New Repayment Break on Student Loans Begins July 1

It’s not an easy time to be graduating from college with student loans. With the unemployment rate soaring toward 10 percent and the average starting salary for college graduates down 2.2 percent this year, student loan borrowers – whose average debt from student loans tops $22,000 – are now having an even tougher time affording their student loan payments.

The good news? Starting July 1, 2009, graduates with federal college loans may be able to qualify for a new government program that can reduce the monthly payments on their student loans based on their income.

Income-Based Repayment for Federal Student Loans 폰테크

The income-based repayment program, created by Congress in 2007 as part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, will cap a borrower’s monthly student loan payments at a percentage of her or his income, when the borrower’s income is at least 50 percent higher than the current federal poverty line for the borrower’s family size.

These income-based student loan payments will be calculated as 15 percent of the amount by which a borrower’s adjusted gross income exceeds 150 percent of the poverty line.

(For individuals, the 2009 poverty line is $10,830 in all states except Alaska and Hawaii. The complete federal poverty guidelines for 2009 are available on the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.)

For example: 150 percent of the current individual poverty line of $10,830 is $16,245. If a borrower’s annual adjusted gross income is $25,000, the monthly payments on her or his eligible student loans would be capped at $109.44 – 15 percent of the difference between $25,000 and $16,245, divided by 12 months. If a borrower’s annual adjusted gross income is $40,000, the monthly payments on any eligible student loans would be capped at $296.94 ($40,000 – $16,245, multiplied by 15 percent, divided by 12).

Income-based monthly payments will be adjusted annually, based on a borrower’s federal tax return from the previous year. As a borrower’s income rises, the income-based repayment cap will also go up. If the income-based repayment cap reaches a level higher than what a borrower’s monthly payment would be under a standard 10-year student loan repayment plan, the borrower will no longer qualify for income-based repayment for her or his student loans.

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