[FAQs Part Three] Student Loan Income Based Repayment — The App Process

Income Based Repayment – Application Process


How do I apply for IBR?

You must contact each of the servicers that service your loans to apply for IBR. Direct Loan borrowers can go to www.dl.ed.gov. If you are unsure who holds your loans or who your loan servicer is, you can  access the U.S. Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Web site at



How long will it take my loan servicer to process my IBR application and determine if I am eligible to repay my student loans under IBR?

The time varies, but it may take a few weeks since the servicer will need to obtain documentation of your income and family size. If you can’t afford to continue making loan payments under your current repayment plan while your IBR application is being processed, contact your loan holder to discuss options such as a deferment or forbearance.


How will my loan servicer get the income and family size information it will need to determine if I am eligible for IBR, and if I am eligible, how much my monthly payment amount will be?

Each loan servicer will have its own documentation process. However, you will be required to either submit copies of your most recent IRS tax return and/or a release form for the loan servicer to obtain your tax information directly from the IRS.


If I am providing a tax return to my loan holder, does it have to include an original signature, or is a photocopy of my signed return acceptable?

An original signature is not required. You may provide your loan holder with a photocopy of the original signed tax return that you submitted to the IRS. If your copy of your tax return was not signed (for example, if you submitted an electronic return), you may print a copy of the return, sign it, and then submit the signed return (or a photocopy) to your loan holder. Most lenders will also allow you to submit your return by fax or by e-mailing a scanned copy of the signed return.

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