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What is a Standard Repayment Plan?

This is a federally sponsored loan repayment plan for federal student loan debt. It combines most federal student loans, including PLUS loans to parents, into a single monthly payment so it’s easier to pay back what you owe. The goal is to pay off your debt efficiently so you can finally get rid of your debt with minimized interest charges.

What types of federal loans can be included?

You may include any combination of the following types of federal student loans in your plan:

  • Direct student loans, subsidized and unsubsidized
  • Stafford loans, subsidized and unsubsidized
  • PLUS loans (Direct or FFEL) for parents and graduate students
  • Direct and FFEL Consolidation Loans

You cannot include private student loans and Perkins loans in this plan.

How does it work?

  1. First you choose which loans you want to include in the program.
    1. There is no requirement to include all of your loans, so if you want to leave some out or strategically arrange them into 2 repayment plans, you can do that.
  2. The term of the loan ranges from 10 to 30 years; the terms depends on whether your plan includes a Direct Consolidation Loan and how much total debt you include in the plan (see table below).
  3. The interest rate applied to your debt is a weighted average of the rates on all of the original loans you want to include.
  4. The monthly payments are set based on your total debt, term and interest rate – there is a minimum limit of $50 per month.
  5. Once your plan is arranged, you make one fixed payment every month until your loans are paid off – the payment amount never changes or adjusts unless you change plans.

Repayment plan terms – i.e. the length of your plan

If your plan does not include a Direct Consolidation Loan or FFEL Consolidation Loan, the term is 10 years. You can also apply for an Extended Repayment Plan that increases that term from 10 to 25 years.

If your plan includes a Direct or FFEL Consolidation, then the term is based on how much you owe in total:

Total education indebtednessTerm
Less than $7,50010 years
$7,501-$10,00012 years
$10,001-$20,00015 years
$20,001-$40,00020 years
$40,001-$60,00025 years
More than $60,0030 years

Advantages of standard repayment plans

There are two main benefits of this plan:

  1. You minimize total interest charges so you save money over the life of your loans
  2. You consolidate into a single fixed monthly payment, so it’s easier to manage the debt

Are there any disadvantages?

The main disadvantage with this plan is that your monthly payment amount may be high relative to your income. As a result it can be challenging to meet the payment schedule if you’re on a tight budget. This plan is best used by borrowers with a solid source of income and good cash flow.