What is an Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Program?
High monthly student loan payments can really make for a tight budget. Did you ever wish that your payments were just a bit more affordable? With an income-based repayment program, this is possible!
An income-based repayment plan bases your monthly student loan payment on what you can afford to pay versus the flat monthly amount in the Standard 10-year plan. All federal student loan borrowers may change their repayment plan any time after graduating. If you’re struggling to keep up with your monthly student loan payments, use this calculator to determine if changing to Income-Based Repayment is the right move for you.
Now, let’s break down income-based repayment (just the stuff you really need to know)
Income-Based Repayment plans determine your monthly payments by factors like income, family size, place of residence, your borrowed amount, and more.
For Direct or FFEL loans taken out between 2009 and July 1, 2014, IBR 2009 caps your federal student loan monthly payments at 15% of discretionary income and any outstanding balance is forgiven after 25 years.
IBR 2014 applies to Direct Loans 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. Payments on any loan borrowed on or after this date (IBR 2014) are capped at 10% of discretionary income and extends repayment to 20 years.
Like most income-driven plans, there are exclusions and mandatory requirements. Defaulted loans are not eligible for IBR. Other loans that don’t qualify are:
Additionally, if the amount you’d pay under an IBR is more than what you’d pay for your standard 10-year repayment plan, then you would not qualify for IBR (as this plan would not be beneficial). Most other federal student loans are eligible for IBR.
Keep these pros and cons in mind when considering Income-Based Repayment…
Monthly Payment Cap: as your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) increases, payments can never be higher than they would have been under Standard 10-year repayment plan.
Interest Subsidy: If your monthly payment doesn’t cover the full amount of interest that accrues on subsidized loans, the government pays the difference for the first three years.
Includes Direct and FFEL: IBR 2009 accepts borrowers with a mix of loan types without needing to do a consolidation.
If you have a remaining balance after the 20 or 25 years, it can be forgiven
PAYE and REPAYE (other income-driven options) offer lower monthly payments and a faster forgiveness period than IBR 2009. You should seriously consider PAYE or REPAYE as an alternative to IBR 2009 if you have older loans.
You will pay more interest than you would under the Standard 10-year repayment plan.