HUNTSVILLE, Ala. --Recruiting remains a top priority for the Army, not just Soldiers, but also the civilian workforce. One tool the Army has available to the acquisition workforce is certainly a benefit to those working in contracting as well as an incentive for recent college graduates considering a civilian career with the Army.
The Army Civilian Acquisition Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), administered by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC), repays federally insured student loans as a retention incentive for civilian acquisition employees with critical acquisition skills.
The SLRP is an annually funded program under the authority of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Account (DAWDA). This annual program is centrally controlled and announced by the Army DACM office within the USAASC.
Leander Young, Office of Small Business Programs procurement analyst, received his Bachelor of Science degree from Faulkner University in 2015 and his master’s degree from Florida Institute of Technology in 2019.
Young said he learned of the program from emails sent out from the DACM Office.
He said the program is a great incentive to retain Army civilian personnel considering the pay difference between GS workers and industry.
“There are a lot of great benefits working for the Army and USACE and the SLRP is another great added benefit, allowing me to take a break from repaying student loan debt for a while and will be a nice, temporary financial boost.”
Natosha Matthews, Contracting Directorate contract specialist, was new to USACE when I first learned of SLRP.
“I learned about the SLRP through my colleagues. It’s great incentive for recent and upcoming graduate employees and was a topic of the younger, recent graduate coworkers that surrounded me,” she said.
“Student loan debt is on almost everyone’s plate and a program that allows employees to receive repayment for completing higher level education ultimately enhances their career,” she said.
Mathews said the SLRP piqued her interest, and she began researching online and found the program wasn’t solely for recent graduates. Although she received her Master’s in Business Administration from Columbia College in 2018, she applied in 2022 and was accepted by the program.
“Compared to other benefits, the SLRP stands out significantly because it shows that the Army cares about education,” she said.
“Giving back to those that have worked very hard to complete degree programs says a lot about the Army.”
Any civilian Army Acquisition Workforce member who meets the eligibility criteria may apply for the program. The criterion for selection is based on key factors such as hard to fill and retain acquisition functional areas and available funding. These factors are evaluated annually and are made based on attrition analysis and trends, and the needs of the Army acquisition workforce.
- Civilian Army Acquisition Workforce members are eligible to apply under the following criteria:
- Permanent or term (with at least 3 years left in term position) Army Acquisition Workforce member
- Must be certified or within certification grace period for your career field
- Must have a federally insured student loan
- 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.
For more information, visit U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC)