Distribution of Outstanding Federal Direct Loan Dollars and Recipients by Repayment Plan

Participation in Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans for federal student loans has grown dramatically in recent years. In March 2018, 29% of the borrowers in repayment on federal Direct Loans were in programs limiting their payments to an affordable percentage of their discretionary incomes, up from 13% in 2014.

Figure 13A: Distribution of Outstanding Federal Direct Loan Dollars and Borrowers by Repayment Plan, Second Quarter 2014, 2016, and 2018

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Includes Direct Loan borrowers in repayment, deferment, and forbearance. Because some borrowers have multiple loans, recipients may be counted multiple times across varying loan statuses. Income-driven plans include REPAYE, Pay As You Earn, Income-Contingent Repayment, and Income-Based Repayment. Level payment plans require monthly payments that are the same over a fixed period of time. Alternative repayment plans are customized to borrowers’ circumstances. Under the graduated payment plan, monthly payments increase over time. The second quarter of FY18 ended on March 31, 2018. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Data Center, Federal Student Loan Portfolio.

  • In March 2018, borrowers in IDR plans held 49% of the outstanding debt in repayment under the federal Direct Loan program, up from 27% in 2014.