The Biden administration has launched a beta version of its new student loan repayment plan application, giving borrowers an early shot at signing up for the program at

The Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan is an income-driven repayment (IDR) program that pegs a borrower’s monthly payment to their income, lowering their financial burden.

The new beta site comes as student loan repayments are set to resume this fall after a three-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a month after the Supreme Court blocked President Joe Biden’s plan to erase up to $20,000 in debt per student borrower. Interest will begin accruing in September, with monthly payments restarting in October for borrowers.

“For far too long, borrowers fell through the cracks of a broken system that failed to keep accurate track of their progress towards forgiveness,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said when the SAVE plan was announced last month.

“The Biden-Harris administration is taking another historic step to right these wrongs and announcing $39 billion in debt relief for another 804,000 borrowers,” he added. “By fixing past administrative failures, we are ensuring everyone gets the forgiveness they deserve, just as we have done for public servants, students who were cheated by their colleges, and borrowers with permanent disabilities, including veterans. This administration will not stop fighting to level the playing field in higher education.”

The beta site is available now at the Federal Student Aid income-driven repayment plan website.

“During the testing period, eligible borrowers can apply for the SAVE Plan, but some website functionality may be limited as the department’s technical team monitors site performance and refines and tweaks the application as needed,” the Education Department told MeriTalk in an email today. “This testing period will allow the department to monitor site performance through real-world use, test the site ahead of the official application launch, refine processes, and uncover any possible bugs prior to official launch.”

“When fully live, millions of borrowers will be able to complete the new application in ten minutes or less and will never have to reapply,” the agency explained. “The new IDR auto-recertification feature will prevent borrowers from the risk of missing their annual IDR recertification date, which has caused millions of borrowers each year to delay their time toward forgiveness and incur additional interest charges.”

Borrowers could cut their monthly payments in half or even have monthly payments of $0. Many others will save up to $1,000 a year on repayments, according to the Biden administration.

The program is based on income and family size, with lower-income households with more family members paying the least.

For instance, a household with four family members and an annual income of $60,000 would pay $0 per month under the new plan, while a one-person household with the same income would pay $227 a month, the Education Department said.

The SAVE plan is available to borrowers with a direct loan in good standing, the Education Department said.

It will replace the existing Revised Pay-As-You-Earn (REPAYE) plan, with people currently in the REPAYE plan being automatically enrolled in the SAVE plan – with their payments adjusted, the Biden administration added.

“Your payment will be based on your income,” Cardona explained during an Office of Personnel Management event today. “So, if you’re making less than $33,000 a year in your first job, your loan repayment will be $0, and interest is capped. Meaning once your salary starts going up, you’re able to make more payments, you’re expected to make more payments, pay back your loan.”

“That’s going to open the door to a lot of children who are coming from poor homes and say ‘Well, then if that income-driven repayment plan is in place, maybe college is on my radar now,’ where before $700 a month is not something they could afford,” he said. “Instead of 10 percent of your disposable income going toward college loans, we’ve reduced the number to five percent of your disposable income goes to college loans, which means we basically cut in half the monthly payment for college for undergraduate students in an effort to try to expand the number of students that go to college.”

“Over a lifetime, college graduates earn over a million dollars more than students who graduated high school. We want to add to the economy, we know that higher education access will not only improve the life of that student, but for the community they live in,” Cardona said. “Sign up, it’s called SAVE.”

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.