If you sign up for an IDR plan, you will need to provide information to your loan servicer about your income and family size. If you sign up for an IDR plan online using studentaid.gov, you can check a box to link your IRS tax information to your application, so you don’t have to upload any additional proof of income if you have filed taxes. This can save you time. If you haven’t filed taxes in recent years, or if your income has decreased since you last filed taxes, you can submit recent paystubs or other documents to prove your current income.
Returning to Repayment
For a limited time, you can sign up for an IDR plan over the phone by calling your loan servicer. You won’t need to fill out any paperwork right now if you sign up over the phone. For more information, see our page on Returning to Repayment.
Perkins Loans are not eligible for the same types of payment plans as other federal student loans. If you have a Perkins Loan, you will need to contact your loan holder (usually the school you attended), to find out what your payment plan options are. You can also consolidate your Perkins Loan into a Direct Consolidation Loan to access better repayment plans, but there may be downsides to consolidating. See our page on consolidating your loans for more information.
How often can I change my plan?
If you have Direct Loans you can change your payment plan at any time. If you have FFEL loans, you are allowed to switch your payment plans at least once a year, but you may be able to switch more often if needed.
How do I choose the best plan for me?
Are there any downsides of switching payment plans?
There are important things to consider when switching payment plans.
- Am I eligible to switch to the plan I’m interested in?
- Will your monthly payments be affordable to you in your new plan?
- Will switching to a different plan change the amount of time it will take to pay off your loans?
- Will the new plan increase or decrease the total amount you have to pay on the loans over time?
- Are you choosing a plan to help you get your loans canceled through IDR or PSLF loan forgiveness?
The Department of Education’s Loan Simulator Tool can help you answer these questions. If you’re considering a switch, you should use the Loan Simulator Tool to make sure you understand what the switch will mean.