Obama Student Loan Forgiveness Program

The Obama Student Loan Forgiveness Program Is a Nickname for The Federal Direct Loan Program

Obama Student Loan Forgiveness ProgramThe name “Obama Student Loan Forgiveness” has become the nickname for a program actually called the William D. Ford Direct Loan program. Many people only know about the program, and have heard of it through others as the Obama Student Loan Forgiveness program.  The name came about when President Obama reformed part of the Direct Loan program in 2010 by signing the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. Its important to keep in mind all the programs are offered for federal student loans.  Private loan borrowers are not able to benefit from any of the below information.

Here are some of the changes that were made by President Obama.

          • Starting 2014, borrowers would qualify to pay for payments based on 10% of their discretionary income
          • Money will be used primarily to increase college funding as well as to fund minority and poor students
          • Subsidies will no longer be given to private lenders  by the federal government for federally backed loans
          • New borrowers will qualify for student loan forgiveness after 20 years of qualifying payments

So What Are The Benefits of The Obama Student Loan Forgiveness Program

In this program, there are many benefits that a borrower can take advantage of.  The borrower has the ability to consolidate all their federal student loans into one new loan, and in that consolidated loan the borrower is able to choose a repayment plan that is affordable.

The direct loan program offers five different repayment plans:

    • Standard Repayment – The borrower will pay a fix amount each month for the life of the loan.  The payment would be determined by your borrowed amount, interest rate, and term of the loan.
    • Graduated Repayment – The borrower would make payments lower than the standard repayment plan, but would gradually increase every two years.
    • Income Contingent(ICR) – In this plan, the borrower would make payments based on their income, family size, loan balance, and interest rate.Borrowers in the ICR can have a payment as low as $0.00/mo
    • Income Based(IBR) – This plan bases the borrowers payment strictly on their income and family size.  The balance of the loan and interest rate are not used in calculating the monthly payment.  The borrower would be responsible to pay 15% of their discretionary income to their federal student loans. Borrowers in the IBR can have a payment as low as $0.00/mo
    • Pay As You Earn(PAYE) – This plan usually has the lowest monthly payment, and is also based on your income but uses 10% of your discretionary income as a payment instead of the 15% used in IBR.  Qualifying for the PAYE repayment plan is more difficult than the others. Borrowers in the PAYE can have a payment as low as $0.00/mo


Interest Forgiveness

With the Obama Student Forgiveness Program, IBR doesn’t capitalize on the subsidized portion of one’s loan. This usually applies if the IBR is less that what’s normally in interest and for the first three years of the IBR. Depending on the payment plan as well as the loan balance, the amount can amount to thousands of dollars.

Case: Consider a scenario where you owe $40,000 in student loans payable in 25 years and at an interest rate of 6.875%. Considering your annual income is $25,000, you’d be required to pay 229.17 on a monthly basis. You, however, qualify for an IBR payment plan of $93.63. In such a case, you’d be forgiven $135.48 in interest every month. If your financial situation doesn’t change for three years, you’d be forgiven $4,877.28.

Student Loan Forgiveness At The End Of The Term

If you enroll into either the Income Contingent, Income Based, or Pay As You Earn repayment plans, you loan balance would be forgiven at the end of the term if you still have a remaining balance.  The term of the loan would be between 20-25 years depending on which repayment plan you choose, and when your loans were originally borrowed.  How much you will forgiven will depend on your original loan amount, how much you are earning, and how much your earnings fluctuate during your repayment term.

Example: Borrower owes $85,000 in federal student loans.  The interest rate is 6.875% and the term is 25 years in the Income Based Repayment Plan.  The borrower is currently earning $35,000 per year, and expects their income to stay the same for the term of the loan.  This borrower would qualify for an IBR payment of $218.69, and assuming the income doesnt change, would make these payments for 25 years or 300 payments. The total amount the borrower would pay on this loan is 300 x $218.69 = $65,607 of the original $85,000 that was borrowed.  This person would qualify for $19,393 in student loan forgiveness after making those qualifying payments. This does not include the interest that is being forgiven as the borrower would normally pay much more than the original debt due to the interest on the loan.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Payments made in the Direct Loan program in an IBR, ICR, or PAYE repayment count as qualifying payments for those who work in the public sector and would like to apply for public service loan forgiveness.  In the public service loan forgiveness program, you may qualify for forgiveness after 10 years or 120 payments instead of the standard 20-25 year forgiveness.   Unfortunately, many people are not aware that they must be in the Direct Loan program and in one of the correct repayment plans to qualify for this forgiveness.  The public service loan forgiveness program is also quite often confused with the term Obama Student Loan Forgiveness.


Teacher & Disability Forgiveness

There are other programs that offer student loan forgiveness as well, but they are not part of the Obama Student Loan Forgiveness (Direct Loan) program.  These are separate programs that exist specifically to help teachers by offering principal reduction, or the disabled by offering a complete discharge on your federal student loans.  For more information on these programs please visit the Teacher Loan Forgiveness page, or the Total & Permanent Disability Discharge page.

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