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REPAYE vs. ICR: How these repayment plans stack up

One is a clear winner on all counts — unless you have a Parent PLUS Loan.

Updated

Fact checked
The Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Repayment Plan is generally a better deal than the Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan. You’ll pay half as much as you would on the ICR Plan and have your loans forgiven five years earlier if you’re paying off undergraduate debt. But the ICR Plan is the only income-driven option if you have Parent PLUS Loans — which you have to consolidate with a Direct Consolidation Loan before you can qualify.

How these federal repayment plans compare

Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Repayment Plan Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan
Best for... Student borrowers who are single and paying off undergraduate debt in a low-paying field Parent and student borrowers who want higher monthly income-driven repayments to save on interest
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 include Direct Parent PLUS Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans*
  • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans*
  • FFEL Graduate PLUS Loans*
  • FFEL Consolidation Loans* — can 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
  • 20% of your monthly discretionary income*
  • Fixed monthly repayments on a 12-year term*

*You’ll pay the lesser of these two options.

Repayment Term
  • 20 years on undergraduate loans
  • 25 years on graduate loans
  • 25 years
Eligibility requirements
  • Eligible loans
  • Eligible loans
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
  • Open to parent borrowers
  • Save on interest compared to other income-driven repayment plans
  • 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
  • No FFEL Loans
  • Highest monthly cost of income-driven repayment plans
  • More paperwork annually
Learn more
Learn more

Find out how these plans stack up to your other options with our guide to student loan repayment plans.

Interested in refinancing instead? Compare your options

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
Discover Private Consolidation Loan
Good to excellent credit
$150,000
2.80% to 12.49%
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing
660
None
Starting at 1.89%
Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
Good to excellent credit
None
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Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing
680
None
2.39% to 6.01%
Lower your student debt costs with manageable payments, affordable rates and flexible terms.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing
650
$500,000
1.99% to 5.64%
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
650
Full balance of your qualified education loans
2.25% to 6.09%
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing (Variable Rate)
620
$300,000
2.27% to 7.49%
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
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