January 17, 2020

Lower your monthly loan payments with an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan

Repayment

What is an IDR Plan?

There are five main income-driven repayment (IDR) plans out there. Not everyone qualifies for all of them, and there are pros and cons for each. Briefly, they are IBR 2009, IBR 2014, REPAYE, PAYE, and ICR. If you have Direct Loans, you can choose between all five plans. If you have FFEL Program loans, you can use an ICR Plan, or consolidate to a Direct Loan to gain access to the other plans. If you have a Parent PLUS loan, you are only eligible for ICR. None of these income-driven repayment programs are available for private student loans.

The plans differ in terms of who qualifies, how much you have to pay, the type of loans that are eligible, and the length of repayment:

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) 2014

Taken out AFTER July 1, 2014 by a borrower who did not have an outstanding balance on a Direct or FFEL loan at the time of borrowing… This plan caps your monthly payments at 10% of discretionary income and forgives any outstanding balance after 20 years of qualifying payments.

Which loans are eligible?

The following loans made to students (not parents):
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct PLUS loans made to students
  • Direct Consolidation Loans

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) 2009

BEFORE July 1, 2014… If you’re able to annually certify financial hardship, it caps your monthly payments at the lesser of (1) 15% of discretionary income or (2) what your payment would be under a 10-year, fixed plan, and it forgives any outstanding balance after 25 years. The government also subsidizes the interest that would normally have accumulated if your payments are too low to cover your interest in the first three years.

Which loans are eligible?

The following loans made to students (not parents):
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct Graduate PLUS loans made to students
  • FFEL Consolidation Loans
  • Direct Consolidation Loans

Income Contingent Repayment (ICR)

What it does: it caps your monthly payments at the lesser of: (1) 20% of your monthly discretionary income or (2) what your payment would be under a 12-year, fixed plan adjusted according to income. It forgives any outstanding balance after 25 years of qualifying payments. It also allows you to exclude your spouse’s income to calculate payments if you file your taxes separately, so this is a good choice for married grads. It’s also the only income-based repayment plan that parent PLUS borrowers can use.

Which loans are eligible?
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct Consolidation Loans
  • Direct PLUS loans (loans made to parents are eligible if they are consolidated first)
The following, if they’re first consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan:
  • Federal Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • FFEL PLUS loans
  • FFEL consolidation loans
  • Federal Perkins loans

Pay as You Earn (PAYE)

What it does: If you’re able to certify financial hardship yearly, it caps your monthly payments at the lesser of (1) 10% of your discretionary income or (2) what your payment would be under the standard, fixed 10-year payment plan. It also forgives any outstanding balance after 20 years of qualifying payments. The government also subsidizes the interest that would normally have accumulated if your payments are too low to cover your interest in the first three years. It also allows you to exclude your spouse’s income to calculate payments if you file your taxes separately, so this is also a good choice for married grads.

Which loans are eligible?
The following loans made to students (not parents):
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct Consolidation Loans
  • FFEL loans (if you consolidate to a Direct Consolidation loan first)
You must also meet these requirements:
  • You must have received a Direct Loan on or after Oct. 1, 2007, and had no outstanding federal loans at that time.
  • You must have received a Direct Loan disbursement on or after Oct. 1, 2011.

Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)

What it does: If you’re willing to certify your income and family size yearly, it will set your monthly payment at 10% of your discretionary income and forgive any outstanding balance after 20 years (25 for graduate/professional borrowers). This could be a problem if your income rises significantly in your latter years of repayment as there is no ceiling. You do not have to prove financial hardship, but your (and your spouse’s) income is used to calculate monthly payments.  

For subsidized loans, the government subsidizes the interest that would normally have accumulated if your payments are too low to cover your interest in the first three years, and it subsidizes half of it after that. Interestingly, the government subsidizes half of your interest for the length of your repayment term on unsubsidized loans under REPAYE.

Which loans are eligible?
The following loans made to students (not parents):
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct Consolidation Loans
  • Stafford loans
  • Graduate PLUS loans
  • FFEL loans (if you consolidate to a Direct Consolidation loan first)

I want to apply for an Income-Driven Repayment Plan. What’s next?

Use our app to discover the Income-Driven Repayment Plan that is best for you and get started lowering your monthly payments.

How do I calculate my monthly payments under different repayment plans? Use our Income Driven Repayment (IDR) Calculator!

We will help you determine which repayment plans you qualify for and estimate your expected monthly payment, total cost, and years of repayment. Get started below! 😁

While much-needed wiggle room in your monthly budget will keep you out of default and give you options, do remember that you will save money in the long run if you pay down your debt with a plan.

Use Chipper for Lower Payments

Chipper can help you find a student loan repayment plan that actually fits into your budget. You simply fill out your information and link your student loan account for us to generate your options in seconds. We help the average student loan borrower save over $300 a month off their student loan monthly payment. Lowering your monthly payment plan can game changing for your personal finance and can be done in minutes! Sign up for Chipper today to get on track with your student loans.

Use Chipper for The Best Path to Forgiveness

Finding your path to student loan forgiveness is easier than ever before. Chipper helps members find better Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans every day. Once enrolled in an eligible repayment plan, we can help you explore your forgiveness options and understand your path towards forgiveness. Sign up with Chipper today and get on track with your student loans.

Use Chipper for Round-Ups

Paying off your student loans doesn’t have to be a long and painful journey. Round-Ups are a way to directly pay off your loans with your everyday spending! By tracking your linked spending account(s), we will calculate the rounded up amount from each transaction in a week (IE spending $4.28 would add $0.72 to the weekly amount). We then initiate a payment towards your student loan for the weekly amount. Get chipping away on your student loans with Chipper today.

Use Chipper for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program was created to provide relief to borrowers aiding the public sector. Unfortunately, 30% of applicants are denied due to incorrect paperwork. We can help! Chipper was created to solve this issue by assisting borrowers in understanding their options as well as allowing forgiveness eligible users enroll into the best forgiveness program available. Sign up for Chipper today to see your student loan forgiveness options and get the forgiveness you deserve.

Use Chipper for Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF)

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF) program was created to enable teachers working in Title 1 schools to receive student loan forgiveness of up to $17,500 (depending on their teaching subject). Chipper has helped teachers from all over the country qualify for TLF program and can help you get the forgiveness you deserve today. Find out if you qualify for forgiveness in minutes with our employer search tool.

See How Much You Can Save with Round-Ups

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