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Reserve aims focus on student loan repayment program

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Bobby Pilch
  • 367th Recruiting Group, Air Force Reserve Command

Members of Air Force Reserve Command’s 367th Recruiting Group here conducted two rounds of remote training on the Student Loan Repayment Program for more than 230 recruiters April 4 and 6.

In an effort to help alleviate outstanding student loan debt and attract qualified talent to fill shortages in critical positions, the Reserve is highlighting this long-standing, yet underutilized incentive.

“Since 2016, the program has benefitted an average of 194 Airmen with qualified loan disbursements totaling just over $554,000 annually,” said Tech. Sgt. Jomarie Flores, SLRP program manager, Air Reserve Personnel Center, Buckley Space Force Base, Aurora, Colorado. “All totaled, we have discharged $3.8 million on 1,358 qualifying loans.”

Flores said it can sometimes be a challenge for members to remember to file for the entitlement each year with their local education office, which is a requirement to receive the $3,500 maximum annual benefit and $20,000 cumulative cap over a six-year enlistment period. On average, qualifying Reservists receive about $2,800 per year.

Educating the recruiting force is key to promoting the SLRP.

“I am hoping the field will be more knowledgeable about the SLRP,” said Master Sgt. Denise Alston, 367th RCG training noncommissioned officer. “And when they have interested individuals coming to their office to join, they’re diving into probing questions and addressing the details of this program, along with other benefits they may qualify for. I want them to be comfortable marketing this incentive.”

Not only is educating recruiters key to the success of this program, but generating awareness outside of the military audience is essential in letting people know how a part-time career in the Reserve can help alleviate a portion of their student loan debt.

“A lot of times people are not aware of the benefits they are entitled to when considering enlisting in the Reserve,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Bachman, 367th RCG operations superintendent. “This incentive is a great opportunity for individuals who have educational debt. It’s our job as recruiters to help them make the right choices, not just for themselves but for their family.”

To learn more about qualifications and commitments concerning the SLRP, click on the following link or contact a local recruiter using the AIM HIGH app.