnel can get the form by going online and visiting the PHEAA site at www.pheaa.org and downloading it. After completing the form it can be forwarded to the PHEAA office at the following address: AES Loan Forgiveness Group, Post Office Box 2461, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105-2461. The interested persons can also access a helpline by using the number 1-800-233-0557. The applications should reach the office before 31 December 2008 to be eligible for the program.
Even though $2500 is not a substantially high amount in today's times, something is definitely better than nothing to help our military personnel tide over their financial difficulties. For this reason, many of our military personnel are utilizing this program to help them reduce their burden of never ending financial commitments in life.
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