What You Need to Know About Income Driven Repayment (IDR) Plans

What Are Income-Driven Repayment Plans?

Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) can make monthly payments more affordable for borrowers with lower income. In an IDR Plan monthly payments are calculated as a percentage of ‘discretionary income’ based on income and family size. If your income increases while on an IDR plan, your payments can increase. Conversely, if you lose income perhaps due to losing your job, your monthly payment can be reduced to $0.00. After completion of an IDR Plan, any remaining debt may be forgiven. Below is a chart with how different IDR Plans monthly payments are calculated and an estimated timeline for the plan.

Different IDR Plans How is my monthly payment calculated?

*percentage of “discretionary” income*

How many years can I stay in the plan for?

*any remaining debt is forgiven after completing these timeframes*

Revised Pay as You Earn (REPAYE) 10% 20-25 years
Pay as You Earn (PAYE) 10% 20 years
“New” Income-Based Repayment (IBR) 10% 20 years
Income Based Repayment (IBR) 15% 25 years
Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) 20% 25 years

When Do I Sign Up For an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan?

After your 6-month grace period ends (when you leave your higher education program or graduate) you will automatically enter the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan. You can enroll in an IDR Plan at any time when you are paying off your student loans.

To remain in an IDR plan, you must recertify your income and family size with your servicer annually. If you don’t recertify by your specific deadline, your monthly payment will increase to the amount you would pay under the 10 year Standard Repayment Plan.

If you don’t recertify your income by the annual deadline any unpaid interest will be capitalized (added to the principal balance of your loans). This will increase the total cost of your loans over time because you will then pay interest on the increased loan principal balance.

Borrowers who fail to recertify can still reenter an IDR plan at any time. And, borrowers can recertify their income at any time if they need to adjust their payments due to loss of income or job.

What Happens If My Income Increases Under the Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan?

If your income ever increases to the point that your calculated monthly payment amount would be more than the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan, you’ll remain on the IDR plan, but your payment will no longer be based on your income.

Instead, your required monthly payment will be the amount you would pay under the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan, based on the loan amount you owed when you first began repayment. Again IDR Plans are especially beneficial to borrowers who are lower-income or may have become unemployed. 

Provided by:

COVID-19 Relief: CARES Act & Executive Action Impact on Student Loans

What is the CARES Act & Executive Action?

The CARES Act provides relief to some student loan borrowers during COVID-19 by mandating that federally-held, direct student loans are automatically placed in an administrative forbearance that suspends both payments and interest until September 30, 2020. President Joe Biden used executive action to extend this relief until September 30, 2021.

Who qualifies to have loans paused?

Under the CARES Act and executive actions, federal Direct Loans all qualify as well as Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) that are held by the Department of Education. The only loans that do not qualify are commercially-held FFEL Loans, Perkins Loans owned by your college, and private loans.

Is the pause automatic or do I need to opt-in?

The pause on most federal student loans is automatic and you DO NOT need to opt-in. Eligible federal loans are automatically placed in administrative forbearance from March 13, 2020, to September 30, 2021. If you made a payment after March 13, you can request a refund by contacting your servicer.

How does the pause work with the grace period upon graduation?

Existing rules allow for students who leave their program or recent graduates to not begin making payments on their federal student loans until 6 months after leaving school – this is called the “grace period.” Those whose “grace period” ends during the pause on federal student loan payments will automatically have their payments paused as well. Those whose “grace period” ends after the pause on federal student loan payments expires will immediately enter repayment.

How does this affect Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

The Department of Education states that suspended payments WILL be counted toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) if you meet all other loan forgiveness requirements. These requirements include if: (1) you have Federal Direct Loans, (2) continue to work for an eligible employer, and (3) were on a qualifying repayment plan prior to the implementation of the CARES Act.

What happens if I am already in default?

The Department of Education announced a pause on debt collection against defaulted borrowers, including wage garnishment, reduction of tax refunds, and reduction of Social Security and Social Security disability benefits. Recent guidance states that the pause on debt collection applies from March 13, 2020, to September 30, 2021. If collections against you were being processed after March 13, you are eligible for a refund on that amount.

What happens after September 30, 2021?

At this time, federal student loan payments will resume on October 1, 2021. If you are concerned about your ability to make payments, the guidance states that your federal loans are eligible for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, setting your payment based on your income for the next 12 months.

Provided by:

5 Ways to Connect With Your Classmates in a Virtual Setting

5 Ways to Connect With Your Classmates in a Virtual Setting

By MONICA AGUILERA

Boba-drinking, Zelda-playing, Horror-watching brown girl from Oaxacalifornia.

During our Let’s Go to College LA launch, we found out that one of the biggest concerns college students had during this online transition was “how do we meet other people?” While prior to this semester, all it took was a “Do you have a pencil I can borrow?” to spark up a conversation with your classmate, that interaction is not very convenient now in an online setting. Meeting other people is important in order to establish connections, build study groups, and create long-term friendships. We have gathered some ways you can connect with others as we continue online learning! 

 

  1. Facebook Groups: 
    • Yes Facebook is still useful! Did you know some college campuses have Facebook pages and Facebook groups where students sell textbooks, recommend professors and classes, and share different events going on at campus?
  2. Wildfire: 
    • Wildfire is similar to Facebook but on a separate app. In your bio, you can share your major, your graduation year,and your residence hall. This is for folks looking for a more close-knit social network of their campus! 
  3. Zoom: 
    • Fellow introverts, use Zoom private message to your advantage! Respectfully reach out to your classmates asking if they want to form a study group for that class. You can share notes, discuss class topics, and fill each other in if an absence occurs! You can also ask in the chat box if anyone wants to start a Group Me or if one already exists! 
  4. Clubs: 
    • Clubs are still meeting during COVID, preferably check their Instagram pages to follow up on their meeting dates and times. You can also look up the different clubs your school offers and their contact info on your college’s club directory page!
  5. Campus Events: 
    • Campus events are still happening online as well! Apart from clubs hosting activities, campus resources like your Women’s Center, LGBTQ+ center, Black Resource Center, etc hold events too! Explore the different resources you have on campus and connect with them to attend their events and meet others.

Basic Needs: Student Navigator Network

Basic Needs: Student Navigator Network 

The Student Navigator Network is a referral service amidst COVID-19 that links students with financial, academic, and personal resources. This partnership between Swipe up Hunger and Rise employs and trains student navigators to help their peers and diminish the stigma of asking for help and assistance. Student Navigators help their peers apply for emergency financial assistance, find and access local and communal support, navigate public benefits, and receive timely information on policies, programs, and services. 

COVID-19: Learn the Facts, How to Protect Yourself, and Where to Get Tested

COVID-19: Learn the Facts, How to Protect Yourself, and Where to Get Tested

By ARIANA LOPEZ TORRES

Ariana is studying microbiology, she enjoys listening to true-crime podcasts and spending time with her cat Luna.

What is COVID-19? 

Coronavirus is a type of virus. There are different kinds such as the coronavirus that commonly circulates among humans and causes mild illness, like the common cold. The newly identified coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has caused a worldwide pandemic of a respiratory illness called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This new coronavirus emerged in China in December 2019.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms include cough, fever or chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, sore throat, a new loss of taste and smell, diarrhea, headache, new fatigue, nausea or vomiting and congestion or runny nose. COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have had a wide range of symptoms, from mild symptoms to severe illness. In rare cases, COVID-19 can lead to respiratory problems, kidney failure or death. 

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

Currently, there is no coronavirus vaccine yet. Since the new coronavirus can be spread from person to person, it is important to use a face mask covering your nose and mouth and practice physical distancing. Prevention involves frequent hand-washing, coughing into the bend of your elbow, and staying home when you are sick. Read more about ways to protect yourself

How is COVID-19 diagnosed and treated?

Diagnosis may be difficult with a physical exam because mild cases of COVID-19 may resemble the flu or a bad cold. A laboratory test can only confirm the diagnosis. As of now, there is no specific treatment for the virus. People who become sick from COVID-19 are treated with supportive measures: those that relieve symptoms. For severe cases, additional options for treatment can be research drugs and therapeutics. 

COVID-19 & students

University campuses across the United States are seeing a rise in positive COVID-19 due to campuses reversing back to in-person classes and students going back to dormitories. Notre Dame officials said that a majority of their cases can be traced to a SINGLE off-campus gathering. Students not wearing masks and gathering in large crowds has added to the rising positive cases universities have seen.

Read article here

Free testing sites in the 9 regions in California 

Superior California 

Testing sites in Stanislaus County 

North Coast

San Francisco Bay Area

Additional testing sites in the San Francisco Bay Area 

Northern San Joaquin Valley 

Central Coast

This includes testing sites in Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, San Benito County 

Testing Sites for San Luis Obispo 

Southern San Joaquin Valley

Inland Empire: This includes various testing sites in Riverside County and San Bernardino County 

Los Angeles County

Orange County 

Testing site for those with symptoms 

San Diego – Imperial 

Others

Testing sites throughout the state of California 

Testing sites throughout California and participating states 

Testing sites in the United States 

Mythbusters 

FACT: The coronavirus disease is caused by a virus,  NOT a bacteria 

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 is in a family of viruses called Coronaviridae. Antibiotics do not work against viruses. In some cases, people who become ill with COVID-19 may develop a bacterial infection as a complication. In this case, antibiotics may be recommended by a healthcare provider. 

FACT: The prolonged use of medical masks when properly worn, DOES NOT cause CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency

  • The prolonged use of medical masks can be uncomfortable, however, it does not lead to CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency. While wearing a medical mask, make sure it fits properly and that it is tight enough to allow you to breathe normally. Do not reuse a disposable mask and always change it as soon as it gets damp. 

FACT: There are currently no drugs licensed for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19

  • While several drug trials are ongoing, there is currently no proof that hydroxychloroquine or any other drug can cure or prevent COVID-19.

FACT: 5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19

  • Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks. 

FACT: The COVID-19 virus can spread in hot and humid climates

  • The COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in any climate, including areas with hot and humid weather. Additionally, there is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill new coronavirus or other diseases. 

Sources: 

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters