Federal Loan Repayment Options

There are a variety of repayment plan options to help you manage your federal student loan debt. The repayment plans outlined below are for the Direct Loan program. If you also have loans through the Federal Family Education Loan Program all of the information below may not apply to you.

Online links to loan calculators are available at the bottom of this page to help you determine payment amounts based on your actual federal loan debt.

Standard Repayment Plan:
You make fixed monthly payments for up to 10 years. Your payment must be at least $50 a month.

Graduated Repayment Plan:
Your payments start off lower at first and then gradually increase, usually every two years. The loan must be repaid within 10 years unless you qualify for the graduated extended repayment plan. At a minimum, your payments must cover the interest that accumulates on your loans between payments. Graduated plans tend to work best for borrowers who are likely to have relatively quick increases in earnings over time.

Extended Repayment Plan:
You make fixed monthly payments over a period of time not to exceed 25 years. To qualify, you must have more than $30,000 in outstanding Direct Loans. Your fixed monthly payment is lower than it would be under the Standard Repayment Plan but you'll ultimately pay more for your loan because of the interest that accumulates during the longer repayment period.

Income-Driven Repayment Plans:
Income-driven plans are for borrowers who have a high student loan debt relative to income. You will need to apply with your loan servicer to see if you qualify for one of the three income-driven plans.

Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)

      • Must demonstrate a partial financial hardship to qualify.
      • Your maximum monthly payments will be 15 percent of discretionary income, the difference between your adjusted gross income and 150 percent of the poverty guideline for your family size and state of residence.
      • If you have not repaid your loan in full after making the equivalent of 25 years of qualifying monthly payments, any outstanding balance on your loan will be forgiven.

Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE)

      • For new borrowers on or after October 1, 2007 who receive new loans on or after October 1, 2011.
      • Modeled on IBR, incorporating statutory IBR changes scheduled to take effect for new borrowers in 2014.
      • Must demonstrate a partial financial hardship to qualify.
      • Your maximum monthly payments will be 10 percent of discretionary income, the difference between your adjusted gross income and 150 percent of the poverty guideline for your family size and state of residence.
      • If you have not repaid your loan in full after making the equivalent of 20 years of qualifying monthly payments, any outstanding balance on your loan will be forgiven.

Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)

      • If you don’t qualify for IBR or PAYE you may qualify for ICR.
      • Your monthly payments are based on your adjusted gross income, your family size, and the total amount of your Direct Loans.
      • If you do not repay your loan after making the equivalent of 25 years of qualifying monthly payments, the unpaid portion will be forgiven.

Under all 3 income-driven plans borrowers are required to submit updated income documentation and certify family size annually. You may also have to pay income tax on any portion of your student loan forgiven after the required years of qualifying monthly payments. If you repay under one of these plans and meet certain other requirements you may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness after 10 years of payments.

Loan Repayment Calculators

The calculators below will provide you with an estimated monthly payment when you enter in the total amount of your federal student loan debt.

If you do not know the total outstanding balance on your federal student loans, please visit www.nslds.ed.gov. You will need your U.S. Department of Education Personal Identification Number (PIN) to login to the site. The PIN is the same 4-digit code you have used to complete your FAFSA online.