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How do I sign up for an Income Based Repayment (IBR) Program?

Updated: Apr 2, 2022

The income-based repayment (IBR) program is a federal student loan repayment program that adjusts your monthly payment based on your income and family size. Your payment amount will be capped at a set percentage of your discretionary income or the amount you would pay under the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan, whichever is lower. The percentage rate depends on when you took out the loan and if you had existing federal student loans.

  • Your discretionary income will be 10% of your total income if you took out a loan on or after July 1, 2014 and at the time when you got the new loan, you were either a first-time borrower or had no outstanding amounts on a federal student loan.

  • The percentage of your discretionary income will be 15 percent if you borrowed your first loan before July 1, 2014.

You can possibly receive a lower payment with an IBR program if your current federal student loan debt is high when compared to your income and family size. While your loan servicer will perform the calculation to determine your official eligibility, you can use the U.S. Department of Education's Loan Simulator to estimate your probability of benefiting from an IBR plan.

To compute your IBR monthly payment amount, the simulator looks at your income and family size. If your monthly IBR payment is less than the interest that accrues each month on a subsidized loan, the government will pay the difference for the first three years, and your overall debt will not increase.


If the IBR will not lower your monthly payments when compared to a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan, you will not qualify for the IBR plan.



If you have utilized the loan simulator and still wish to apply for the IBR program, you can contact your loan servicer, or you can Contact Edapt USA today.

Keep in mind that your monthly payments will change each year depending on your income and family size. Each year, you must provide income and household documents to your servicer to remain eligible.

Although you must initially enroll in the IBR program for a 25-year income-based or income-contingent repayment plan, you are not locked into this payment plan. You have the option to pay off your loan sooner if your circumstances change or if you simply choose to. Borrowers who switch to Direct Lending for public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) can only choose from the IBR, ICR, or standard repayment plans.

If IBR loans are not completely repaid, any remaining balance is forgiven after the borrower has made on-time payments for 20 or 25 years. If the IBR program is not a good fit for your current financial position, borrowers should consider other programs such as the Pay as You Earn program (PAYE) or Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) repayment plans. These could offer an even lower monthly payment than an IBR.



*PL – Poverty Line


The poverty line, in theory, is the income level at which the wage-earner has no discretion as to how they spend their income. The poverty line depends on the family size and whether the family lives in the continental U.S., Alaska, or Hawaii.

With a low income or a large enough family size, discretionary income may be zero, leading to a zero monthly student loan payment.


Have any questions regarding your current repayment program, additional payment options? Contact Edapt USAtoday.

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