The Federal Government wants you to be able to pay back your student loans. Income Based Repayment (IBR) caps your required monthly payment at an amount that is intended to be affordable based on your income, family size, state of residence and student loan indebtedness.
IBR is a repayment plan for the Stafford, Grad PLUS or Consolidation loans made under the FFEL program. Loans excluded include those currently in default, parent PLUS Loans, or consolidation loans that repaid a parent PLUS Loan. The loans can be new or old, and for any type of education (undergraduate, graduate, professional and/or job training).
You may enter IBR if your federal student loan debt is high relative to your income and family size and if you demonstrate partial financial hardship (PFH). You can use the Department of Education’s calculator found at studentaid.gov to estimate your benefit from the IBR plan. It looks at your income, family size and state of residence to calculate your IBR monthly payment amount. If that amount is lower than the monthly payment under a 10-year standard repayment plan, then you are eligible to repay your loans under IBR.
After the initial determination of your eligibility for IBR, your payment may be adjusted each year based on your income and family size, but your required payment will never be more than the permanent-standard 10-year payment amount, unless you choose to exit the IBR program.
Under IBR, your monthly payment amount will be less than the amount you would be required to pay under a 10-year standard repayment plan, and may be less than other repayment plans. Although lower monthly payments may be of great benefit to a borrower, these lower payments may result in a longer repayment period and additional interest.
If your monthly IBR payment does not cover the monthly interest that accrues on the loans, the government will pay your unpaid interest on Subsidized Stafford Loans for up to three consecutive years from when you first enter IBR repayment. After three years, and for all the other types of loans, interest that accrues will be capitalized (added to the loan principal on which future interest is calculated) when you are no longer eligible for an IBR repayment amount.
If you repay under the IBR plan for 25 years and meet certain other requirements, any remaining balance will be cancelled.
The faster you repay your loans, the less interest you pay. Because a reduced payment in IBR generally extends your repayment period, you may pay more total interest over the life of the loan. Also, other conditions may apply and the unpaid balance plus unpaid, accrued interest may be taxable.
To set your payment amount each year, your lender needs updated information about your income and family size. If you do not provide the documentation and a current tax return, your payment reverts to the permanent-standard 10-year repayment amount.
If you prefer for a packet to be mailed to you, contact Customer Service.