A recent article on federal student loan defaults raised some important issues, but it missed a crucial point about tools to help borrowers stay on track. Income-based repayment plans can lower monthly payments, prevent default and forgive any remaining debt after no more than 25 years. Payments are capped based on income and family size and can be as low as zero for borrowers with very low earnings.
The U.S. Department of Education recently simplified the application process for the IBR plan, which has been available since 2009. Borrowers can go to http://studentloans.gov and electronically transfer their tax information right into an online form. By the end of this year, some current students and recent graduates can access an even lower payment cap and shorter forgiveness period through the new Pay As You Earn plan.
LAUREN ASHERpresident, Institute for College Access and Success