Just in time for Veterans Day, the nation’s largest servicer of federal and private student loans, Navient, has launched an online course about student loan repayment benefits targeted to the country’s veterans and service members.
Part of the company’s Path to Success series — a collection free web classes that teaches borrowers about a range of financial topics — the new module is a self-paced interactive course focusing on military benefits.
It includes checklists to help keep veteran borrowers on track to manage their debt, as well as an overview of benefits available to them under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, the Heroes Act waiver, and public service loan forgiveness.
This push to educate veterans about their borrower’s rights comes in the wake of a Justice Department lawsuit, with Navient agreeing to pay out $60 million to nearly 78,000 service members to settle allegations that it violated their rights by failing to cap interest rates on their loans at 6 percent as required by law.
Although the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 vastly expanded the educational benefits available to veterans, many service members still struggle with large amounts of student debt.
One reason for the abundance of student debt among veterans is simply the the fact that more Americans are attending college, and are more likely to borrow to pay for it. Service members who enter the military with now with a college degree now are more likely to have loans than they would have in the past.
To try and ameliorate the stress that comes with debt, service members are eligible to receive certain benefits that other borrowers are not. Benefits, like the cap on interest rates, are meant to help them focus on their military duty, instead of the burden of re-payment. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has found that members of the military are often denied those benefits by loan servicers.
Along with the new module, Navient will also sponsor a page on its website where members of the military or their families can talk to a military benefits team about student loan information and benefits.