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What Protections Do You Offer Military Service Members? | General Questions

Earnest offers a few different benefits for military service members. We encourage you to learn about them below and contact our Military Benefits Team for assistance.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

The SCRA Interest Rate Cap: The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) interest rate cap is available for Private Student Loans and Student Loan Refinances for both eligible borrowers and cosigners. Interest on loans obtained prior to your active duty military service is limited to 6% during periods of active duty. (If your existing interest rate is less than 6%, it will not change.) You won’t be assessed service charges, renewal charges, fees, or any other charges while taking advantage of this benefit. This benefit applies to loans that were disbursed prior to active-duty service.

How to Receive SCRA Benefits: Most service members will receive the SCRA Interest Rate Cap automatically as of the date of the start of active service. We partner with our parent company, Navient, to proactively cross-reference our client database with the Department of Defense Service Member Database to identify individuals who are eligible servicemembers and automatically apply the benefit to your Earnest-serviced student loans. 

If you think you're eligible for the SCRA benefit and are not receiving it, please contact us at your earliest convenience by email at militarybenefits@navient.com or by phone at 855-284-4879. We are available Monday from 8 A.M. to 9 P.M., Tuesday through Wednesday from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M., and Thursday through Friday from 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. ET. If you are currently abroad, please use our international number at +1 888-272-5543. Alternatively, you can complete and return a signed and dated copy of the Interest Rate Limitation Request form, available at the bottom of this article, to the email address above.

Military Operation Forbearance  

Eligible borrowers and cosigners are eligible for a military operation forbearance at Earnest if all of the following are true:

  • You have a Private Student Loan or Student Loan Refinance, including NaviRefi.
  • You're currently serving on active duty or performing qualifying National Guard duty under a call to active-duty service authorized by the President or the Secretary of Defense.
  • Your service is during a war, other military operation, or national emergency.

If you meet these requirements, you're eligible for a forbearance during both the period of active duty itself and for an additional 180-day period following the demobilization date for your qualifying service.

How to Receive a Private Student Loan Military Operation Forbearance: In many cases, initial requests for Private Education Loan Military Operation Forbearance don’t require the completion of an application. If this is your first request for a Private Student Loan Military Operation Forbearance, please call us at 855-284-4879. We are available Monday from 8 A.M. to 9 P.M., Tuesday through Wednesday from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M., and Thursday through Friday from 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. ET. If you are currently abroad, please use our international number at +1 888-272-5543.  

If you are requesting to postpone repayment of an eligible private student loan account beginning on the date you started performing qualifying duty in connection with a war, military operation, or national emergency, you can complete and return a signed and dated copy of the Private Student Loan Military Operation Forbearance Request Form. To apply, first download and complete the form. Then, email the form to us at militarybenefits@navient.com or send it by fax to 1-800-848-1949. If you are currently abroad, please use our international fax number at +1 317-578-6700.

It’s important to note: 

  • All account changes may take up to five (5) business days to implement. Requests must be received no less than five (5) business days prior to the beginning payment date you wish it to take effect. Requests received less than five (5) business days before the desired date will be reviewed and processed for the subsequent billing cycle. Payments remain due until approval is granted. 
  • If you are currently serving on active duty in the military and you obtain a new loan (including a refinance loan), you will lose benefits under the SCRA, such as the 6% interest rate cap.

Using Third Parties to Manage Your Loan During Deployment

If it will be difficult for you to manage your loan while deployed, it may be worth considering granting power of attorney to someone you trust. This will allow them to manage your financial matters, including your student loans, while you’re deployed or unavailable to manage them yourself. The person you designate will be able to sign documents and act on your behalf.

The legal assistance office on your military base can help you establish a power of attorney. When you have completed the document, send it, along with a copy of your military orders, to our Pennsylvania address:

Attention: Military Processing
PO Box 9640 Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9640

Alternatively, you can fax the documents to us at 1-800-848-1949. If you are currently abroad, please use our international fax number at +1 317-578-6700. You can also authorize us by phone or in writing to speak to a third party on your behalf. Keep in mind that this person would be eligible to receive information about your account but would not be able to make changes to your account or sign on your behalf. For information on authorizing a third party, click here.

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