How do I Apply for Income-Driven Student Loan Repayment?

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Mark Kantrowitz

By Mark Kantrowitz

May 9, 2020

Are your monthly student loan payments too much for you? Or have you recently enrolled in a loan forgiveness program? In these cases, you might be interested in an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plan for your federal student loans. But you do need to apply for an income-based repayment plan and recertify every year.

Before you apply for an income-driven repayment plan, use the income-driven repayment calculators to determine which repayment plan is best for you.

How To Apply 

Applying for an income based repayment plan couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is complete the IDR plan request form online. If this is your first time, you’ll need to select “New Applicants.” Otherwise, you need to select “Returning IDR Applicants.”

The form will ask questions about your income, marital status, IDR preferences, and so on. After you submit the form, the government will determine whether you are eligible or not.

You will also need to select the type of income-driven repayment plan you are interested in. Learn the difference between each plan and which is right for you.

Eligibility Requirements

There are two primary eligibility requirements for an IDR plan. These requirements center around the types of federal loans you have and your current finances.

Federal student loans eligible for IDR include Stafford loans, Grad Plus loans, and qualifying Direct Consolidated Loans. So long as consolidation came from either the Direct Loan program or the Federal Family Education Loan program, your loans may qualify for IDR.

Financially, the government reviews factors such as your family size, your state, and your Adjusted Gross Income to determine how much you can reasonably pay per month. You need proof of this either by submitting your most recent tax return or pays stubs.

If you are married, you will need your spouse’s information as well.

So long as that amount is less than you would pay on a standard 10-year monthly payment, you may qualify for IDR.

Annual Paperwork 

The government understands that your financial picture may change from year to year. And factors such as your state of residence and your family size may change as well.

That’s why you must resubmit your request for IDR each year. This gives you a chance to update the government on any major changes to your family, your income, or your location. Based on these factors, your monthly IDR payment may go up or down.

A good place to start:

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