Posted Date: December 17, 2015
Sue O'Flaherty, Service Director, Program Management, Federal Student Aid
Subject: Loan Servicing Information - Availability of Revised Pay As You Earn Plan and Updated Income-Driven Repayment Plan Request
We are pleased to announce the availability of the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan for eligible William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program borrowers. On October 30, 2015, the Department of Education (the Department) issued final regulations for this new repayment plan and announced its intention to implement the plan as soon as possible (80 FR 67204). This means that eligible Direct Loan borrowers can be placed on the REPAYE Plan beginning on December 17, 2015.
The members of our federal loan servicer team are ready to work with Direct Loan borrowers who wish to apply for the REPAYE Plan. The REPAYE Plan helps keep a borrower’s monthly student loan payments affordable by capping the payment amount at 10% of the borrower’s discretionary income. There is no income requirement to qualify for the REPAYE Plan, and the plan is available to all Direct Loan borrowers with eligible loan types, regardless of when they took out their loans.
All Direct Loans except for Direct PLUS Loans for parents and Direct Consolidation Loans that repaid PLUS loans for parents may be repaid under the REPAYE Plan.
Complete information about the REPAYE Plan is available on the Income-Driven Plans page of the StudentAid.gov Web site. This information includes a detailed explanation of the REPAYE Plan, a list of eligible loans that may be repaid under the REPAYE Plan, and a calculator that can be used to estimate a borrower’s initial monthly payment amount under the REPAYE Plan.
In addition to reading the information available on the StudentAid.gov Web site, we strongly encourage each borrower to contact the federal loan servicer that services the borrower’s Direct Loans to learn more about the REPAYE Plan and other repayment plans, including other plans that base the monthly payment amount on the borrower’s income. A borrower’s servicer is the best resource to help the borrower understand repayment plan options and determine which plan is right for the borrower.
Beginning on December 17, 2015, our federal loan servicers will start reporting the code “I5” to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) when a borrower is repaying a Direct Loan under the REPAYE Plan. School users will see the code when they access the Loan Detail Page on the NSLDS Professional Access Web site. In addition, school users will see the code reflected on the School Portfolio Report (SCHPR1) and the Delinquent Borrower Report (DELQ01). We will inform the community of the new code’s implementation through future communications posted on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site.
Electronic Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan Request
To assist borrowers in applying for the REPAYE Plan, as well as the three other “income-driven” repayment plans—the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Repayment Plan, the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan, and the Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan—we have revised the Electronic IDR Plan Request.
The revised Electronic IDR Plan Request continues to interface with NSLDS and, at the borrower’s request, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to streamline the application process for the majority of borrowers who choose to repay their eligible Direct Loan and/or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program loans under REPAYE, PAYE, IBR, and/or ICR.
A borrower will use the revised Electronic IDR Plan Request to complete the following actions that will ultimately be evaluated by the borrower’s servicer:
Initially apply to repay under an IDR plan
Subsequently meet the selected plan’s annual income documentation requirement (recertification)
Subsequently request the recalculation of the borrower’s monthly payment amount due to a change in circumstances
Subsequently change from one IDR plan to another
In the attachment to this announcement titled “Electronic IDR Plan Request,” we provide a high-level summary of the revised request and its associated process. Within the attachment, we cover the following information:
Electronic IDR Plan Request Submission Criteria
Electronic IDR Plan Request Process
Additional Actions Needed by Certain Borrowers
Access to Submitted Electronic IDR Plan Requests
Contact Information for Borrowers
We understand that borrowers will contact members of the financial aid community with questions about the IDR plans and the Electronic IDR Plan Request. We hope you find the attached information helpful in answering their questions and appreciate the assistance you will provide in directing borrowers as follows:
REPAYE, PAYE, IBR, and ICR Plan Information
A borrower’s servicer is the primary point of contact for all questions about the REPAYE, PAYE, IBR, and ICR plans. In addition, general information about the plans is available on the following StudentAid.gov pages:
Electronic IDR Plan Request Technical Assistance
A borrower who is logged in to StudentLoans.gov and completing the Electronic IDR Plan Request may request technical assistance by clicking on the Contact Us tab in the top menu bar of the StudentLoans.gov Web site. The borrower can 1) complete and submit the feedback form or 2) click on Additional Information and contact the Student Loan Support Center at the phone number provided.
A borrower who has completed the Electronic IDR Plan Request and received a confirmation page must request assistance from the servicer or servicers identified on the confirmation page.