Military Corner

  • Pay For College
  • Repay Your Loans
  • More Resources

Preparing for College

If you are a veteran or currently in the military, there are programs to help you start or continue a college or vocational education. Many college campuses have dedicated counselors and advisors to help military personnel and veterans begin, transfer or transition to college.

Start at DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support), a Department of Defense agency that helps veterans and active duty military personnel get started on a college or vocational program. Here you will:

·        Learn about available educational benefits, based on your branch of service and status
·        Learn how to earn college credit for your military experience
·        Access your official military educational transcript to use for applying to college

Paying for College

New York State veterans, active-duty service members or members of their immediate families have higher education benefits that can help pay for college.

GI Bill

The Department of Veterans Affairs Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill provide funding for college degree and certificate programs for those who are:

  • Active duty military
  • Honorably discharged Veterans
  • Discharged with a service-connected disability

Learn more about these valuable benefits.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

A student who is not eligible for a Pell Grant, but whose parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and died as a result of service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 may be eligible to receive the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.

New York State Veterans and Families Benefits

Military and veterans education benefits may not cover all college expenses. Remember to apply for all the federal and state student aid you are eligible for by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (the FAFSA). If you are a New York State resident and plan to attend a college or university in New York, you may be eligible for New York’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). Learn more.

Veterans Tuition Awards

Provides awards for full-time and part-time study to eligible veterans matriculated at an undergraduate or graduate degree-granting institution or in an approved vocational program in New York State.

Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) 

Provides financial aid to children, spouses and financial dependents of members of the United States Armed Forces or state organized militia who, at any time, while New York State residents, died or became severely and permanently disabled while performing their military duties, whether in combat or not.

NYS Regents Awards for Children of Deceased and Disabled Veterans

Provides $450 per year to students whose parent(s) served in the U.S. Armed Forces during specified periods of war or national emergency and, as a result of service, either died, suffered a 40% or more disability, was classified as missing in action, or was a prisoner of war. The veteran must currently be a New York State resident or have been a New York State resident at the time of death or classification as missing in action.

Recruitment Incentive and Retention Program (RIRP)

RIRP provides college financial aid, up to $4,350 per year, to any active service member who has successfully completed advanced individual training or commissioning and other requirements of the NYS Division of Military and Naval Affairs. Information and applications for this program may be obtained from the NYS Division of Military and Naval Affairs.


Military Residency Waiver 

The New York State residency eligibility requirement for recipients of awards administered by HESC is waived for a member of, or for the spouse or dependent of a member of, the U.S. Armed Forces who is on full-time active duty and is stationed in this state.


Contact HESC’s Scholarship Unit at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Active duty military and veterans who have student loans have benefits and protections to help manage their student loan debt.

Student Loan Guidelines at Times of Military Mobilization

When you are called to active duty due to a military mobilization, there are steps you, your family member or your legal representative can take to manage your Direct and FFEL student loans.

If You Need to Withdraw from Classes

To withdraw, contact your school. The school may provide a full refund to you or provide a credit to be used toward the classes you take when you return. When you return, the school will assist in your program re-enrollment.

Loans That are in Grace Period

If your loans are in grace period, contact your loan servicer. The grace period for your student loan begins the day after you are no longer enrolled in school at least half time, and typically lasts for six months. Your grace period can be extended for up to three years during the time you are on active duty, until you re-enroll in classes.

Loans in Repayment

  • Forbearance – You, a member of your family, or your legal representative should contact your loan servicer. You are eligible for a 15-month forbearance due to a military mobilization. During a forbearance period, no payments need to be made on your student loan. Interest that accrues on your loan during this period will be capitalized (added to the principal of the loan) unless you request to make interest-only payments.
  • Deferment - All borrowers who serve on active duty are eligible for a military deferment. If you qualify for a military deferment, the government will pay interest accruing on your subsidized loan. Contact your loan servicer for details.

Military Service Deferment
A Military Service Deferment is available while you are serving on active duty during a war or other military operation, or national emergency, or performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation, or national emergency, if you were serving on or after October 1, 2007, for an additional 180-day period following the demobilization date for the qualifying service.

If you have Direct or FFEL Loans, complete and return the Military Service Deferment request form.

Post Active Service Student Deferment
If you are a member of the National Guard or other reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces (current or retired), and were called or ordered to active duty while enrolled at least half time at an eligible school, or within six months of having been enrolled at least half time, you may be eligible for Post Active Service Student Deferment. You may be eligible for deferment during the 13 months following the conclusion of the active duty service, or until you return to enrolled student status on at least half-time basis, whichever is earlier.

If you have Direct or FFEL Loans, complete and return the Post Active Service Student Deferment request form.

Income-Based Repayment Plans

Depending on when and the type of federal student loan you have, you may qualify for reduced loan payments based on your income and family size. Learn more.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

SCRA reduces interest rates on federal and private student loans to six percent during active-duty service on pre-service loan obligations. Borrowers must submit interest rate reduction request in writing to loan servicer and provide copy of military orders calling into active duty. Learn more.

Loan Forgiveness, Repayment, Cancellation and Discharge


LIMITED WAIVER for Active-duty servicemembers that hold federal loans under the Federal Family Education Loans could be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Servicemembers with Perkins or Federal Family Education Loans must consolidate their loans into the Direct Loan Program before submitting their PSLF application in order to benefit, and this must be done by October 31, 2022.

Additional Information – Steps in order to consolidate your loan into the Direct Loan Program:

Coronavirus Updates:

Consolidation Documents and Servicers:

Borrower Defense:

Under certain circumstances, eligible federal student loans may be forgiven, cancelled or discharged with qualifying military service. Learn more.

Loans in Default

If your student loans are in default, you or a member of your family should contact your loan servicer. Collection activities will stop during your active duty service. Find out who services your student loans by visiting the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) website.

If you have questions regarding a HESC collected student loan, contact the Office of Counsel and Regulatory Compliance by phone: 888-NYSHESC (888-697-4372) or by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For questions regarding Direct Loans, contact the U.S. Department of Education at 800-4-FEDAID or your student loan servicer.


Below is an overview of programs and special protections for active-duty service members with student loans.
Loan Type OptionBenefitRequirements to Receive
Federal 0% Interest
  • While serving in a hostile area that qualifies for special pay, 0% interest rate on Federal Direct Loans for up to 60 months
  • Provide loan servicer with proof of deployment in hostile area and proof of hostile or imminent danger pay
Federal Income-Driven Repayment Plans

  • Can reduce monthly payments based on income and family size
  • After 20-25 years of payments, remaining balance forgiven
  • Must apply and provide documentation to loan servicer
  • May need to “consolidate” older loans into a qualifying federal loan first
Federal HEROES Act Waiver
  • Waiver of documentation requirements for federal student loan benefits, such as recertification of income for income-driven repayment plan, during active duty
  • Provide military orders to loan servicer
Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
  • Forgives any remaining balance of Federal Direct Loans after 120 “qualifying” monthly payments
  • Must maintain full-time employment with a “public service” employer when each payment is made
  • Must submit “Employment Certification Form" to loan servicer”
  • May need to “consolidate” older loans into a qualifying federal loan first
Federal Annual Principal Reduction for Perkins Loans (Perkins)
  • Reduces a portion of principal for each year of service
  • Must serve for 365 consecutive days in an “area of hostility”
  • Must apply and provide documentation to servicer
Federal and Private

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

  • Reduces interest rate to six percent during active-duty service on pre-service obligations

  • Must submit request in writing to servicer & provide copy of military orders calling onto active duty
Federal Department of Defense (DOD) Repayment of Your Loans
  • In certain circumstances, as determined by DOD, all or a portion of your student loans may be repaid by the DOD
  • Contact your designated Military Personnel Officer or representative for application process details


Military Service Deferment

  • Defers monthly payments during certain active duty service
  • Interest may accrue, depending on loan type
  • Must be serving on active duty or on full-time National Guard duty during a war/other military operation/national emergency
  • Must submit "Military Service and Post-Active Duty Student Deferment Request Form" to servicer
Federal Deferments After Active Duty
  • Postponement of repayment for service members preparing to return to school after active duty
  • Submit "Military Service and Post-Active Duty Student Deferment Request Form" and provide copy of military orders to loan servicer
Federal Veterans Total and Permanent Disability Discharge
  • Discharge of federal student loans for veterans with a service-connected disability
  • Provide loan servicer with documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs verifying that you have a service-connected disability
  • Submit "Total and Permanent Disability Request Form" to loan servicer
Private Deferment and Forbearances
  • Varies depending on lender
  • May not suspend interest accrual
  • May vary depending on lender


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