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Student Loan Repayment Options

The average student loan debt is more than $35,000. If you are ready to start repaying your Federal student loan debt, there are several repayment options available to you.

Most borrowers start with the standard plan and adjust their repayment option as needed. There are 3 repayment plans that have 10-15 year loan terms, with fixed or graduated payments and typically cost the least in interest.

a. Standard repayment plan
i. Up to 10 years
ii. Plan with the least amount of interest paid over time

b. Graduated repayment plan
i. Up to 10 years
ii. Payments increase every two years

c. Income-sensitive repayment plan
i. 15 years
ii. Payments based on annual income

The next set of plans has longer repayment terms of 20-25 years. Borrowers repay their debt based on a few factors, like income and family size. Some debt might even be forgiven after enough payments have been made.

d. Extended repayment plan
i. Fixed or graduated payments
ii. Up to 25 years

e. Revised Pay As You Earn repayment plan
i. Payments are recalculated each year and are based on your updated income and family size.
ii. After 20 or 25 years of qualified payments, loan is forgiven

f. Income-based repayment loan (IBR)
i. Payments change with income and other factors
ii. After 20 or 25 years of qualified payments, loan is forgiven

g. Income-contingent repayment plan
i. Payments based on individual situation: family size, gross income and total amount of loans
ii. After 25 years of qualified payments, loan is forgiven

Now let’s compare three repayment plans for a single person, making a $28,000 salary, living in New York State, with $30,000 of student loan debt at a 5% interest rate.


Type of Repayment

Lowest Payment

Highest Payment

Length of Repayment

Total Debt Repaid

Total Debt Forgiven

Standard Repayment



120 months



IBR New Borrower



240 months



Revised Pay As You Earn



255 months




In this example, the standard repayment plan results in the least debt, but the other two repayment options have a lower initial payment that increases over time.

If you are struggling with student loan debt repayment options, ACCC can help sort out the confusion.

Visit to learn more student loan repayment options.





American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit debt counseling agency offering free debt counseling services and a low-cost debt management services. As one of the nation's leading credit counseling agencies, our certified and highly trained credit counselors help individuals to understand the advantages and disadvantages of government debt consolidation programs, of a private debt consolidation program and of debt consolidation with bad credit. In contrast to a debt consolidation counseling agency or credit card counseling service, we help consumers find credit debt relief by determining the most effective way to pay off debt without taking on new loans.

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