A repayment plan based on income is a debt management strategy that requires both parties to agree on how much they intend to pay back over time. It’s an ideal option for individuals with irregular incomes, because it can be reduced or even eliminated if their earnings decrease. Income-contingent plans are also good options for couples who want the same amount of debt but have different sources of money coming in and out each month.,

What is an Income Contingent Repayment plan? Is it right for you?

The “what is discretionary income” is a term that refers to the amount of money that you have left over after all of your bills are paid. It’s important to know how much you can spend on things like entertainment, vacations, and other items without affecting your budget.

One kind is income-contingent payment (ICR) arrangements, which may make federal student loan payments more manageable. The income-contingent repayment plan enables you to prolong the repayment time of your loan while lowering monthly payments to better line them with your income. Any outstanding loan balances may be forgiven at the conclusion of your ICR plan term.

If you’re just starting out in your job and don’t make a lot of money, an ICR can be a suitable match. If you want to be eligible for federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you may want to pursue an income-based repayment plan (PSLF).

Is an ICR plan, however, good for you? What are the advantages and disadvantages of income-based repayment? Weighing the advantages against the drawbacks will help you determine whether this is a viable choice for managing your student loan debt.

Related: 6 ways to get out of student loan debt


What is Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) and how does it work?

Depositphotos_23052264_s-2019 Income-contingent repayment plan explained

Income-driven repayment programs, such as ICR, determine the amount of your monthly payment depending on your family size and income. It’s conceivable that you won’t have any monthly payments at all, depending on how much money you earn and how many people live in your home.

An ICR plan, like other Department of Education (DOE) income-driven repayment programs, tries to make it simpler to keep up with federal student loan payments. Your monthly payments with income-contingent repayment are limited at the lesser of:

  • a quarter of your disposable income
  • What you’d pay over the course of a 12-year repayment plan with a fixed payment, adjusted for your income.

Income-contingent repayment is the oldest of the four income-driven repayment alternatives and the only one that caps payments at 20% of discretionary income. Monthly student loan payments with income-based repayment (IBR), Pay as You Earn (PAYE), and Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) are capped at 10% of your discretionary income.

An ICR plan’s interest rate remains constant throughout the payback period. The rate would be the weighted average of all debts you haven’t merged plus whatever you’re now paying for any loans you’ve consolidated.

DepositPhotos.com is the source of this image.

What is an ICR plan and how does it work?

iStock-672542608 Income-contingent repayment plan explained

Income-contingent repayment allows you to pay 20% of your discretionary income each month or commit to make set payments over the course of a 12-year loan term, lowering your federal student loan payments.

You have up to 25 years to repay all of the loans that are part of the plan. The DOE will waive the sum if you still owe money after 25 years of monthly payments. While you may not make any additional payments on the loan, the IRS considers debt forgiveness under ICR or another income-driven repayment plan to be taxable income, so you may owe taxes on it.

Repayment options that are income-contingent always depend your monthly payment on your salary and family size. This implies that if your income or the size of your family changes over time, your monthly payments may also fluctuate. In instance, if you choose the 10-year Standard Payback Plan, your monthly payments will be consistent throughout the repayment period.

If you’re single, earn $50,000 a year, receive 3.5 percent yearly increases, and owe $35,000 in federal loans at a weighted interest rate of 5.7 percent, here’s an illustration of what your payments may look like on an ICR plan vs a Standard Repayment Plan: 

1. Typical

  • Payment for the first month: $383
  • $383 was the amount made last month.
  • Payment total: $45,960
  • Term of repayment: ten years

2. ICR Strategy

  • Payment for the first month: $319
  • The payment for the previous month was $336.
  • Payment total: $49,092
  • 12.4-year repayment period

3. Cost-cutting

  • Payment for the first month: $64
  • The payment for the previous month was $47.
  • -$3,132 in total payout
  • Term of repayment: -2.4 years

As you can see, a payment plan based on your income would minimize your monthly expenses. However, it would take you longer to pay off your debts, and you would end up paying more than $3,000 in interest over the life of the loan. Your payments may rise if you start earning more money while on the ICR plan.

If you marry and file your taxes jointly, your loan servicer will calculate your monthly payment based on your combined income. You’ll only owe depending on your own income if you file separately or are divorced from your spouse.

Photo courtesy of Photobuay / istockphoto.

Who is qualified for a repayment plan based on their income?

iStock-865631640 Income-contingent repayment plan explained

Anyone with a federal student loan who qualifies for the income-contingent repayment plan may apply. Loans that are eligible include:

  • Student loans that are made directly to students (subsidized or unsubsidized)
  • Consolidation loans that are made directly
  • Graduate or professional students may take out direct PLUS loans.

If you combine your federal student loans into a Direct loan first, you may be able to enroll them in income-contingent repayment programs. To repay aggregated debt, for example, you might employ an ICR plan:

  • Stafford loans are offered by the federal government (subsidized or unsubsidized)
  • Perkins loans from the federal government
  • PLUS loans from the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL).
  • Consolidation loans from the FFEL
  • Parents may get direct PLUS loans.

The only income-driven repayment plan that permits you to incorporate debts taken out by parents is income-contingent repayment. If you acquired federal loans to help your kid pay for college, you might enroll in an ICR plan to make the payments more reasonable (after consolidating your loans).

Income-contingent repayment or any other income-driven repayment plan is not available for two kinds of loans. These are some of them:

• Federal student loans in default • Private student loans in default

If you’ve fallen behind on your federal student loans, you’ll need to clear them first before enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan. This is possible because to the DOE’s debt consolidation and/or loan rehabilitation programs. Either of these options may assist you in catching up on loan payments, and loan rehabilitation can also erase the default from your credit report.

istockphoto/demaerre is the source of this image.

The advantages and disadvantages of ICR plans

iStock-1159994017_KMqHclA Income-contingent repayment plan explained

Paying down student loans with income-contingent payments is only one option, and it may not be ideal for everyone. Before participating in an ICR plan, it’s important to consider both the benefits and the drawbacks.

fizkes / istockphoto / fizkes / istockphoto / fizkes / istockphoto /

Advantages of income-based repayment

iStock-1058274784 Income-contingent repayment plan explained

  • Can help you save money on your monthly payments
  • After consolidation, parent loans are eligible for income-based repayment.
  • To repay student debts, the loan period is extended to 25 years.
  • Loan sums that have not been repaid are forgiven.
  • PSLF-qualifying repayment plan

William Potter / istockphoto contributed to this image.

The disadvantages of income-based repayment

Depositphotos_220275444_m-2015 Income-contingent repayment plan explained

  • Other repayment arrangements based on income might result in a lower payment.
  • If you take longer to return a debt, you’ll end up paying more in interest.
  • Your payments may rise if your income changes.
  • Certain loans must be consolidated before they may be enrolled.
  • The amount of a forgiven debt is taxed.

If you’re considering an income-driven repayment plan, it’s a good idea to check the math beforehand to see how much you’ll pay under various scenarios. It’s worth putting the figures through a student loan repayment calculator to see whether an income-based repayment plan, for example, may cut your payments even more than ICR.

DepositPhotos.com is the source of this image.

The food that was delivered

Depositphotos_58349867_m-2015 Income-contingent repayment plan explained

If you have federal student loans, you may want to look into income-based repayment programs. You may adapt your payments to your income with an ICR plan, making it simpler to stick to your budget month after month.

However, an income-driven repayment plan will not lower your student loan interest rate. Student loan refinancing, on the other hand, allows you to do just that.

You take out a new loan to pay down your current student debts when you refinance them. If you can get a lower interest rate on a new loan and don’t extend the term, you’ll wind up paying less in total interest throughout the life of the loan while having lower monthly payments. This might help you free up some cash in your budget.

However, the interest rate isn’t the sole one. When federal student loans are refinanced into private loans, the benefits and protections that come with them are lost, such as the option to enroll in an income-based repayment plan and access to various forbearance and deferral programs.

For further information, go to:

MediaFeed.org syndicated this story, which first appeared on SoFi.com.


Notice: Because SoFi refinancing loans are private, they lack the same repayment alternatives as government loans, such as Income-Driven Repayment programs, such as Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. 

Loans offered by SoFi SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender regulated by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636) under the California Financing Law. See SoFi.com/legal for further product-specific legal and licensing information.

DepositPhotos.com is the source of this image.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is income contingent repayment a good idea?

A: The answer is no. Income contingent repayment does not work for people with poor credit scores because the only way that they are able to repay their loans would be by getting a job or other sources of income, which could result in them having too much debt again.

How is ICR payment calculated?

A: ICR is calculated as the amount of time it takes to complete a blade.

What is a Income Based Repayment IBR plan?

A: The Income Based Repayment plan is an alternative repayment plan that allows borrowers to pay smaller amounts of their loans in installments.

  • federal loan forgiveness
  • student loans forgiveness
  • student loans
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