The US Department of Education has retroactively waived interest on student loans for more than 47,000 veterans and active-duty service members.
Under the Higher Education Opportunity Act, certain military personnel who deployed to areas of “imminent danger” qualified for no interest on some federal student loans disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2008, but they had to apply for the interest waiver, according to the Department of Education. That resulted in only a small portion of eligible service members accessing the benefit. Now, the Department of Education and Department of Defense have created a data-matching agreement that allows education officials to automatically provide the student loan interest benefit to eligible borrowers.
“Brave men and women in uniform serving our country can now focus on doing their jobs and coming home safely, not filling out more paperwork to access their hard-earned benefits,” Federal Student Aid chief operating officer Richard Cordray said in a statement.
Currently, most federal student loan payments have been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, the Department of Education announced a final extension of the payment pause until Jan. 31, 2022, at which time interest will begin accruing again.