Student Loan Repayment Program
Reports to Congress
The Federal student loan repayment program permits agencies to repay Federally insured student loans as a recruitment or retention incentive for candidates or current employees of the agency. The program implements 5 U.S.C. 5379, which authorizes agencies to set up their own student loan repayment programs to attract or retain highly qualified employees.
Any employee (as defined in 5 U.S.C. 2105) is eligible, except those occupying a position excepted from the competitive civil service because of their confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating nature (e.g., Schedule C appointees).
Loans Eligible for Payment
Loans eligible for payment are those made, insured, or guaranteed under parts B, D, or E of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 or a health education assistance loan made or insured under part A of title VII or part E of title VIII of the Public Health Service Act. (See Q&A 17 for examples of the types of student loans that are eligible for repayment.)
Although the student loan is not forgiven, agencies may make payments to the loan holder of up to a maximum of $10,000 for an employee in a calendar year and a total of not more than $60,000 for any one employee.
As with any incentive, this authority is used at the discretion of the agency. Each agency must develop a plan to describe how the program will be implemented.
An employee receiving this benefit must sign a service agreement to remain in the service of the paying agency for a period of at least 3 years. An employee must reimburse the paying agency for all benefits received if he or she is separated voluntarily or separated involuntarily for cause or poor performance. In addition, an employee must maintain an acceptable level of performance in order to continue to receive repayment benefits.
Agencies are required to report annually to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on the use of the student loan repayment authority. Before January 1 of each year, agencies must submit their reports for the previous fiscal year. The reports must contain--
OPM will include this information in its annual report to Congress on agencies' use of the student loan repayment program.