Enlist -- keep college costs down

By , The Christian Science Monitor

"To the right, march! One, two, three, four." More college students are likely to be counting this time-honored cadence next year with the announcement of a new student-loan repayment program available through the National Guard.

Under the new loan plan the National Guard will pay off student loans at the rate of 15 percent of the outstanding balance or $500, whichever is larger, plus interest, for each year a student serves in the National Guard. Enlistments are for three and six years.

Loans that qualify for this program are the guaranteed Student Laon and the National Direct Student Loan. The loan must have been made after Oct. 1, 1975.

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The new loan repayment plan is in addition to National Guard programs of paying bonuses of up to $1,500 and providing school aid of up to $1,000 a year to students who enlist.

for example: A student who borrowed $2,500 at 9 percent interest during each of four years in college would owe $10,000 plus $1,383 interest for a total debt of $11,383. If this student completes six years of satisfactory service in the National Guard, then the guard's repayment, principal and interest, would be $9. 258, leaving a balance for the student of $2,125.

In other words, using the National guard plan, a student can pay for four years of schooling with less than the cost of one year.

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