How much student loan debt is too much, too little, or just right? One way of answering this question is by looking at standards for loan repayment. Current federal policy enacted July 1, 2009, as Income-Based Repayment (IBR) recognizes that a "financial hardship" exists when monthly student loan payments exceed 10% of discretionary income (Kittredge, 2010). Beyond that threshold, borrowers may apply to request smaller monthly payments. IBR was designed for those with high debt-to-income ratios persisting over a long period of time and also includes provisions for loan forgiveness, particularly for people in public service occupations.
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