Know a student with a federal student loan? Chances are they don’t know about the income-based repayment plans that are available to students struggling to repay their loans.
Bloomberg Businessweek published an article pointing out The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s reportshowing that, of the $1 trillion in outstanding federal student loans, two-thirds of direct-loan borrowers are on standard 10-year payment plans. Of those who are on extended-term programs, two-thirds are in programs that, although the extend the term, also increase the amount of interest the student pays.
Only a tiny percentage of direct-loan borrowers who have outstanding student debt are taking advantage of income-based repayment plans (IBRs), which forgive the remaining balance after 10, 20, or 25 years, depending on the program.
The reason more students don’t utilize these programs is because most don’t know about them, and enrollment in the programs hasn’t been easy. That’s changing now, thanks to President Obama’s efforts to streamline the enrollment process by making it easier to apply online and to restructure the way the government pays student loan servicers, incentivizing them to make students aware of their options.