REPAYE vs. PAYE: Which Student Loans Are Better For You? [2021]

If you’re experiencing trouble paying back your education loans, what could be helpful for you? Well, you may get some help by registering in the income-driven repayment (IDR) program.

These programs can lower your costs by focusing your monthly payments and increasing your loan period. The question is, which IDR scheme is genuinely ideal for you?

PAYE and REPAYE are two of the significant IDR schemes widely available and accessible. Many individuals struggle to understand these two preliminary plans: REPAYE vs. PAYE.

Understanding how both options relate to each other is crucial. So, it’s essential to know the differences. This article will give the information you need regarding which plan is best for you.

REPAYE Vs. PAYE: Overview

There are numerous options provided to student loan debtors in need of repayment support. REPAYE and PAYE are part of schemes that allow you to spend 10% of your savings on monthly payments. If you make installments for 20 or 25 years, they will forgive your remaining debt.

REPAYE is generally simpler to qualify for, although PAYE may be a good choice for you, considering your conditions. When deciding between PAYE and REPAYE, you’ll have to perform the calculations to see which plan is better for you, but here are some tips to help you decide.


Pay As You Earn (PAYE) will be the most beneficial IDR scheme if you apply as a married student. It offers the least monthly payments and the quickest way to debt forgiveness. It fixes the repayment time at 20 years for students.

If you choose this option, the loan company will fix your monthly income at 10% of your income savings. But it can not be more than under a basic repayment scheme with a 10-year duration. PAYE eligibility may be a challenge, and you must prove your temporary financial problems.


The newest and most commonly available of the four IDR programs is Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE). It is accessible to almost everyone with federal student loans, making it the fastest increasing IDR plan.

REPAYE appears comparable to PAYE in the sense of installments, i.e., equal to 10% of your savings. However, there is no payment limit, so your expenses may be more significant than they would be on the standard program.

If you used all of your debts for undergraduate studies, your repayment period would be 20 years. If you take out loans for graduate or higher education, your repayment time will increase to 25 years.

Differences Between PAYE and REPAYE

There are a lot of misconceptions between both of the plans. This article will lead you through the main differences between PAYE and REPAYE. Let’s have a glance at the differential points.

Eligible Loans

The salary of the debtor determines eligibility for the PAYE program. Borrowers’ PAYE repayments should be lower than what they’d have spent under the 10-year typical repayment plan depending on earnings and family members. This scheme is also only for new borrowers, which implies the person has no unpaid amount on a federal loan.

Eligibility is dependent on the date you borrow the money since you should have your first Direct Loan after October 1, 2007. If the borrower gets a direct loan payment after October 1, 2011, they are also eligible.

The REPAYE plan has fewer qualifying limits. Even though your payments under the REPAYE program are more than your standard plan, you may still be eligible for the REPAYE plan. It gives you greater freedom in selecting your repayment program.

It allows you to extend your repayment schedule from the regular repayment plan if necessary. Students should have an eligible loan and get a direct loan payment on or after October 1, 2011.

Repayment Term

PAYE lasts 20 years both for undergraduate and graduate debts. It implies that if you stay on this plan for 20 years, they will forgive all of your loans and pay the excess amount as tax.

If you only have undergraduate student debts, REPAYE lasts 20 years. If you have any graduate student debts, the duration is 25 years. It will relate to all of your debts, including your undergraduate and graduate student loans, which would have a 25-year repayment term.

It is highly significant when considering PAYE versus REPAYE since the additional five years might cost you too much money.


Under PAYE, every student is not eligible for a repayment loan. Borrowers who are relatively new and fulfill the following three criteria can qualify:

  • Have a temporary financial crisis
  • Taken out government loans after September 30, 2007, and were not repaying previous debts at the time
  • After September 30, 2011, you take out new debt or your current debts.
  • But if you are deciding to apply for the REPAYE plan, every borrower with a qualified loan is eligible.

Payment Cap

PAYE has a cap on the payment you must pay each month. This cap is dependent on the initial amount due and the amount you will make on the Standard 10-year term. It would help you show a temporary financial crisis to qualify for PAYE benefits because the payments are limited.

REPAYE does not have a cap on payments. As a result, if your earnings rise considerably, so will your monthly installments. It may have a significant influence on married people.

Interest Subsidy

PAYE doesn’t account for excess interest costs on subsidized loans. Instead, the federal government will pay the expenses of your insurance for the first to three years. If you quit the program, you may see restricted interest capitalization.

The REPAYE program also pays the excess interest payments on subsidized loans for up to 3 years if your income is insufficient to meet them. Then the interest subsidy will try to keep 50% of any additional interest expenses that arise on your loan.

REPAYE allows qualifying unsubsidized loans to get a 50percentage interest subsidy from the start. Hence, the REPAYE interest subsidy is a definite victor for the vast majority of borrowers.

Marriage Penalty

If you’re on PAYE and register separately, your monthly repayment is dependent on your earnings and the amounts of federal loans you have. But, if you register jointly, your monthly payment is determined by the total salaries and Federal debts of you and your spouse.

It makes no difference how you file your taxes with REPAYE. When you’re married, your joint income and the amount of federal loan you both owe determine your necessary payments.

How to Choose Which One is Right For You

There is advice provided if you are unsure whether PAYE or REPAYE is the right option for you. Put your loan data into the Federal Student Aid Loan Simulator to check what your monthly repayments will be under one of the various IDR programs.

It will inform you which plans you are suitable for, how much you will owe throughout the life of the debt, and how much they would cancel if you are eligible for debt clearance.

Select REPAYE if:

  • You do not satisfy the salary or loan financing eligibility criteria for PAYE.
  • You seek a subsidy that pays 50% or 100% of due interest payments.
  • You don’t even have to deal with capitalized interest payments.
  • You estimate that your salary will stay low such that your payments will not surpass what you would pay under a 10-year term.

Select PAYE if:

  • It would help if you had a limit on your monthly repayments. As a result, they won’t exceed what you would spend on a plan of 10 years.
  • You have married, but you wish to get benefits depending on your income. You can register separately.
  • You have graduate student debts that you intend to repay over the next 20 years.

REPAYE Features Easier Qualification Standards

Borrowers must have one of the qualified loan types. All federal direct loan debtors, excluding anyone with parent PLUS payments, are eligible for REPAYE. There is no income-based repayment option for parent loans.

They have to get a direct loan payment on or after October 1, 2001. Monthly payments must not exceed what it would require under the standard repayment term of 10 years.

REPAYE has less strict qualifying requirements. For instance, you do not need to show financial hardship to join the program. In the case that you are not eligible for PAYE, REPAYE can be a possible option.

PAYE Caps Your Payment Size

PAYE sets a cap on the amount of money you may pay. The PAYE program is not available to you if your monthly payments are higher than the standard repayment term of 10 years.

It’s impossible to be eligible for PAYE if you’re going to spend more money each month than what you will under the Standard Repayment scheme. Unlike the standard plan, PAYE ensures that you’ll never pay more than the standard strategy.

REPAYE is Generally Better For Single Borrowers

REPAYE is usually preferable. Single people are more likely to qualify for REPAYE since it considers your spouse’s earnings, even if you submit your taxes individually.

If you’re married or deciding to get married in the coming days, your partner’s salary may raise the number of your REPAYE repayments.

PAYE Forgives Remaining Graduate Debt Sooner

PAYE forgives leftover graduate student loans sooner than most other student loan forgiveness schemes. It allows qualified graduate student debts to be canceled after 20 years, irrespective of whether you take money for an undergraduate or graduate education.

Switch From REPAYE to PAYE

When looking to switch plans, you should still meet the plan’s qualifying requirements. You should also properly consider the benefits and drawbacks of each program and if switching from one to another makes economic logic. In some situations, it may be profitable.

If you predict a significant salary increase, switching from REPAYE to PAYE may sound right for you. They may benefit from PAYE’s Standard Repayment Program payment limit of 10 years, which reduces the entire loan payment as income rises. However, switching makes no sense for somebody with a huge debt who will never reach the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan cap.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In this section of the comparison of PAYE vs. REPAYE, we’ll answer some FAQs about them.

Can you change REPAYE to PAYE?

You can change from REPAYE to PAYE as far as you are financially eligible for PAYE. You can change out REPAYE—you only have to be more careful about when you need to change out so that you don’t miss the opportunity. If you have previous debts and were not eligible for PAYE in the first place, you can convert back to IBR.

Is PAYE or REPAYE better for PSLF?

PSLF is the abbreviation of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The borrower who works for a certified company like a federal agency or charity and qualifies in an IDR program can earn student loan forgiveness after making 120 eligible monthly payments under the PSLF.

Single debtors are typically suitable REPAYE applicants since they consider your partner’s earnings, even if you pay your tax individually. Someone with a high salary who wants to apply for PSLF will most probably choose REPAYE since they will most certainly not be eligible for PAYE.

Is REPAYE a good idea?

REPAYE provides the best balance of client convenience and affordable monthly installments. It can be appropriate in the following situations:

  • You’re not married.
  • You assume a much better future salary.
  • You are not eligible for any other income-driven repayment schemes.
  • You are unable to obtain a graduate loan.
  • Your monthly amount is insufficient to meet your interest.
Does REPAYE qualify for loan forgiveness?

Yes, 20 years for debtors with undergraduate debts and 25 years for graduate debts can qualify for loan forgiveness under REPAYE. The amount canceled will be paid as income.

Even though the forgiven money represents taxed income, you will not need to spend taxes on it. You can be eligible to seek bankruptcy status. For further details, you should speak with a tax consultant.

Does PAYE include spouse income?

In the case of a married debtor submitting together, PAYE will consider the income of both the borrower and spouse. They will only view the earnings of a married borrower if he is registering individually.

Conclusion: REPAYE Vs. PAYE

REPAYE vs. PAYE are both fantastic options if you want to use IDR programs to ensure that your monthly debt repayment is reasonable. Just be aware that if you extend out your debt payment throughout twenty years, you may wind up spending a significant amount of interest—and you may end up with a considerable tax burden.

To decide which monthly payment is perfect for you, evaluate all of your repayment choices, considering the overall budget of payback and the accessibility of monthly installments.