Private student loans aren’t eligible for income-based repayment plans offered by the Education Department, and there’s no way to move those loans to the federal government.
Income-driven repayment plans tie student loan borrowers’ monthly payment amounts to a portion of their discretionary income. These plans also wipe out their remaining balance after they’ve made 240 or 300 qualifying payments.
IDR plans are a lifeline if you need some breathing room before tackling your student loan debt. They give you a payment amount you can afford to keep you can stay out of default.
Unfortunately, income-based repayment is only available for federal student loans. Private lenders such as Sallie Mae and SoFi don’t offer income-based repayment options to borrowers who need an affordable monthly payment.
At best, they’ll pause your payments temporarily with a deferment if you return to school or a forbearance if you’re experiencing financial hardship. Some lenders will let you make interest-only payments for a few months. But when that time is up, your monthly payment amount will skyrocket, forcing you to find private student loan help.
Related: Does Sallie Mae Offer Income-Based Repayment?