Millions of Americans with student debt are enrolled in the U.S. government's income-driven repayment plans, but millions more have no idea that they are eligible for such a program.
These income-driven repayment plans help lower your monthly payments for your loans. The plans limit your monthly payments based on your discretionary income. To find out how much you might owe each month, you can use the Department of Education's Repayment Estimator. You'll need your most recent tax return, your family size, and information about any additional income to help estimate how much you might owe.
Two important things to keep in mind: One, these federal repayment plans are available only for federal student loans, not private loans. So if you consolidate federal and private debt into one loan, you won't have access to the government's income-driven repayment plans. Two, you must re-certify every year to continue to qualify for an income-driven repayment plan. If you fail to re-certify, you're monthly payments will increase to what they were before you signed up for the repayment plans.