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How to Repay Your Loans

Income Based Repayment (IBR)

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is a repayment plan for the major types of federal student loans that caps your required monthly payment at an amount intended to be affordable based on your income and family size.

All Stafford, PLUS, and Consolidation Loans made under either the Direct Loan or FFEL Program are eligible for repayment under IBR, EXCEPT loans that are currently in default, parent PLUS Loans (PLUS Loans that were made to parent borrowers), or Consolidation Loans that repaid parent PLUS Loans. The loans can be new or old, and for any type of education (under-graduate, graduate, professional, job training).

Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

Pay As You Earn is a repayment plan for eligible Direct Loans that is designed to limit your required monthly payment to an amount that is affordable based on your income and family size.

Only loans made under the Direct Loan Program are eligible for repayment under Pay As You Earn. Eligible loans are Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans made to graduate or professional students, and Direct Consolidation Loans that did not repay any PLUS loans that were made to parent borrowers. Loans that are currently in default, Direct PLUS Loans made to parents, Direct Consolidation Loans that repaid PLUS loans made to parents, and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans are NOT eligible for repayment under Pay As You Earn.

For an official determination of your eligibility for Pay As You Earn, you must submit an application. To apply, submit an Income-Based (IBR)/Pay As You Earn/Income-Contingent (ICR) Repayment Plan Request and either

  • a copy of your most recently filed federal income tax return or
  • alternative documentation of your income, if you did not file a federal income tax return in the past two years or you've experienced a significant change in your income since you filed your most recent federal income tax return.

Are you ready to apply? Apply now online using the electronic IBR/Pay As You Earn/ICR Request.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness PSLF

The PSLF Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs such as, working at many hospitals, medical schools, and other health care facilities.. Under this program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of their Direct Loans after they have made 120 qualifying payments on those loans while employed full time by certain public service employers.

However, the Federal Government will assess a 20% tax rate on the remaining balance before forgiveness.

AAMC PSLF (video Video icon )

PSLF Details: - PSLF Details

AAMC Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Questions and Answers for Federal Student Loan Borrowers

PSLF Calculator:
This is the only student loan repayment calculator we are able to find that provides students with an estimate of how much might be forgiven when qualifying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Note: It is not necessary to list all of your loans on this calculator for a quick computation. Instead, using your estimated future indebtedness and average weighted interest rate you calculated above, you can simply list this as one loan on the "organizer" page and then click on the "Medloans Calculator" tab to run the estimate.

Faculty Loan Repayment Program

Health professions faculty from disadvantaged backgrounds can receive up to a maximum of $40,000 towards repayment of their student loans in exchange for educating tomorrow's clinicians.

Individuals selected to participate in the program agree to serve on the faculty of an accredited health professions college or university for 2 years. The Government pays up to a maximum of $40,000 of the participant's student loans and provides funds to offset the tax burden.

Participants should also receive matching funds from their employing educational institution. More information is available at the HRSA web site.


Deferment temporarily puts your student loan payments on hold. If you meet certain criteria and you have loans through the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) or the Direct Loan program (DL), you may be eligible for a deferment.

Although several deferments are available for all federal student loan borrowers, some are only available based on loan type and oldest outstanding debt. If you're not sure if you qualify for a deferment, please contact your loan servicer.

Types of Deferments:

Graduate fellowship deferment
In-school deferment
Military deferment
PLUS loan post-enrollment deferment
Post active duty deferment
Rehabilitation training deferment
Summer bridge deferment
Unemployment deferment


If you don't meet the criteria for a deferment, you may qualify for forbearance.

In most cases, forbearance is granted solely at the discretion of your lender or servicer and are only offered for limited amounts of time.
Forbearances are usually reserved for cases of financial hardship or illness.
Unlike a deferment, in forbearance both subsidized and unsubsidized portions of your loan continue to accrue interest.
At the end of the forbearance period, the interest is capitalized (added to the principal balance of the loan).
Forbearance can increases the amount you owe if you choose not to pay the interest that is accruing. Contact your lender or servicer for more information.

For more information, visit

Direct Loan Consolidation

A federal loan made by the U.S. Department of Education that allows you to combine one or more federal student loans into one new loan. As a result of consolidation, you will have to make only one payment each month on your federal loans, and the amount of time you have to repay your loan will be extended.

  • For all Direct Stafford and Graduate PLUS loans taken out by the student, if those loans are with one loan servicer (visit and review the information listed as "ED Servicer" for each of your loans) the student should have one payment- no need to consolidate.
  • Married couples can no longer consolidate their federal loans together.
  • However, a married couple who file a joint tax return, both owe student loans balances and qualify can get a combined IBR payment plan. This is not the same thing as a spousal consolidation. Payment plans can be changed at any time, so if a couple in a combined IBR plan no longer qualify, each can each chose a different payment plan for his/her loans. In the situation where qualifying couples choose a combined IBR plan - the underlying loans remain open in the original borrower's name and received payments are prorated among all loans in the plan. "Spousal consolidation ended for applications received by a lender on or after July 1, 2006."
  • Students can consolidate their loans in grace and while in repayment- not while in school.

General information about Direct Consolidation Loans is available on the website. Once your loans are combined into a Direct Consolidation Loan, they cannot be removed. The loans that were consolidated are paid off and no longer exist.
To apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan, you must use the new process on to apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan. Go to and sign in to begin the new consolidation process.


Students, parents, and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents.

Your FSA ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Don't give your FSA ID to anyone—not even to someone helping you fill out the FAFSA. Sharing your FSA ID could put you at risk of identity 

Last Published: Sep 14, 2018