Help is here!
Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is a way to make your federal student loan payments more manageable. And if you're a teacher or work in government or at a nonprofit (501(c)(3)) organization, you might qualify for a new type of public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) after 10 years of eligible payments and employment.
Pay As You Earn
Now Available For Eligible Borrowers
To learn more:
- See our latest blog post and updated FAQ
- Read the Department of Education's press release and visit Studentaid.gov
Apply for Income-Based Repayment and Update Your Income Online!
In June 2012, the White House announced it would streamline the application process for the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan, and we're happy to report that the new online application tool is now available at Studentloans.gov. A key feature is that borrowers can retrieve and transfer their own tax information into the form electronically, speeding up the process for confirming eligibility and determining payment levels.
Whether you're first applying for IBR or just need to update your income information, this new tool will make it much easier for many borrowers to keep their loan payments manageable.
If your loan servicer is already participating, you can fill out the form, electronically transfer your tax information, and sign and submit the whole package online.
All Direct Loan servicers plus several others are already in the system, and the Department of Education has said it expects to have all servicers plugged in by next spring. But you don't have to know the name of your servicer to use the tool; it'll flag that for you and tell you how to proceed.
The new tool also provides information for married borrowers who file jointly, for borrowers whose income has changed significantly since their last tax return, and for those already in IBR to provide annual income verification using the IRS data retrieval process (something TICAS has urged since that process became available as part of the online FAFSA).
For more information, to apply for IBR, or to update your income information, visit Studentloans.gov.
Why You Need to Know Your IBR Anniversary
If you're already in IBR, make sure your lender has updated income information for you before the annual anniversary of your enrollment in the program, so they can determine your payment for the next year. Missing your deadline can result in a much higher payment that doesn't take your income into account. Currently, lenders aren't required to notify borrowers about this crucial deadline. Borrowers have reported that it can take up to three months to process the paperwork, and processing delays can also trigger a high payment.
If you're unsure about your anniversary date or what type of documents you have to submit, contact your loan servicer for more information.
Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Now You Can Track Your Eligibility
In January 2012, the Department of Education issued the long-awaited Employment Certification Form for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Direct Loan borrowers who work in the public and nonprofit sectors can now get confirmation that their job counts as qualifying employment for PSLF. Using this form will make it much easier to track your eligibility, know when it's time to apply for forgiveness, and have the paperwork you need in hand.
Visit the Federal Student Aid website for the Employment Certification instructions, fact sheet, and form.
The U.S. Department of Education posted in-depth Q&As on both Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) to their website. While some of the topics are also covered in our FAQ, we highly recommend that you read the Department’s as well if you have any questions about IBR or PSLF. We strongly encouraged the Department to provide this important information, and we’re very pleased that clear and thorough official answers to common questions are now available.