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REPAYE vs. IBR: How these repayment plans stack up

Your degree and when you got your loan make all the difference.

Updated

Fact checked
Which of these plans is best for you depends on your degree and when you took out the loan. Both work the same for most borrowers with undergraduate debt issued after July 1, 2014. But the REPAYE Repayment Plan might be a better choice for anyone with loans issued before that date. And the IBR Plan could be a better option if you have graduate student loans issued after July 1, 2014.

How these federal repayment plans compare

Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Repayment Plan Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan
Best for... Student borrowers who are single and paying off undergraduate debt in a low-paying field Student borrowers looking for income-driven repayments on FFEL Loans that haven’t been consolidated
Eligible loans
  • Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
  • Direct Consolidation Loans — can't include Direct or FFEL Parent PLUS Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans*
  • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans*
  • FFEL Graduate PLUS Loans*
  • FFEL Consolidation Loans* — can't include FFEL Parent PLUS Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans*

*Only qualify if consolidated with a Direct Consolidation Loan.

  • Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
  • Direct Consolidation Loans — can't include Direct or FFEL Parent PLUS Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • FFEL Graduate PLUS Loans
  • FFEL Consolidation Loans — can't include FFEL Parent PLUS Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans*

*Only qualify if consolidated with a Direct Consolidation Loan.

How much you pay
  • 10% of your monthly discretionary income
  • 10% or 15% of your monthly discretionary income — depending on when your loan was first issued
  • Never more than what you'd pay on the Standard Repayment Plan
Repayment Term
  • 20 years on undergraduate loans
  • 25 years on graduate loans
  • 20 or 25 years — depending on when your loan was first issued
Eligibility requirements
  • Eligible loans
  • Eligible loans
  • High-enough debt-to-income ratio that repayments are lower than what they'd be on the Standard Repayment Plan
Eligible for forgiveness at the end of the term
Eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Required to reapply each year

Yes

Yes

Pros
  • Repayments adjust with your income
  • No age limits for eligible loans
  • Repayments adjust with your income
  • Cap on monthly repayments
  • Spousal income won't count if you file taxes separately
Cons
  • More expensive for married couples
  • No cap on monthly repayments
  • Longer term for graduate student borrowers
  • More paperwork annually
  • Not open to parent borrowers
  • Longer term and higher monthly repayments for older loans
  • More paperwork annually
Learn more
Learn more

Curious about your other options? Check out our guide to student loan repayment plans before you sign up.

Interested in refinancing instead? Compare your options

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
675
$200,000
4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
CommonBond Private Student Loans
700
$500,000
3.31% to 9.74%
Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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