Loan Consolidation Application Tutorial
Choose Repayment Plan
This page explains the various types of income-based plans and how payments are calculated. You can also estimate your payments. 1 This estimate will help you decide which plan is best for you.
You’ll need to input your tax filing status and family size. Your family size includes:
- children you have
- children you’re expecting if you or your spouse is pregnant
- and anyone else in the household receiving more than 50% of their support from you, the borrower.
If you are married and your spouse has a loan balance, fill that in. If your filing status is ‘single,’ you won’t see spouse-related questions. 2
Put in your best estimate for your adjusted gross income, including your spouse’s. If you are not married, just enter your own adjusted gross income. 3 (This is your income after taxes and deductions.)
Your estimated payment amount will display. 4
If you are married and your spouse doesn’t have a student loan balance, or if you don’t know your spouse’s loan balance, or if you are single, enter zero. If you enter a spouse balance, you may be able to pay your loans together with one monthly payment, although your loans will NOT be combined.
Scrolling down the page you’ll see different payment options. 1 Each option explains how much the payments will be and for how long, as well as how much you’ll pay over time if you make only that payment.
To get your loan out of default, you must select an income-related plan; these include Income-Sensitive, Income-Based, Pay as You Earn, and Revised Pay as You Earn.
Income-contingent plans are required for Parent PLUS loans that are in default.
CHECK HERE for more information about repayment plans.
At the bottom, choose your payment plan from the dropdown 1 and click “CONTINUE.” 2
At the end of the process, the servicer will send you a summary letter that explains what your payments will be and the payment terms, including the interest rate. You’ll have a ten-day review period at that time to decide whether you want the loan consolidation to go through. If you have second thoughts about the payment plan you’ve chosen, you have an option to change it with the servicer before it goes through, or you can cancel the process entirely before it’s finalized.
This page covers additional personal information to help determine your monthly loan payment.
The first question asks if you work for a nonprofit or government agency. Make your selection and scroll down the page. 1
The answer determines your eligibility for certain loan forgiveness programs, but it doesn’t change your payment.
Next select the number of children you have, including unborn children if you or your spouse is pregnant. 1
Also select any other dependents who live with you (such as if you are taking care of your parents) or anyone who receives more than half of their support from you. 2
Select your marital status. 3
If you select “married,” you will be asked if you want to repay your loan jointly with your spouse. 4
If your spouse is also on an income-contingent repayment plan, you can make one payment to cover both loans, but the loans will not be combined into one loan.
If you select to jointly repay, your spouse will be required to log in and cosign the loan application.
Your servicer will ask you to update your income information annually as long as you stay on an income-based repayment plan.
Now you’ll link your most recent tax return to your loan consolidation application, in order to verify your income and qualify for an income-related repayment plan. When you click “LINK TO IRS” you’ll be taken to the IRS website to allow access to your tax return information and link it to your application. 1
You must perform this step that takes you to the IRS website, even if you haven’t filed your taxes recently. Once on the IRS website, you can click “RETURN” to StudentLoans.gov and continue your application.
If you have filed a return in the last year, you want your most recent tax return to upload to the application. That will prevent you from having to submit paystubs later.
Enter your filing status again and the address that was on your most recent tax return. You’ll also want to complete or correct any other information on this page.
Click “SUBMIT” to confirm that you are authorized to access the information. 1
If you haven’t filed your taxes in the last year, you can click “Return to StudentLoans.gov” 2 and continue with the application.
Click the “TRANSFER NOW” button to transfer your tax information into your application. 1
You’ll be taken back to the StudentLoans.gov site, and you’ll notice the application now has the transferred information. 2
You’ll be returned to StudentLoans.gov, and you’ll see your exact Adjusted Gross Income on the screen. If you are not automatically returned to your application, or if the information does not transfer, you can call Trellis for assistance.
If your tax return status is ‘single,’ you won’t have spouse-related questions on your application. 1 If your status is ‘married and filing jointly’ and you choose NO for the ‘Are you separated from your spouse?’ questions, you’ll be asked if you can access your spouse’s income information and have them sign the application. 2
Selecting YES to the ‘access information’ question means your spouse must create their own FSA ID, log into this website, and cosign the application to give permission for the loan servicer to use your spouse’s information when calculating the monthly payment amount.
Borrowers who file single or separate from their spouse will have their payments based only on their own 1040. Borrowers who file jointly will have their payments based on the joint 1040 if the spouse cosigns the application.
Three days after submitting your application, call your new servicer to see if there is any remaining paperwork or income verification (paystub) that needs to be completed.
The IRS income confirmation at the bottom of the page asks if your income has significantly changed since your last tax return. 1
If you select YES, you’ll get additional questions you’ll need to answer. 2
If your income has changed, you’ll need to submit documentation of income.
You will also be asked if you have taxable income. 3
Click “CONTINUE” when you are done.
If you select YES, you get additional questions. Income from employment, unemployment, dividend income, interest income, tips, or alimony is regarded as taxable income.
Do not to include any untaxed income such as Social Security income, child support, or federal or state public assistance.
If you select YES to this, you will be presented with a list of alternative forms of documentation of income. Usually a paystub is the simplest.
Make sure to write on the paystub how often you are paid, if it doesn’t already say that on the paystub. If you are self-employed, or don’t get a paystub, you can include a self-certification letter; for that letter, just list out how much you make annually and sign that letter and submit it.