One in three adults living in the U.S. today has some type of outstanding student loan debt, with the average amount per debtor hovering around $30,000. If you are one of those three, you know what a heavy weight it can be around your shoulders, especially when trying to purchase a home or start a family. Paying off every cent now may seem insurmountable, but remember the old saying – the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Our firm has created this blog to educate you on your options for paying off your student loans.
Before Determining Your Payment Options
Check on the status of your outstanding federal student loans; do this by going to this website and creating an account. You can access all pertinent information about your federal student loans, including your options for repayment. Depending on the type of debt you have, there could be one of eight ways you can pay:
1. Standard Repayment Plan. The 10-year standard repayment plan is the default option for holders of federal student loan debt. This is a good option for those who want to avoid excessive interest.
2. Graduated Repayment Plan. With this option, the time period for repayment is also 10 years. However, the payment amounts increase every two years.
3. Extended Repayment Plan. An extended plan can be graduated or standard but will take place over a period of 25 years.
4. Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) Repayment Plan. This plan will have you paying 10 percent of your discretionary income, but not more than you would have paid under the 10-year standard repayment plan. Payment amounts are re-calibrated each year based on your income and family size.
5. Revised Pay-As-You-Earn (REPAYE) Repayment Plan. Under this plan, you will pay 10 percent of your discretionary income. Like the PAYE plan, you must report your income and family size each year or you will be removed from the plan.
6. Income-Based Repayment Plan. This plan is tailored to debtors who have a large amount of debt relative to their income. If you borrowed on or after July 1, 2014, your monthly payments will be 10 percent of your discretionary income; otherwise, it will be 15 percent of your monthly discretionary income. Depending on when you borrowed, you will complete the plan after 20 or 25 years.
7. Income-Contingent Repayment Plan. With this plan, you will pay either 20 percent of your discretionary income or what you would pay under a 12-year standard plan – whichever is lower. This is only available for FFELP loans.
8. Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan. For low-income holders of FFELP debt, this could be a good option for repaying your student loans. Under this plan, you pay over a period of 10 or 15 years; your monthly payments are based on your annual income.
Depending on the type of federal student loan you have, your income, and other factors, there are eight routes you can go for repayment. These plans can last for 10-25 years (or 30 for consolidated loans). To find out the best option for you, get in touch with Ciment Law Firm today for a free 30-minute consultation.