Two new programs recently enacted by the Federal Department of Education provide needed relief to those who borrowed for their college educations but are having difficulty repaying their loans.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program encourages students to take jobs working in government, at any level, or for non-profits and other public service oriented organizations. Under this program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on their eligible federal student loans after they have made 120 payments on those loans under certain repayment plans while employed full time by certain public service employers. More information about this program can be found here.
The Income Based Repayment Plan is designed to cap your monthly payment at an amount that is intended to be affordable based on your income and family size. In order to be eligible to participate in this program, your income must be low relative to your student loan debt and your family size. Other benefits of this program:
- Participants in this program will have a maximum of 25 years of payments to make. Any remaining debt will be waived after that time.
- If your monthly IBR payment does not cover the monthly interest that accrues on the loans, the government will pay your unpaid interest on Subsidized Stafford Loans (either Direct Loan or FFEL) for up to three consecutive years from when you first enter IBR repayment.
By using the IBR Calculator you can determine if you are eligible. You can also view a factsheet, which contains basic information about the program and a chart showing the current repayment amount for individuals with specific levels of income and family size.
For more information about these programs, as well as information about other student loan repayment options, visit the Federal Department of Education’s Repayment Plans web page.