New! Online IBR Application and Renewal Process; Pay-As-You-Earn Plan Coming Soon
Earlier this year, 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, please visit Studentloans.gov.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education issued final regulations creating the new Pay-As-You-Earn repayment plan, improving the current Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) plans, and simplifying the process for discharging federal student loans in cases of total and permanent disability. The new Pay-As-You-Earn plan will provide additional repayment relief to recent graduates, who are entering the job market with record student debt and facing near record unemployment rates. To be eligible for Pay-As-You-Earn, borrowers must have taken out their first federal student loan after September 30, 2007 and at least one after September 30, 2011. We will let you know as soon as the Department announces when borrowers can start applying for Pay-As-You-Earn.
Read our statement on the new rules
According to recent reports, at least 1.1 million borrowers are now enrolled in IBR! But many more
are missing out on this important way to lower their payments and avoid
default. As TICAS president Lauren Asher
noted recently in Inside Higher Ed,
"There's no question that much more outreach is needed so that borrowers at all
stages of the repayment process are aware of IBR." Recently, a dozen members of Congress drove this point home in a letter urging Education Secretary Duncan to do more to raise awareness of IBR and related programs, including reaching out to at-risk borrowers such as those who've fallen behind on payments or been in forbearance for more than 60 days.
Support Our Work!
IBR is based on a policy framework created by our Project on Student Debt, and our FAFSA simplification proposal effectively made the case for letting aid applicants electronically pre-populate the FAFSA with their own tax data. Now that system is working for IBR, too. We keep you up to date and work hard to make sure that borrowers have a voice - we couldn't do it without supporters like you.
Please consider a tax-deductible donation to support our ongoing efforts to make college more affordable and reduce the burden of student debt.