Fixes to Income-Based Repayment Take Effect July 1, 2010

On July 1, 2010, two important changes go to Income-Based Repayment go into effect. As a result, some people will be eligible for IBR who were not before. If you are already using IBR, are married, file taxes jointly with your spouse, AND your spouse also has federal loans, contact your lender about updating your payment plan to reflect this change. 

Married Borrowers: When married couples both have federal student loans, they will no longer face higher IBR payments than their unmarried peers. For married borrowers who file their taxes jointly, lenders will factor in the couple's total federal student loan debt, as well as their total income, to calculate payments.  Originally, IBR did not recognize that joint income has to cover both spouses' federal loan payments, resulting in payment requirements up to twice what two equivalent single people would have to pay. 

Baseline Debt: IBR eligibility will be based on either the balance when the loan first entered repayment or on the current loan amount, whichever is greater.  This will allow borrowers whose loan balances have increased (often due to accrued interest during periods of deferment or forbearance) to qualify based on what they actually owe.

We will continue to update this page as we learn more about how lenders and the Department of Education will implement these changes. 
Income-Based Repayment and Pay As You Earn are two ways to help keep monthly payments affordable based on your income and family size. Visit the Department of Education’s Repayment Estimator to find out what your payments might be.

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