Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Calculator FAQs
1. What assumptions does the IBR Calculator make?
For the IBR Calculator to provide a forgiveness estimate, we have to make some assumptions which may or may not be true in everyone’s case. The calculator assumes the following:
- Your family size will remain the same during the life of the loan.
- Poverty guidelines will increase based on the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of inflation.
- All loans are unsubsidized loans for the purposes of interest accumulation.
- The current interest rate won’t change during the life of the loan (even for loans with variable interest rates).
- You meet all eligibility requirements to enroll in IBR (see below).
2. Am I eligible for IBR?
Income-driven repayment plans are complicated, so we can’t guarantee that receiving a result from this calculator guarantees you’re eligible for IBR.
Generally, anyone with qualifying federal loans (see below) who also meets income requirements is eligible for one form of IBR. However, there are two variations of IBR (see #3 below).
Our calculator uses the date when you first received federal student loans to use the correct IBR variation in your case.
Loan types that are eligible for IBR include:
- Direct Loans (both Subsidized and Unsubsidized)
- Direct PLUS Loans (made to graduate or professional students only)
- Direct Consolidation Loans
- Federal Stafford Loans (both Subsidized and Unsubsidized, eligible if consolidated)
- FFEL PLUS Loans (made to graduate or professional students only, eligible if consolidated)
- FFEL Consolidation Loans (eligible if consolidated and only if does not contain parent loans)
- Federal Perkins Loans (eligible if consolidated)
Loan types that are generally ineligible for IBR are:
- Parent PLUS Loans
- FFEL PLUS Loans made to parents
- Direct Consolidation Loans that repaid a Parent PLUS Loan
3. Why does this calculator ask when my loans were first dispersed?
There are technically two different versions of IBR. The one which you may be eligible for depends on when you first received federal student loans.
Version 1: “Old” IBR (for new borrowers before July 1, 2014)
- Limits payments to 15 percent of discretionary income (and never more than the 10-year Standard payment amount)
- Forgiveness after 25 years of payments
Version 2: “New” IBR (for new borrowers on or after July 1, 2014)
- Limits payments to 10 percent of discretionary income (and never more than the 10-year Standard payment amount)
- Forgiveness after 20 years of payments
4. What options do I have other than IBR?
The closest alternatives to IBR are the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) plans.
PAYE limits student loan payments to 10 percent of discretionary income (and never more than the 10-year Standard payment amount). PAYE is only available to new borrowers as of October 1, 2007, or later.
Like PAYE, REPAYE limits monthly student loans payments to 10 percent of discretionary income. However, REPAYE is available to any borrower who has qualifying loans regardless of when he or she started borrowing.
5. Is student loan forgiveness through IBR taxable?
Generally, yes. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), student loan forgiveness received through IBR is generally considered taxable income.
6. How do I know if IBR is the right option for me?
Choosing a repayment option can be difficult, especially when your financial situation may change over the course of 20 to 25 years.
To decide which income-driven repayment plan is best for you, we generally recommending testing out each program with our calculators and finding the one that estimates the lowest total amount paid over the entire repayment period.
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