This report is part of the SBPC’s Improving & Delivering Relief IDR paper series exploring ways to strengthen the IDR program via affordability, increased enrollment, and increased borrower protections.
This report synthesizes research, public records, and largely-overlooked documentary evidence from the Department of Education to identify various glaring warning signs that Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) is failing millions of borrowers who have been in repayment for decades on federal student loans—and that it is slated to continue doing so for years to come.
Reflecting its stated goal of preventing federal student loans from being a lifetime commitment, IDR offers borrowers the promise of loan forgiveness after 20 to 25 years of repayment. However, previous research shows that only 32 borrowers have ever secured loan forgiveness through IDR. This paper documents the administrative hurdles contributing to this failure and the industry records confirming that it is likely to continue. In its upcoming negotiated rulemaking, ED has the opportunity to address these breakdowns and provide an avenue for relief for borrowers who have been in repayment for decades.
Read more on the SBPC’s work related to income-driven repayment here.