IBR Program Helps Ease Debt Burden of Student Loans

NASW is partnering with the Income-Based Repayment program to help spread the news about a new way to reduce student loan repayments.

The IBR became available July 1, providing much-needed financial relief for hundreds of thousands of federal student loan borrowers, said NASW lobbyist Nancy McFall Jean.

According to the Project on Student Debt, a nonprofit organization that works to make higher education more available and affordable, the IBR program also includes more money for Pell Grants and lower interest rates for some student loans.

"In this tough economic climate, Income-Based Repayment will be a godsend for so many people, helping to guarantee that student loan payments won't be the thing that breaks the bank," said Lauren Asher, acting president of the Institute for College Access and Success, in a statement. "The loan forgiveness is also a light at the end of the tunnel for people with big debt burdens."

According to the Project on Student Debt, IBR caps monthly loan payments based on income and family size, and forgives any debt and interest remaining after 25 years of payments.

The Project on Student Debt gave this example: A single person earning $30,000 a year with $30,000 in debt could cut her or his standard monthly payment in half with IBR. All federal loans made to students are eligible for this program, the Project on Student Debt said, regardless of when they were taken out, who the lender is, and whether they were for graduate or undergraduate study.

More information about IBR — including a calculator to estimate eligibility and payments, and a short animated video explaining the program — is available at Income-Based Repayment info.

McFall Jean said NASW promotes loan forgiveness for social workers as part of its on-going work to improve working conditions, salaries, and other benefits for members of the profession and to ensure that consumers have access to qualified professionals.

Learn more about NASW and Student Loan Forgiveness for Social Workers.