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With the unemployment rate soaring toward 10 percent and the average starting salary for college graduates down 2.2 percent this year student loan borrowers - whose average debt from student loans tops $22000 - are now having an even tougher time affording their student loan payments. The good news? Starting July 1 2009 graduates with federal college loans may be able to qualify for a new government program that can reduce the monthly payments on their student loans based on their income. Income-Based Repayment for Federal Student Loans The income-based repayment program created by Congress in 2007 as part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act will cap a borrowers monthly student loan payments at a percentage of her or his income when the borrowers income is at least 50 percent higher than the current federal poverty line for the borrowers family size.
The facts however did not support this attack. By 1977 only .3% of student loans had been discharged in bankruptcy. 6. Still the walls continued to close on student debtors. Up until 1984 only private student loans made by a nonprofit institution of higher education were excepted from discharge. 7. Next with the enactment of the Bankruptcy Amendments and Federal Judgeship Act of 1984 private loans from all nonprofit lenders were excepted from discharge. In 1990 the period of repayment before a discharge could be received was lengthened to 7 years. 8. In 1991 the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 1991 allowed the federal government to garnish up to 10% of disposable pay of defaulted borrowers. 9. In 1993 the Higher Education Amendments of 1992 added income contingent repayment which required payments of 20% of discretionary income to be paid towards Direct Loans.
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These income-based student loan payments will be calculated as 15 percent of the amount by which a borrowers adjusted gross income exceeds 150 percent of the poverty line. (For individuals the 2009 poverty line is $10830 in all states except Alaska and Hawaii. The complete federal poverty guidelines for 2009 are available on the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.) For example: 150 percent of the current individual poverty line of $10830 is $16245. If a borrowers annual adjusted gross income is $25000 the monthly payments on her or his eligible student loans would be capped at $109.44 - 15 percent of the difference between $25000 and $16245 divided by 12 months. If a borrowers annual adjusted gross income is $40000 the monthly payments on any eligible student loans would be capped at $296.94 ($40000 - $16245 multiplied by 15 percent divided by 12). Income-based monthly payments will be adjusted annually based on a borrowers federal tax return from the previous year.
Borrowers who are employed full-time in qualifying jobs in the public service sector may have their remaining student loan debt forgiven after just 10 years in the income-based repayment program and this forgiveness would be tax-free thanks to a ruling from the U.S. Treasury last year. Qualifying for Income-Based Repayment To find out if you qualify for income-based repayment on your federal college loans youll need to contact your lender and provide information about your financial situation - youll need to demonstrate "partial financial hardship" as defined by federal regulations. Only federal Stafford and Grad PLUS student loans in good standing along with consolidations of these college loans are eligible for income-based repayment. Federal Perkins loans are eligible only if theyve been included in a federal student loan consolidation.