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REPAYE vs. PAYE: How these repayment plans stack up

It all depends on if you're paying off student loans from undergrad or graduate school.

Updated

Fact checked
The Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Repayment Plan might offer a better deal for graduate students — you’d have to wait five more years to qualify for forgiveness on the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Repayment Plan. But you run the risk of getting kicked off the PAYE Plan if your income gives you higher repayments than you would have had on the Standard Repayment Plan — which means no forgiveness. If you’re an undergraduate borrower, REPAYE might be the way to go.

How these federal repayment plans compare

Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Repayment Plan Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Repayment Plan
Best for... Student borrowers who are single and paying off undergraduate debt in a low-paying field Student borrowers with a high debt-to-income ratio who are either single or married and file taxes separately
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% of your monthly discretionary income — 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 years
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
  • Direct Loans disbursed after September 30, 2011
  • No outstanding federal student debt as of October 1, 2007
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
  • Same term for all loans
  • 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
  • Age limits for eligible loans
  • Joint tax returns mean higher repayments
  • More paperwork annually
Learn more
Learn more

Not sure either is right for you? Explore 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
1.99% to 9.24%
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing
680
None
2.39% to 5.99%
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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Compare up to 4 providers

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