03/17/2014 05:34 pm ET Updated May 17, 2014

I'm Paying $0 per Month Towards My Student Loans

Huffington Post Reader Question

Dear Steve,

I have $32,000.00 in school loans at 8% interest, incurred between 1985-1994. I obtained a bachelors and graduate degree during that time. I unwisely deferred these loans based on income/circumstances. My only positive is that I have never defaulted. I currently am on my second year of the IBR plan as my income is dreadful. My repayment is $0 due to this low income. Nelnet is the servicer on my loan.

I am overwhelmed and unsure what option I should take. Do I continue with IBR? Does the computed $0/month payment qualify to be put towards the 25 year repayment where balance will be forgiven? If not, what other plan should I consider? I just do not know what to do. Please advise.


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Dear Michelle,

It does not sound like you are disabled or work for a non-profit or in some other form of public service. But it's worth checking the qualifying fields here.

Outside of that it sounds like the Income Based Repayment (IBR) program makes sense for you. Under the current program you need to make 25 years of payments and you've already made two at the $0 per month level. Keep it up because they do count.

The only gotcha I see right now is to absolutely make sure you don't miss your annual IBR recertification form. If you miss sending that in your loan will reset to the ten year repayment amount which you can't afford. I'd set up some sort of reminder for ten months after your IBR last renewed so you absolutely get a jump on this.


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