Loan Repayment Programs

Repaying Federal Student Loans

Understanding the repayment process for your federal student loans can go a long way toward building a solid financial foundation.  Remember, federal student loans are real loans, just like car loans or mortgages. You must repay a student loan even if your financial circumstances become difficult. Your student loans cannot be canceled because you did not get the education or job you expected, or because you did not complete your education (unless you could not complete your education because your school closed). You need to make payments to your loan servicer.  Each servicer has its own payment process, so check with your servicer if you are not sure how or when to make a payment. You are responsible for staying in touch with your servicer and making your payments, even if you do not receive a bill.  Contact your loan servicer if you would like to discuss repayment plan options or change your repayment plan. You can get information about all of the federal student loans you have received and find the loan servicer­ for your loans by logging in to studentloans.gov.

Use the Repayment Estimator

Before you contact your loan servicer to discuss repayment plans, you can use the Direct Loan Repayment Estimator to get an early look at which plans you may be eligible for and see estimates for how much you would pay monthly and overall. You can also go  to go to www.studentloans.gov and sign in with your FSA ID. Estimates will be based on your loan information in NSLDS.

Overview of Direct Loan and FFEL Program Repayment Plans

Repayment Plan Eligible Loans Monthly Payment and Time Frame Eligibility and Other Information
Standard Repayment Plan

 

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • all PLUS loans
  • all Consolidation Loans (Direct or FFEL)
Payments are a fixed amount.

Up to 10 years (up to 30 years for Consolidation Loans).

 

All borrowers are eligible for this plan.

You’ll pay less over time than under other plans.

Graduated Repayment Plan

 

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • all PLUS loans
  • all Consolidation Loans (Direct or FFEL)
Payments are lower at first and then increase, usually every two years.

Up to 10 years (up to 30 years for Consolidation Loans).

All borrowers are eligible for this plan.

You’ll pay more over time than under the 10-year Standard Plan.

Extended Repayment Plan

 

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • all PLUS loans
  • all Consolidation Loans (Direct or FFEL)
Payments may be fixed or graduated.

Up to 25 years.

 

  • If you’re a Direct Loan borrower, you must have more than $30,000 in outstanding Direct Loans.
  • If you’re a FFEL borrower, you must have more than $30,000 in outstanding FFEL Program loans.
  • Your monthly payments will be lower than under the 10-year Standard Plan or the Graduated Repayment Plan.
  • You’ll pay more over time than under the 10-year Standard Plan.
Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment  Plan (REPAYE)
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct PLUS loans made to students
  • Direct Consolidation Loans that do not include PLUS loans (Direct or FFEL) made to parents
  • Your monthly payments will be 10 percent of discretionary income.
  • Payments are recalculated each year and are based on your updated income and family size.
  • If you’re married, both your and your spouse’s income or loan debt will be considered, whether taxes are filed jointly or separately (with limited exceptions).
  • Any outstanding balance on your loan will be forgiven if you haven’t repaid your loan in full after 20 or 25 years.
  • Any Direct Loan borrower with an eligible loan type may choose this plan.
  • Your monthly payment can be more than the 10-year Standard Plan amount.
  • You may have to pay income tax on any amount that is forgiven.
  • Good option for those seeking Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE)
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct PLUS loans made to students
  • Direct Consolidation Loans that do not include (Direct or FFEL) PLUS loans made to parents
  • Your maximum monthly payments will be 10 percent of discretionary income.
  • Payments are recalculated each year and are based on your updated income and family size.
  • If you’re married, your spouse’s income or loan debt will be considered only if you file a joint tax return.
  • Any outstanding balance on your loan will be forgiven if you haven’t repaid your loan in full after 20 years.

 

  • You must be a new borrower on or after Oct. 1, 2007, and must have received a disbursement of a Direct Loan on or after Oct. 1, 2011.
  • You must have a high debt relative to your income.
  • Your monthly payment will never be more than the 10-year Standard Plan amount.
  • You’ll pay more over time than under the 10-year Standard Plan.
  • You may have to pay income tax on any amount that is forgiven.
  • Good option for those seeking Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)

 

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • all PLUS loans made to students
  • Consolidation Loans  (Direct or FFEL) that do not include  Direct or FFEL PLUS loans made to parents
  • Your monthly payments will be 10 or 15 percent of discretionary income.
  • Payments are recalculated each year and are based on your updated income and family size.
  • If you’re married, your spouse’s income or loan debt will be considered only if you file a joint tax return.
  • Any outstanding balance on your loan will be forgiven if you haven’t repaid your loan in full after 20 or 25 years.
  • You may have to pay income tax on any amount that is forgiven.
  • You must have a high debt relative to your income.
  • Your monthly payment will never be more than the 10-year Standard Plan amount.
  • You’ll pay more over time than under the 10-year Standard Plan.
  • Good option for those seeking Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans made to students
  • Direct Consolidation Loans
  • Your monthly payment will be the lesser of
    •  20 percent of discretionary income, or
    • the amount you would pay on a repayment plan with a fixed payment over 12 years, adjusted according to your income.
  • Payments are recalculated each year and are based on your updated income, family size, and the total amount of your Direct Loans.
  • If you’re married, your spouse’s income or loan debt will be considered only if you file a joint tax return or you choose to repay your Direct Loans jointly with your spouse.
  • Any outstanding balance will be forgiven if you haven’t repaid your loan in full after 25 years.
  • Any Direct Loan borrower with an eligible loan type may choose this plan.
  • Your monthly payment can be more than the 10-year Standard Plan amount.
  • You may have to pay income tax on the amount that is forgiven.
  • Good option for those seeking Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
  • Parent borrowers can access this plan by consolidating their Parent PLUS Loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

 

Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • FFEL PLUS Loans
  • FFEL Consolidation Loans
Your monthly payment is based on annual income.

Up to 15 years.

  • You’ll pay more over time than under the 10-year Standard Plan.
  • The formula for determining the monthly payment amount can vary from lender to lender.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers programs to repay student loans for young researchers pursuing careers in specific areas of research. These programs are typically very competitive. Current requirements state that the recipient must commit at least two years conducting qualified research funded by a domestic nonprofit organization or U.S. federal, state, or local government entity. NIH may repay up to $35,000 of your qualified student loan debt per year, including most undergraduate, graduate and medical school loans. Visit www.lrp.nih.gov  for more information on these programs.