For homebuyers or homeowners with student loan debt in an Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan planning to purchase or refinance a home, it’s important to know that the type of mortgage you apply and the type of repayment plan your student loans are set up on can impact qualifying for a mortgage.
For example, the student loan repayment calculation guidelines for Income Based Repayment (IBR), Income Driven (IDR), Graduated, PAYE or REPAYE plan can vary widely depending on if you are apply for Conventional (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac), FHA, VA, or USDA home.
Currently, there is mass confusion regarding what payment amount should be included in a buyers DTI ratio when student loans are in an Income-Based Repayment (IBR), IDR, Graduated, Adjustable, PAYE, or REPAYE plan.
The primary reasons for so much confusion is from extremely outdated and inaccurate information on the Internet, lender overlays, underwriters interpreting the published rules differently, and Loan Officers not keeping up with the changes.
This article includes the MOST UPDATED mortgage qualifying guidelines for buyers with student loans in some sort of Income Based Repayment Plan (IBR), Income Driven Repayment (IDR) plan, Graduated, PAYE or REPAYE plan.
*This page includes updated guidelines
Fannie Mae and IBR Student Loan Guidelines
Fannie Mae insures Conventional loans.
If Payment Reports on Credit: The reported amount can be used for qualifying purposes. This includes IBR/IDR/PAYE/REPAYE repayment plans.
If No Payment (or $0 payment) Reports on Credit: Lender must use either 1% of the outstanding student loan balance or a calculated payment that will fully amortize the loan based on the documented loan repayment terms.
Special Note: If a parent, grandparent, relative, fiance/boyfriend/girlfriend has been making the payment on a student loan debt (or any installment debt) for the last 12 months, that payment can be excluded from the applicants DTI ratios. This applies even if the person is not obligated on the student loan or installment debt but cannot be an interested party (seller, Realtor or Lender) to the transaction
Freddie Mac and IBR Student Loan Guidelines
Freddie Mac insures Conventional loans.
If Payment or No Payment Reports on Credit: Freddie Mac requires the higher payment be used between what is reported on the credit report or .50% of the greater of the original loan balance or outstanding balance. This includes all student loans that are either in fully amortized repayment, IBR/IDR/PAYE/REPAYE repayment plans.
If No Payment Reports on Credit: If no payment reports on credit due to student loans being in deferment or in forbearance, lender must use the greater of the payment on credit report or 1% or the greater of the original loan balance or outstanding balance.
Read this article for borrowers who have a public service student loan forgiveness plan ==>
Reference: Freddie Mac Loan Product Advisor Guideline Matrix
FHA Mortgage and IBR Student Loan Guidelines
If the monthly payment reported on credit is less than 1% of of the outstanding loan balance or less than what is reported on the credit report, the borrower must provide documentation of the actual payment, terms, and balance.
Regardless of the payment status, the lender must use either:
- The Greater of:
- 1% of the outstanding student loan balance; or
- The monthly payment reported on credit; or
- Actual documented payment that will amortize (pay off) the loan over it’s term
FHA HUD 4000.1 manual (994 pages)
VA Mortgage and IBR Student Loan Guidelines
- Lender may use the Income Based Repayment (IBR) payment if it’s verified (including $0.00) that the payment is fixed for a minimum of 12 months from the closing date.
- When the payment is fixed for less than 12 months from the closing date, the lender must use the regularly calculated payment once the IBR ends.
- When no payment is reported or available, the lender must use a payment calculation using 5% of the current balance, divided by 12 (months) as the qualifying payment.
Reference: VA Circular 26-17-02
USDA Mortgage and IBR Student Loan Guidelines
If Payment is Not Fixed: If a student loan repayment is based on the borrowers income (IBR/IDR) and adjustable, or graduated USDA requires all lenders use 1% of the student loan balance be used for calculation in the DTI ratio.
If Payment is Fixed: The lender may use the fixed payment established on student loans when the lender obtains documentation verifying the payment, interest rate, and loan term will not adjust. The borrower must provide evidence from the student loan servicer that the payment will not change.
Reference: USDA Rural Development (RD) 3555 Handbook
Get the Facts & Know Your Options
Don’t let your agent or mortgage lender’s confusion with student loans in IBR get your loan denied after submitting or wrongly preapproved just because they don’t understand how student loan payments affect qualifying.
Contact me here if you would like to ask a question about how much you will qualify for with your student loan debt, or contact me here to learn more about the various down payment assistance programs you may be eligible for.