Whether you are just beginning to repay your student loan(s) or have been in repayment for a while, sometimes you might have trouble affording your payment amount. Fortunately, there are solutions.
Apply for an Income-Driven Repayment Plan
An income-driven repayment (IDR) plan can make your payments more affordable because they are based on your income. Under an IDR plan, payments may be as low as $0 per month. You can estimate your monthly payments using Loan Simulator.
After you apply, your federal loan servicer will notify you regarding your eligibility and, if you qualify, the payment amount.
Recertify or Change Your Income-Driven Repayment Plan
Recertify Your Income-Driven Repayment Plan
Enrollment in an income-driven repayment plan is good for one year. Before the year is over, you need to recertify your income and family size to stay on the plan. Your federal loan servicer will notify you when it is time to recertify. If you can’t afford your current income-driven payments because you’ve had a drop in income, you can recertify early to have your new income taken into account right away.
It’s important to recertify every year! If you don’t recertify on time, you’ll be removed from the income-driven repayment plan and your monthly amount due will very likely increase.
Change Your Income-Driven Repayment Plan
If you’ve had an increase in family size or a decrease in income, you can apply to have your current IDR plan recalculated. You don’t have to wait until your annual recertification is due.
The same is true if you want to switch from one IDR plan to another. A different repayment plan may offer different benefits depending on your situation. You can apply to switch at any time—you don’t have to wait until your annual recertification is due.
Get Temporary Relief
Note: Interest still accrues during deferment or forbearance. It’s important you understand whether you would be responsible for paying the accrued interest during this period and how that would impact your federal student loan. Deferment and forbearance also impact potential loan forgiveness options.