Major federal loans include the Grad PLUS, Stafford, or Consolidation loans within the FFEL or Direct Loan programs. This type of plan caps your mandatory monthly payments based on the size of your family and your earnings. There are a number of advantages and a few disadvantages to this repayment option. To find out if this plan is right for you, you can calculate an estimate based on state of residence, income, and family size.
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If you meet eligibility requirements, you may be able to enter into the income-based repayment plan. Benefits of this plan include:
- Lower monthly payments than on the standard 10 year plan
- Unpaid Subsidized Stafford Loan interest paid by the government for up to 3 years if your payments do not cover the monthly interest
- Cancellation of balance after 25 years of repayment
- Cancellation of balance after 10 years of public service work
The downside is that you may pay more interest over a longer period than you would under other types of plans such as the standard 10-year plan. Also, you will have to submit updated family size and income information to your lender or it will switch to the standard plan.