Student loan program aims to lower payments

By Nick Guillory - email | bio | Twitter

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Recent college grads and past college grads can ease the burden from college loans thanks to a new government program.

Normally 6 months after school you'd have to start making loan payments over the next 10 years you might not be able to afford.

The Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan allows you to significantly lower your government student loan payments over 25 years.

In these tough economic times the IBR could take the strain off your pocket if you're not making much money.

John Brewer hasn't graduated from college yet, so he's not thinking about repaying his student loans.

"I don't have a job yet so I guess it's all dependent on if I have a job before I could consider payment," John Brewer said.

LSU-S Financial Aid advisor said students like John can likely benefit from the new IBR plan once he does join the work force.

"The government uses a formula based on student income and poverty rate, household size. It can dramatically decrease the payment amount of the student's loan when they go into repayment," Lisa Pickering said.

To find out what exactly your new repayment will be, you can use the IBR calculator on the government's financial aid website.

It's a plan John said might help him after college. "[I] might do more research on it, but it definitely sounds better now," Brewer said.

Lisa agrees, she said always know what you're getting into before making a major financial decision. "The best thing a student needs to do is reach out to the lender and don't be afraid to talk to your lender, because if your lender doesn't want you to defer they will bend over backwards," Pickering said.

Pickering said one downside to the new program is paying more interest especially if you spread out your payments.

For more information: - Infromation on program from - Information from Department of Education - IBR Calculator (needed to estimate your monthly payments)

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