Hagan, Harkin Work to Protect Servicemembers & Veterans in Pursuit of Higher Education
After recent violations, new bill would ensure servicemembers receive benefits they have earned and are legally guaranteed
"We should be making it easier, not harder, for the men and women sacrificing for our country to pursue a college degree and pay off their student loan debt, particularly at a time when our youngest veterans are facing higher than average unemployment rates and more and more servicemembers are making the transition into civilian life," said Hagan, a member of the Armed Services and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committees. "It is clear that our current system is not working, and this legislation will make needed improvements to ensure our servicemembers are receiving the benefits they have earned and that there is clear information about the financial tools and resources available to them. America's men and women in uniform have served courageously, and I will continue working to support them in their pursuit of higher education."
"As our recent higher education hearings in the HELP Committee have found, the current financial aid process for servicemembers and their families can be confusing and burdensome. This process has made it very difficult for servicemembers to take advantage of the protections and benefits they are earning through their service," said Senator Harkin, Chairman of the
In addition to safeguarding servicemembers' benefits and protections, this legislation makes a number of commonsense reforms to the Higher Education Act. It would improve access to financial aid information, allow military spouses to defer student loans after a mandatory move while they find a job and get settled, and prevent interest from accruing on servicemembers' student loans while they are deployed in a combat zone.
For a full list of provisions in the bill, please go to: http://www.hagan.senate.gov/files/documents/140605SHEPABackgrounder.pdf "Our veterans face numerous obstacles in obtaining a college degree; from managing their campus experience as nontraditional students to navigating complex bureaucracies of the DoD and VA," said
"The Servicemember Higher Education Protection Act is welcome legislation that shores up important legal and financial protections for military families and veterans who incur student loan debt, and requires greater transparency of information on loan instruments by the lending industry," said Vice Admiral
According to the
Among other provisions, the Servicemember Higher Education Protection Act:
. Simplifies the process for a servicemember to lower the interest rate on their student loans to 6% while they are serving on active duty as provided by the ServicememberCivil Relief Act (SCRA) by reducing the amount of paperwork and bureaucratic red tape.
. Extends SCRA interest rate protections for one year after active duty, ensuring that at a time of chronic unemployment and underemployment, a servicemember's student loans do not increase the day he or she takes off the uniform.
. Requires the
. Creates a military spouse student loan deferment after a permanent change of station move, which would allow up to 6 months to find a job and get settled.
Since coming to the
Hagan comes from a strong military family. Her father-in-law was a two-star
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