Student Loans: Income-Based Repayment, Have You Heard About It?

I don't know, I may be the only one who fears the on-set of student loan repayment like that of the wrath of God. Perhaps I'm a little bitter that my original plan of pursuing a lifetime career as a student, kind of like Lynn from Girlfriends, fell through for the likes of "real-world experience!" However, the reality is for many of us who enjoyed the high-life free-for-all college years, those "priceless" moments came with a hefty price tag. Especially since the powers that be waited until after my graduation year to impose debt caps for how much loan-indebtedness one could accrue for college - oh yeah I got those emails after May 15, 2005 and went postal. Where were those folks when Sallie Mae was staking her claim to my first born, second born and grandchildren for that matter? (Clearly that wound is still open!)

Anyway, as I am taking on adult responsibility like a champ. I, like many of us, pride myself on being an informed consumer of any and all things. I google, ehow to, yelp, bing, hell I even youtube everything I can; I stalk reviews, I ask others - I'm on the constant hunt for information on how to make things BEST work for a dollar here and there. Needless to say, I have been employing all those tactics over the last few months to determine the best way to begin paying my student loans in a manner that won't have me on the fast-track to the poor house. I'll admit, I didn't pay close attention during those pesky exit interviews you have to complete upon graduation, you know to re-sign over your life and soul stating you will pay back what you owe by all means. So now I look at those repayment options with great disdain. The fortunate thing is you can change your repayment plan at any time to suit your needs - of course there will always be fine print so it requires close attention.

As of late, I have been reading more and more about the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) option. It is a new repayment option that opens the opportunity for a more reduced monthly payment on your loans than the current plans. Further for those of us who work in the public sector, there is also the option of loan forgiveness on the remaining balance after 10 years - without the huge tax burden. As with most things there are eligibility requirements and your loan still accumulates interest, so there are some short-term vs. long-term trade-offs to consider before pursuing this option. However, if you are currently struggling to make large monthly payments and need a short-term respite this program may be for you - the literature I have read boasts reducing current payment plans by 50%.

I am not going to pretend to be an expert on this payment plan but wanted to share the information with my readers. There is a new non-profit organization that has formed to create greater awareness of this program: IBR Info (check their website here). Their website has a host of information describing the program, federal updates, a useful IBR calculator to estimate individual payments as well as a great FAQ's page. I hope you find this information helpful, if you have found other information useful that we can share here do not hesitate to pass it on to me and I am happy to share it here.

Happy Wednesday yall!


Post a Comment