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Student Loan Repayment

Student Loan Repayment Plan (SLRP)

As a Commerce employee, you may be able to have your student loans repaid! Operating units in Commerce may offer to repay student loans as an incentive to recruit or retain highly qualified candidates or employees. Your operating unit will make the determination if you are highly or uniquely qualified and thus, potentially able to have your student loans repaid.

Eligible Employees include:

  • Permanent employees in the competitive or excepted service 
  • Senior Executive Service members
  • Term employees who will have at least 3 years remaining on their appointment after the start of the service period
  • Time-limited employees whose appointment leads to conversion to another appointment when the appointment is projected to last for at least 3 years after the start of the service period (e.g., Presidential Management Fellow, Internship Program, Recent Graduates Program, etc.)

Excluded from Eligibility:

An employee occupying a position that is excepted from competitive service because of its confidential, policy-determining, policy-making or policy-advocating character (e.g., Schedule C employees) 


For current DOC employees - You must not have any pending performance or conduct actions and your most recent Department of Commerce (Department) performance appraisal of record must be at least “Fully Successful” or equivalent in order to be eligible for the student loan repayment program.

Service Agreement:

 You must sign a Service Agreement prior to the student loan being paid.

Service level agreements last for a minimum of 3 years with a maximum of 15 years. Click here to view the service agreement requirements.

Student loan repayments are subject to employment taxes.

Certain Loan Criteria

  • Your loans must have been 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 of the Public Health Service Act or part E of Title VIII of such Act.  
  • The loan was used to pay tuition and related expenses.
  • The loan is not in default.

Student loans that may be repaid include:

  • Major Federal student financial aid programs including (but not limited to) Stafford Loans, Supplemental Loans, Plus Loans, Federal Consolidation Loans, and Perkins Loans
  • Defense Loans made before July 1, 1972
  • National Direct Student Loans made between July 1, 1972, and July 1, 1987
  • Health Education Assistance Loan Program loans, Nursing Student Loan Program loans, and Health Profession Student Loan Program loans made or insured under the Public Health Service Act.

How much can you get

You may receive up to $10,000 per calendar year for a total of $60,000 per employee. The Department will make student loan payments directly to the loan holder.

Losing eligibility for loan repayments

Under certain situations, you will lose your eligibility to receive repayment of your student loans and must repay the Department for the amount of repayment. Specifically, if you:

  • Separate voluntarily or involuntarily from the Department without meeting the terms of the service agreement;
  • Separate from the bureau/operating unit and moves to another bureau/operating unit within the Department, and your service agreement prohibits repayment based on the movement;
  • Do not maintain an acceptable level of performance; or
  • Violate a condition of the service agreement that triggers the loss of eligibility.


There are some exceptions when you won’t have to repay the Department of Commerce for the student loans:

Heads of operating units may waive, in whole or in part, the right of recovery of an employee's debt incurred for failure to meet a requirement of the service agreement if he or she determines that recovery would be against equity and good conscience or against the public interest, as determined by the bureau/operating unit. This authority may be re-delegated to an authorized appointing official within the bureau/operating unit.

Click here to visit OPM’s website on student loan repayment.