If you feel overwhelmed by your student loans, you’ve likely looked into a number of repayment and forgiveness programs to help ease the burden. Borrowers with federal loans can get some help from the Department of Education through various plans they offer.
One of these plans is the Income-Based Repayment plan, also known as IBR. The government set up this program to benefit people with lower income that makes it difficult to afford the monthly payment on their student loans. IBR lowers your monthly payments as a percentage of your discretionary income, eventually leading to total forgiveness of the remaining balance.
Wondering if your student loans would be more manageable under IBR? You’re in luck because we recently launched our very own Income-Based Repayment Calculator to help you quickly find out.
A New IBR calculator to estimate payments
This income based repayment calculator takes all factors into consideration. You’ll provide information on whether or not any of your federal student loans were disbursed before July, 2014, your adjusted gross income, and your total family size.
You’ll also plug in the total amount of your student loan debt, the average weighted interest, where you live, and your annual income growth.
If any of these sounds confusing, don’t worry ﹘ the calculator includes explanations for the fields that may seem tricky to fill in.
For example, if you’re not sure about your annual income growth, the IBR payment calculator explains this information is needed because payments are based on earnings and your income typically grows over time. While Department of Education uses 5 percent as the default number here, the historical average is actually closer to 3.5 percent. You should enter the number that you feel best captures what you expect to see with your income.
For the purposes of this tool, we assume that your family size will stay consistent. Keep in mind that a change in the size of your family will impact your payment, just like changes in income.
And remember: any calculator is only as good as the data you give it. Take the time to gather the right information before using this Income-Based Repayment calculator so you can get the best results possible.
What can the IBR payment calculator tell you?
Once you’ve input all the information that best reflects your situation, hit Calculate. The IBR calculator will provide you with a ton of useful data, including:
- What you can expect to pay in the first month under the IBR plan
- What your final payment will be
- How much you’ll pay during the repayment period
- The length of the repayment period
- How much will be forgiven at the end of the repayment term, if applicable
These numbers should help you decide if exploring the IBR plan is right for you. Check it out for yourself:
INCOME BASED REPAYMENT (IBR) CALCULATOR
Is Income-Based Repayment right for you?
Just because this plan is available doesn’t mean it makes sense for all borrowers. For instance, you might enjoy lower monthly payments, but extending payments out over 20 years usually means paying more in interest overall.
Also, almost all federal loans qualify for this plan (with the exception of student loans made to parents). However, what tends to disqualify borrowers from the program is if your payments would end up higher on IBR than on the Standard Repayment Plan.
Even so, by using Student Loan Hero’s new IBR calculator, you can plug in exact numbers to determine what your new monthly payment would be. And if you do decide to pursue IBR, we can also help you apply here for free.
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