Qualifying for a Mortgage with Income Based Repayment (IBR) Student Loans

by on 3.16.16 in Qualifying

UPDATED March, 2017

Student loans and mortgage qualifying are indeed a hot topic. Since first posting this article in March 2016 both FHA and Fannie Mae have made significant changes to their treatment of Income Based Repayment student loans.

Some of the changes will help those with IBR student loans while others most certainly will not.

There are questions and answers in the comments section of this article every day.  This information is always kept up to date, and will always have the most current guidelines.

Feel free to ask your questions below, or reach out to us directly if you have specific questions, or would like an introduction to a lender that has experience with these guidelines and can help.

As more Millennials are looking to buy their first home, many are faced with the challenge of student loan debt and how lenders calculate payments when determining debt to income ratios.

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Unlike other types of debt that include monthly payments of principal and interest, student loans often have reduced or deferred payments that do not include principal repayment.

Specifically, Income Based Repayment (IBR) plans limit your federal student loan payments to a percentage of your income. These plans can go a long way towards making payments manageable for young professionals just entering the workforce at entry level salaries. For those with very low income, payments can be as little as $0.

This is where things get interesting for mortgage lenders seeking to make sound underwriting decisions. Should they calculate debt to income ratios using the payment set under the IBR plan? Or, since the payments must eventually rise if the loan is ever to be paid off, should they use some type of proxy for a fully amortizing payment?

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The answer depends on the type of mortgage you are applying for. Since the vast majority of borrowers with student loan debt aren’t looking at Jumbo loans, we’re going to focus on the different ways Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA and USDA answer this question.

If you love details, you can read the entire guideline in italics. If you like to get right to the point, skip to the BOTTOM LINE in bold.

IBR Using a Conventional Fannie Mae Loan

UPDATED April 25th, 2017 – Fannie Mae has recently updated its guidelines to allow borrowers to use the payment that appears on your credit report.  That can be an IBR, PAYE, or REPAYE payment that does not pay off your loan at the end of the term.

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If no payment is reported on the Credit Report, the lender must use one of the options below to determine the repayment amount:

  • 1% of the outstanding balance;
  • the actual payment that will fully amortize the loan(s) as documented in the credit report, by the student loan lender, or in documentation supplied by the borrower:
  • a calculated payment that will fully amortize the loan(s) based on the documented loan repayment terms: or
  • if the repayment terms are unknown, a calculated payment that will fully amortize the loan(s) based on the current prevailing student loan interest rate and the allowable repayment period shown in the table below.

The current prevailing student loan interest rate’ can be found on a variety of websites. For example. see U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid in E-1-03. List of Contacts.

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The following table specifies the repayment period to be used when calculating a fully amortizing payment.

Calculating a Student Loan Repayment

Total outstanding balance of all student loans Repayment Period
$1— $7.499 10 years
$7.500 — $9.999 12 years
$10.000 — $19,999 15 years
$20.000 —$39.999 20 years
$40.000 — $59.999 25 years
$60,000 + 30 years

Note: The lender is responsible for determining that the payment on the credit report or other documents provided by the student loan lender or borrower are fully amortizing payments.
Example: Calculating an Amortizing

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Payment Balance: $17.500
Repayment period: 15 years
Interest rate: 4.29%
Monthly Amortizing Payment: $132.00

BOTTOM LINE:  Use the actual amortizing payment. If you are unable to document the actual amortizing payment, use the calculated payment using the method above as it will nearly ALWAYS be less than 1% of the balance. If ALL ELSE FAILS, use 1% of the outstanding balance.

IBR Using a Conventional Freddie Mac Loan

When a monthly payment on an installment debt is not reported on the credit report or is listed as deferred, the Seller must obtain documentation verifying the monthly payment amount included in the monthly debt payment-to-income ratio. If no monthly payment is reported on a student loan that is deferred or is in forbearance, and there is no documentation in the Mortgage file indicating the proposed monthly payment amount (e.g., the loan verification letter), 1% of the outstanding balance will be considered to be the monthly amount for qualifying purposes.

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Examples of documentation of the required payment amount include:

  • A direct verification obtained from the creditor
  • A copy of the installment loan agreement obtained from the Borrower, or
  • If payments are currently deferred, the payment amount that will be required once the deferment or forbearance period has ended, as stated in a copy of a financial institution’s student loan certification or the installment loan agreement

While the Freddie Mac seller guide has not changed since the publishing of this article, we have spoken directly to Freddie Mac and received confirmation that they will in fact use the IBR payment when calculating debt to income ratios.

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BOTTOM LINE:  Use the documented IBR payment as long as it is greater than zero. For any loans with no payment, including IBR loans, the lender must fall back to the forbearance guidelines and use 1% of the outstanding balance unless you are able to provide documentation verifying the proposed monthly payments will be less than 1%.

IBR Using a Government FHA Loan

FHA 4000.1 Section II. A. 4. B. (H)

(4)  Calculation of Monthly Obligation

Regardless of the payment status, the Mortgagee must use either:

  • the greater of:
  • 1 percent of the outstanding balance on the loan; or
  • the monthly payment reported on the Borrower’s credit report; or
  • the actual documented payment, provided the payment will fully amortize the loan over its term.

BOTTOM LINE:  Unless you are able to provide documentation from your lender showing the actual payment that would amortize your loan in full over a fixed loan term is less than 1% of the balance, the lender will use 1% of your outstanding loan balance as the payment.

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IBR Using a Government VA Loan

Student Loans (5/1/2017)

  • Deferred Student Loans: If student loan repayments are scheduled to begin within 12 months of the date of VA loan closing, lenders should consider the anticipated monthly obligation in the loan analysis.  If the borrower is able to provide evidence that the debt may be deferred for a period outside that timeframe, the debt need not be considered in the analysis.
  • Student loans in Repayment:

If a student loan is in repayment or scheduled to begin within 12 months from the date of a VA loan closing, you must consider the anticipated monthly obligation in the loan analysis.

The anticipated monthly obligation should use the greater of:

Calculated payment at a rate of 5% of the outstanding balance divided by 12 months (example:  $25,000 student loan balance x 5% = $1,250 divided by 12 months = $104.17); or the payment reported on credit report

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Standard Repayment Plan: The required monthly payment is to be used for qualification purposes.

If a monthly payment is not reflected on the credit report or there is need for the payment amount required for qualification purposes, documentation, as evidenced by a letter from creditor or repayment schedule, is required to verify monthly payment.

BOTTOM LINE: Use the above formula for to calculate any payments that are not fully amortized to pay off at the end of the term.

IBR Using a Government USDA Loan

If the borrower has a student loan with an income based repayment, you must use 1% of the balance. Below you will find the guideline directly from the USDA underwriting manual:

Student loans. Lenders must include the greater of

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  • One percent of the outstanding loan balance. OR
  • The fixed payment as reflected on the credit report.

Income Based Repayment (IBR) plans; graduated plans, adjustable rates, interest only and deferred plans are examples of repayment plans that are subject to change and do not represent a fixed payment or repayment plan. These types of repayment plans are unacceptable to represent a long term fixed payment repayment plan.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

VA and USDA loans are both limited. Unless you are a veteran or buying in a “rural” area as defined by the USDA, these loans aren’t an option. If they are, the good news is both have straightforward, borrower friendly treatment of IBR plans.

For most people, the question will come down to which programs you qualify for and then which offers the most favorable income based repayment calculation. If you need to use FHA due to lower credit scores or higher debt to income ratios, things just got a lot tougher.

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After offering guidance earlier this year allowing the use of IBR payments, the current guidelines require documentation of the actual amortizing payment or 1% of the outstanding balance will be used. In either case, the payment used for qualifying will be higher than the current IBR payment. If your loan balance is relatively large, this treatment will likely erase much, if not all, of the benefit of FHA’s higher debt to income ratios.

If you are able to qualify using Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac programs, you have a good bit more flexibility. In most cases, a borrower that can be approved through Fannie Mae’s automated underwriting system (AUS) will also be approved through Freddie Mac’s AUS. This is great news if you have an IBR payment that is greater than zero. Freddie will use the IBR payment reported on the credit report so you should be home free.

If you are working with a lender that ONLY offers loans underwritten to Fannie Mae guidelines OR you have an IBR payment of $0, Fannie has an option that will not be as bad as using 1% of the balance.

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Let’s look at an actual scenario for a borrower I’m working with right now.

She’s looking to buy a home for $350,000. Her income is just over $72,000 per year. She just went through the annual review on her IBR plan and for the next 12 months she pays $146 a month on roughly $117,000 of student loan debt. If you’ve been paying attention up to this point, you see where this is going.

Since she has good credit and her debt to income ratios are under 45% using the IBR payment, we’re in luck. We can use Freddie Mac guidelines and pull the $146/month from the credit report and she’s good to go.

WHAT IF, her IBR payment had been set at zero? In that case, we could look at going FHA. Under current guidelines we simply use 1% of the $117,000 loan balance as the monthly payment. The bad news is this pushes us over the maximum FHA debt to income ratio of 56.9%. That doesn’t work so let’s move on to Fannie Mae.

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Assuming her lender would not give us documentation of a fully amortizing payment AND her loan documentation doesn’t provide enough information for us to calculate the amortizing payment, we have to use the calculated method using the ‘current prevailing student loan interest rate’.

Using the chart above we see that we use a 30 year term and the current prevailing interest rate is 4.29%. That leaves us with a monthly payment of $578. Even though the calculated payment is much higher than the actual IBR payment, we can keep the debt to income ratio just under the maximum 45% and approve the loan.

The bottom line is, “it’s complicated.” But there are options and if you’re working with an experienced loan officer who understands the intricacies of student loan qualifying guidelines, there should be an option for you. As always, we’re here to help. If you have any questions, or specific scenarios reach out directly or in the comments section below.

231 Comments
  1. Hi Josh,

    My wife and I are long-time home owners (17 years). We find ourselves in need of refinancing to replace the siding, windows, and gutters, as well as a little HVAC work. We both have doctoral degrees in a major that is not known for high incomes, and are both seeing our student loans increase yearly because of our IBR’s. My wife fortunately has a public university job, and is about half way through her PSLF program. The problem we are experiencing is with the underwriter who wants the fully amortized documentation. There is no way my wife’s tenured position will ever pay enough that we will ever be fortunate enough to leave the IBR program before her 120 payments are completed. What can we do? We have already paid for the appraisal, and perhaps more towards refinancing to one of the major loan companies who holds our mortgage. What do we do?

    comment by Dan in Kansas
    on 5.25.17 at 9.27 pm
    1. Hi Dan,

      Josh is out of town today, so I thought I would jump in here and help you out, Josh and I work together.

      If your student loans are in deferment or forbearance, you need to either use an amortized payment, or 1% of the balance of the loan as a qualifying payment when calculating your debt to income ratios.

      If your student loans are not deferred, and you are making an income based payment, you can use that payment when qualifying. You would need to use a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac conventional loan for your refinance.

      If you want to send me an email to [email protected], I can introduce you to a lender that can help in Kansas and has experience with using an IBR payment to qualify.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 5.25.17 at 10.45 pm
  2. Hi, I have high student loan dept and just made my first payment under IBR. I want to buy a house under USDA but they said the 1% requirement makes that impossible. Your article says they WILL consider the IBR. I dont understand why my lender doesnt know this. Can you help?

    comment by Patty Pritchett
    on 5.24.17 at 2.53 am
    1. Hi Patty,

      Unfortunately, USDA and FHA are still requiring that your student loan payment be fully amortized to pay off at the end of a set term.

      Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have changed their guidelines to allow you to use an income based payment as long as the loans are not deferred or in forbearance.

      Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both have options available that only requires a 3% down payment.

      P.S. I also received your request for an introduction to a lender that has experience with these guidelines. I’ve made that introduction in a separate email.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 5.24.17 at 7.49 am
      1. Hi Scott. Thank you so much. I have not yet recieved your email. Thank you!

        comment by Patricia Pritchett
        on 5.24.17 at 8.36 pm
        1. Check your spam or junk mail Patty, sometimes my emails get filtered 🙁

          comment by Scott Schang
          on 5.25.17 at 8.45 am
  3. Hi, i am currently working with a mortgage company and has be pre-approval but now that my student loan is being looked at. Is there any lender in Miami, fl i can work with that deals with IBR plans? That-s if they do not approved me. Thank you!

    comment by Melande Pierre
    on 5.22.17 at 12.35 pm
    1. comment by Scott Schang
      on 5.22.17 at 1.31 pm
  4. Hi,
    Can you recommend a lender in Colorado who is familiar with IBR plans?
    Thank you!

    comment by Jeff
    on 5.22.17 at 11.35 am
    1. Hi Jeff, yes, I can. Will send an email introduction now!

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 5.22.17 at 12.02 pm
  5. Hello,
    I’m looking to get some advice and hopefully some good news. So here is my situation. I went through a lender here in town (I’m in Wisconsin) and tried to apply for a USDA loan. However, she said that my DTI ratio is way too high because of my student loans. I have student loans totaling $72,000. I am on an IBR plan and pay $37/month. All 3 of my credit scores are above 620, so I’m fine there. And the student loans are really my only debt. I only make about $27,000/year. I didn’t realize that USDA and FHA loans will only do the 1% of the total balance when calculating DTI ratio, instead of what you’re actually paying. The lender said, because of this, I have no options other than to raise my income or lower my DTI ratio. Neither of those are going to happen anytime soon, so am I doomed? Will I not be able to own a home until I’m like 65 lol? Help!
    Thank you! 

    comment by Lea
    on 5.18.17 at 2.35 pm
    1. Hi Lea,

      You do not have to wait until you’re 65! Conventional financing will allow you to use your IBR payment, and will allow as little as 3% down payment.

      I’m surprised your lender didn’t mention this.

      If you would like an introduction to a lender that has experience with these guidelines, shoot me an email to [email protected] and I can introduce you to a lender friend of mine that is licensed in WI.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 5.18.17 at 3.59 pm
      1. I am having the same issue in Wisconsin. I have excellent credit, but a fairly low income and high student loan debt (which I pay via IBR). Do you know of anyone in the Milwaukee, WI area who could help with this? My IBR is around $140/month, but my 1% calculation is almost $500.

        comment by Callie
        on 5.26.17 at 2.21 pm
        1. Hi Callie,

          Yes, I have a lender friend that is licensed in WI that has experience with these guidelines. I will send an introduction by email.

          comment by Scott Schang
          on 5.26.17 at 10.32 pm
  6. Thank you for article. I’m in the same boat as everyone else. My IBR payment is $98/month plus I have private loans with a co-signer that are $595/month. Everything is up to date. No collections, no late pays on my credit. No car payment and I will have all of my cc debt paid before applying for a mortgage. My score is just under 700 right now and my salary is right around $50,000. I currently own a home and will have more than enough equity when I sell to put 20% down on the new home. With all of this info, do you think I will be able to get a loan using my IBR in Illinois?

    comment by Cheryl
    on 5.18.17 at 10.40 am
    1. comment by Scott Schang
      on 5.18.17 at 10.43 am
  7. Hi, I’m so confused! I don’t understand the amortized payment. I am currently on an IBR payment plan and the student loan forgiveness program (as I work for the state gov’t). My payment if using the 1% is around $700, though with the IBR, my payments are around $250. How do I get the payment to be on my credit report or will they use my IBR payment?

    comment by Dawntisha
    on 5.18.17 at 10.05 am
    1. Hi Dawntisha,

      It sounds like you may be speaking to a lender that is not familiar with the guidelines. If you are applying for a FHA mortgage, you have to use an amortized payment, or 1% of the balance. However, you can use a conventional loan and use your IBR payment.

      If you would like, shoot me an email to [email protected] and let me know what State you’re in. I can introduce you to a lender friend of mine that has experience with these guidelines.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 5.18.17 at 10.12 am
  8. Hello! Thank you so much for this great article. It’s so informative. My husband and I are both on IBR repayment plans and are both eligible for public service loan forgiveness. I’m looking for a lender with expertise in handling mortgages for these types of cases in New Jersey. Any feedback or recommendations would be awesome!

    comment by Dawn
    on 5.17.17 at 7.26 pm
    1. Hi Dawn,

      I have an amazing lender friend in NJ that has a lot of experience with these guidelines. I am happy to make an introduction.

      Keep an eye out for an email introducing you to Tony.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 5.17.17 at 7.47 pm
      1. Do you know anyone in NJ who can help me with a USDA loan? My student loan that is Income Based is causing my DTI ratio to be too high and a mortgage out of my reach even though I make plenty of income a month.

        comment by Jen
        on 5.24.17 at 1.54 pm
        1. Hi Jen,

          Yes, I have a great lender in NJ. I’ve sent you a separate email with an introduction. Unfortunately, you are not going to be able to use USDA with an IBR payment. Your only options for using your IBR payment is going to be a Conventional loan with 3% to 5% down payment.

          comment by Scott Schang
          on 5.24.17 at 2.24 pm
  9. Same situation here. I’m tired of dealing with lenders unfamiliar with these updated guidelines. Do you know anyone in AZ that I could talk to?

    comment by Matt
    on 5.15.17 at 1.06 pm
    1. Hey Matt, I’ll shoot you an email introduction to someone that has experience with these guidelines.

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 5.15.17 at 1.58 pm
  10. Wow, I don’t think the lender we’ve been dealing with is familiar with this update! She calculated the standard 1% which puts our DTI high. My husband’s loans are in forebearance until he starts back up in the fall and then in deferment through his Ph.D. program. He has about 70k worth of debt and we have my dad as a co-borrower. Can we still use the Fannie Mae updated plan with a co-borrower (as long as our blended debt/income qualifies?). Also, might you know of a way or a lender that’ll include university stipend contract earnings from a fellowship for income?

    comment by Kellee
    on 5.14.17 at 3.19 pm
    1. Hi Kellee,

      As long as your husband’s loans are in forbearance or deferment, you will be required to us a fully amortized payment calculation or 1% of the loan amount when calculating your debt to income ratio. If you are unable to purchase a home 1% of the calculation, maybe you can look at applying for an income based repayment plan that would allow you to use conventional financing to qualify.

      As for the stipend, you could get a second opinion. Income calculation is pretty well defined depending on the type of financing (underwriting guidelines) you are using.

      You would have to show that the income is customary for your employment, and that it is likely to continue. Even then, you would have to average the income over the past 2 years to determine the monthly contribution to your debt to income ratio calculation.

      I can definitely introduce you to a lender that understand all of these guidelines, and can help explore these options?

      If you would like an introduction, shoot me an email to [email protected] with the best contact information and the State that you’re buying in. I will be happy to connect you.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 5.14.17 at 4.27 pm
  11. Can I just say THANK YOU for keeping this information updated! It is so helpful!

    comment by Amy
    on 5.8.17 at 9.06 am
    1. Thank you Amy 🙂 This is such an important guideline, and the misinformation around this topic is staggering! We will stay on top of it.

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 5.9.17 at 9.14 am
  12. Hi, I am a teacher and I am on an ibr plan. My loan is under the USDA and I’m now being told they have to count 1% of my loan balance, which now takes me out of the debt to income ratio. If I’m going to have a public service forgiveness in a few years, how can I get around that 1% rule? It doesn’t make sense because that rule applies to the long term.

    comment by Sharon
    on 5.3.17 at 4.20 pm
    1. Hi Sharon,

      Unfortunately, as of today, USDA requires a fully amortized payment that will pay off at the end of the loan term to be used when calculating your debt to income ratios.

      Your only option for using your IBR payment is a conventional Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan.

      Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow as little as a 3% down payment.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 5.3.17 at 4.26 pm
  13. I am currently a teacher in Charleston, SC. I am interested in building a home. I told my builder I have been working on my credit and have improved my score drastically. She told me because it takes about 7 to 12 months to build I could get pre-approved with their preferred lender and work on my credit because the lender has an awesome program that they use and has been really successful within 3/6 month improvement rate. (I only needed to increase about 50/75 points). After applying and having the lender look over my credit (which the lender said was not the major issue), I was told because of student loan balance is high (6 figures because I have a doctorate degree) they could not help me without a cosigner for added income. My parents said don’t use that lender because i’m sure there are lenders that can help you. My realtor friend said they are waiting on approval for a program where they can use IBR but it hasn’t been approved yet. My realtor friend also said to consolidate my loans to help offset the 1%. My loans will also be forgiven in 10 years. I am currently in deferment because this is my last semester of school so I can’t consolidate until I am done. Can you point in the direction of a lender in Charleston, SC that can help? I really wanted to use the builder’s lender because they give you money at closing but my options are definitely open.

    comment by Denise
    on 4.30.17 at 2.48 am
    1. As long as your student loans are not in deferment, go back to them and let them know that Fannie Mae updated their guidelines last week, and as long as your IBR payment is reported on your credit report, you can use that payment for calculating your debt to income ratios.

      Hope this helps!

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 4.30.17 at 6.51 pm
  14. Hello. I am interested in purchasing new construction in a subdivision for $230,000. I make $56,000 annual income. My debt includes $380 auto (which I have the ability to put down $4000 to pay off the balance to get me down to 10 months left of pays, not to count this in my debt/income.
    I have $80,000 in student loans (currently in deferred status until Aug 2019) If out of deferment, I could pay $280 a month on the IBR plan. My credit is not that good. 635 middle credit score. 3 collections (1 doctor bill, and two old credit cards) along with six 30 day late payments in 2015. My credit took a hit after I had a baby in 2014 and I took off for a few months with no pay as well as go thought a year custody battle that cost me pretty much my life saving for attorney/court fees and caused me to get behind on my bills. I do receive about an additional $15K a year in child support but I wish not to include in my loan application. Are there any options for a home loan? Should I take my loans out of deferment and start paying the IBR plan amount? Will this help, if I paid down my auto loan to less than 10 months left. Also, how to do I get the student loans to report the IBR amount verses $0 or the higher normal amount? The home I am looking to purchase is in a rural area so I would qualify for the USDA. I also have never purchased a home before and would qualify for my state’s down payment assistance programs. I also have about 3% for a down payment if need be from family as a gift.
    Please help!

    comment by Lashae
    on 4.27.17 at 2.30 pm
    1. Hi Lashae,

      Hi Kim,

      It sounds like you may be able to qualify, but it’s difficult to say without getting more information.

      Your student loan cannot be in deferment for either FHA or USDA loans, and you would not be able to use the IBR payment for either of these loan programs either.

      Your only option would be to use a Conventional loan, with your student loan on an IBR payment.

      What State are you trying to buy in?

      I can introduce you to a lender that is licensed in your State that can help.

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 4.27.17 at 4.20 pm
  15. Hi,
    Thank you for all the info! I want to purchase a home at the end of this year. My situation is like everyone else. I currently have a IBR student loan with a $230 payment, my balance with the capitalize interest will be approx. $74K. My situation is complicated. I did file BK in 2015, my discharge paper was dated November 15th. Is there a home loan that I may qualify for if I won’t have 20% down? and where my IBR payment of $230.00 that is showing on my credit report will be used instead of the 1% balance rule? From reading the comments, FHA seems out of the picture.
    Thanks

    comment by Ty
    on 4.24.17 at 3.55 pm
    1. Hi Ty,

      The challenge you’re going to have is the BK. Was there a mortgage included in the BK? If not, Freddie Mac conventional is the only option for using your IBR payment when qualifying for the home loan. Conventional is going to require a 4 year waiting period from the discharge of the BK.

      If there was no mortgage included in the BK, you would be eligible for FHA financing in 2 years from the BK discharge date, but will have to use either a fully amortized payment, or 1% of the loan amount to qualify for the home loan.

      You always have the option of converting your payments to a fully amortized payment until you buy you home? Check with your student loan lender to see if that’s possible, and what the payment might be. Once you know what the amortized payment would be, check with your lender to see if it would work.

      If you do not have a lender that is familiar with these guidelines, shoot me an email to [email protected] and let me know where you’re buying. I can introduce you to someone with experience.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 4.24.17 at 4.47 pm
  16. Hello! My husband and I have a high debt to income ration due to student loans. My husband owes over $53000 and his loans are deferred because he is an active duty marine. In order to get a VA loan the debt to income ratio needs to be about 45% and because they use the standard payment we are at about $65. How do we figure out how much to start paying on his loan to be approved? And how long do we have to be making this payment for the lenders to see that we are on the plan?

    comment by Jessie
    on 4.20.17 at 3.06 pm
    1. Hi Jessie,

      VA is not restricted to a 45% debt to income ratio. The maximum is determined by the automated underwriting system. If you are unable to get an automated underwriting approval for some reason, then your debt to income may be more restrictive.

      VA uses a calculation to determine the payment for qualifying. The calculation is 5% of the loan amount, divided by 12. For your husband’s loan, $220 a month would be used for calculating debt to income.

      If you would like an introduction to a lender that is familiar with VA and student loan guidelines, you can email me at [email protected] and I can connect you with someone that can help.

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 4.20.17 at 3.10 pm
  17. Hi Josh,
    I have a bit of sticky situation 2 weeks before settlement. First, I already own a property that I will be leasing upon settlement of my new construction home. The problem that my banker failed to mention is that FHA will not allow me to use the rental income because my new home is only 55 miles away…So now I’m stuck trying to bring my dti back down 🙁 Second problem, I am also in an IBR and of course they want to use the 1%. The bank advised that I consolidate or get an amortization schedule. Is this a good ideal? How long do you think something like this will take? So the goal is to reduce my student loans to cancel out the mortgage on my first property. Is this do-able in a such a short timeline? How hard is it to get the student loans creditor to do an amortization schedule of the IBR payment??
    Thanks in advance,
    Shawna

    comment by Shawna
    on 4.17.17 at 9.15 pm
    1. Hi Shawna,
      I’m sorry you got caught by the FHA 100 mile rule for the new home. That was a new change when the updated FHA underwriting manual was released in 2015. Prior to that, there was no such requirement. If a loan officer doesn’t do many FHA loans, it’s easy to miss some of the changes like that one.

      On to your questions. I don’t think a consolidation or amortization will help much OR is necessary. FHA will not work for this you due to the 100 mile rule so you are looking at a conventional loan either way. Fannie Mae is more restrictive so assuming you can get an automated approval through Freddie Mac, you can use your IBR payment. If you go Freddie, you will likely need 5% down as the Home Possible 3% down options don’t allow you to own any other real estate.

      Where are you located? We can introduce you to a lender who is an expert in these circumstances to get you accurate advice on the best way to get you to a successful closing with your IBR loans.

      comment by Josh Lewis
      on 4.18.17 at 1.59 pm
  18. So if we qualify we should get a jumbo loan?

    comment by Tina
    on 4.15.17 at 11.56 pm
    1. A Jumbo loan may be a good option, but it’s not always your only option. Jumbo lenders are not going to be as consistent about how they calculate income based repayment. Jumbo interest rates are pretty close to conventional interest rates.

      You may also want to consider a piggyback, first/second combo. If you cannot find Jumbo lender that accepts your income based payment, maybe a Freddie Mac conventional first, and a HELOC or closed end second would work?

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 4.16.17 at 7.17 pm
  19. I’m currently on the IBR plan paying $167/month. My outstanding loan balance is 152,000. I was declined because Using the 1% requirement, my debt to income ratio is anout 62%. I was told by the lender that i would need to be on a fixed plan to lower my debt, which will guarantee approval. However, I won’t be able to afford the payments on a fixed plan. I’ve read the articles and comments to get a better understanding of my options. I’m wondering if Fannie Mae loans will be a better fit for me

    comment by Christie
    on 4.12.17 at 10.32 pm
    1. Hi Christie,

      Fannie Mae and FHA are both going to require that you use a fully amortized payment, or 1% of your balance. Not to worry, there is another option!

      Similar to Fannie Mae, is a conventional loan using Freddie Mac underwriting guidelines. Freddie Mac guidelines allow you to use your IBR payment to qualify.

      Shoot me an email to [email protected] and I can introduce you to a lender in your State that can help.

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 4.12.17 at 10.53 pm
  20. Same boat has everyone else 🙂 Do you have a lender in the KCMO that can assist with a buyer with high student loan debt, 26 months post discharged bankruptcy. Thanks!

    comment by Jane
    on 4.12.17 at 6.27 pm
    1. Hi Jane,

      This is going to be a tough one. Technically, you could qualify for a conventional loan using Freddie Mac guidelines and use your IBR payment. Was there a mortgage included in your bankruptcy?

      If anyone can do this, I have someone that I think can. Keep an eye on your email for an introduction to a lender friend of mine.

      The IBR payment is not the issue here, it’s going to be the bankruptcy that will be the biggest hurdle in your situation.

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 4.12.17 at 6.34 pm
  21. My IBR is $62 my loan amount is $170k. I applied for a loan but underwriting declined because it didn’t git thru automatic Freddie Mac under writing. They are saying that amount I’m paying needs to be pay loan within 990 months. And since $62 a month does not pay the loan in those months I don’t qualify. Is this true? Any way around it?Florida

    comment by Moses
    on 4.11.17 at 9.41 pm
    1. Hi Moses,

      It does not sound to me like this was underwritten properly, I have not had this experience. As I mentioned when we spoke over the phone, please send me a copy of the automated underwriting approval so I can review.

      I believe they made a mistake.

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 4.12.17 at 10.02 am
  22. Hello, I live in Lithonia Vs, the suburbs of Atlanta. I have an I BR . How do you qualify for a Freddie Mac conventional loan? Do you have to purchase a home through their program ? Also are there any lenders in the metro Atlanta area or Ga in general that you can refer me to. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    comment by Nita
    on 4.11.17 at 6.28 pm
  23. I am in desperate need of some guidance here. My husband and I have loads of student loan debt. He is VA eligible. I am on IBR and he is a current student. There is more to the story. Please help!! Also in Va.

    comment by Stephanie
    on 4.8.17 at 5.07 pm
    1. Hi Stephanie,

      You have options here. VA is not as flexible as Freddie Mac Conventional guidelines. I am going to introduce you to a lender friend that has experience with these guidelines and can help in VA. Keep an eye out for an email.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 4.8.17 at 7.47 pm
  24. Hi Scott, I’m in Virginia and trying to buy a home while on IBR. Do you have anybody you can recommend out this way?

    comment by John Jones
    on 4.6.17 at 8.12 am
    1. Hi John,

      Yes, I have a great lender that has experience with these guidelines. Sending email introduction now!

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 4.6.17 at 1.29 pm
  25. Sorry meant to include Hi Josh Lewis Scott Schang in the comment below.

    comment by Vanessa
    on 4.5.17 at 1.05 pm
  26. Hi Scott,

    I have read your article and everyone’s comments. I am so relieved to see other people are going through the same thing I am. It’s been a nightmare trying to get approved for a mortgage with my high student loan debt. My husband can get approved for a mortgage only if I’m not added to the loan but without adding in my income and having me on the loan it makes his debt to income ratio higher since cars are in both our names and he can only get approved for a small amount that wouldn’t even buy a house in this market. I’m in a similar situation as the teacher below as I’m a Therapist that works in nonprofit and my loans will be forgiven within the next 7 years. I see from your comments my best option is to try to get my payment form $0 to at least $10. Since I’m on the IBR payment plan they calculate the payment so how would I get that adjusted? Also I’m in Tampa, FL do you have a lender you can recommend?

    comment by Vanessa
    on 4.5.17 at 1.01 pm
    1. Hi Vanessa 🙂

      If you can get your payment adjusted to be above $0, that would make it a lot easier. In California, I have an investor that will allow a $0 payment, but most other lenders are requiring some payment to show up on the credit or a statement from the lender.

      I have a very experienced lender in FL that I will introduce you to. Keep an eye on your email!

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 4.5.17 at 1.10 pm
      1. Hi Scott,
        My IBR is $0. My loan officer is saying it can’t be $0 for a FHA loan. I’m in California and seen that you mentioned knowing a lender that will accept $0.. can you let me know. Thanks!

        comment by Vivian Lindsey
        on 4.19.17 at 2.48 pm
        1. Hi Vivian,
          With FHA, you will always have to use 1% of the loan balance if your payment is not fully amortizing. Since a $0 payment can’t amortize the loan, you would be forced to qualify with 1% of the balance. The alternative is the Freddie Mac. You may be able to do 3% down with Freddie if it meets certain eligibility requirements. I’ll shoot you an email with my contact info. Call me when you get it, we can help in CA.

          comment by Josh Lewis
          on 4.19.17 at 2.52 pm
  27. I have a friend in Northwest suburbs of Chicago with IBR of zero. Her mortgage broker told her he can’t qualify her for anything. Can you point me to a lender/broker that might be able to help?

    comment by Lori
    on 4.3.17 at 10.40 am
    1. comment by Scott Schang
      on 4.3.17 at 11.07 am
  28. Hi, this site is a wonderful find. I too am looking for mortgage with an IBR student loan. I live in central California. My SO of 14 years died and we never put my name on the loan or property because of my student loans. I have inherited the house and would like to refinance/purchase? I’m confused about that. I am now the legal owner. Do you know of a lender that can help me? Thank you.

    comment by Karen
    on 3.30.17 at 12.48 pm
    1. Hi Karen,

      Yes, I have an amazing lender, actually the person that wrote this article, Josh Lewis is in California.

      I will make the introduction by email right now!

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.30.17 at 1.42 pm
  29. Hello, we are searching for a home in Michigan. We are married both with student loans on the ibr payment plan with 0.00 monthly payments that are reported to the credit agency. Our student loan debt is combined at about 80. Is there anyone who can help us?

    comment by Jennifer
    on 3.29.17 at 9.14 pm
  30. I am looking for mortgage with IBR student loan.

    comment by Mohammed Kamara
    on 3.29.17 at 12.44 pm
    1. Mohammed,

      It was a pleasure speaking with you today. I am confident we will be able to help!

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.29.17 at 9.28 pm
  31. Hello, I am also looking for lender who is familiar with IBR and can help us get a mortgage using the IRB repayment amount instead of standard repayment. We are in Northeast Indiana.

    comment by A.B.
    on 3.29.17 at 10.56 am
    1. Hi Amelia,

      I have a very experienced lender in IN that can help. Sending an email introduction now.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.29.17 at 10.59 am
      1. Scott can you send me your information a well.

        comment by J.M
        on 3.30.17 at 7.48 am
        1. Hi J.M., If you haven’t already emailed me, please do.

          I am a lender in California, and I’m kind of on a one man quest to rid the world of inexperienced and horrible loan officers that don’t take their jobs seriously.

          We are dealing with people’s lives here, and this is important stuff. I created this website 10 years ago to educate and empower consumers so you can quickly identify when you’re working with a lender that doesn’t know what they are talking about.

          It’s a little disheartening how successful this website has been, because it means that there are still a LOT of really bad loan officers in my business.

          Long story….sorry. The result of this quest has been that I have met a handful of really great loan officers around the Country that have experience with these guidelines, and love to help people.

          Anyone that needs help can email me at [email protected] and I can introduce you to a friend of mine that share my values, and passion for helping people.

          Hope this helps?

          comment by Scott Schang
          on 3.30.17 at 11.40 am
      2. I am in Indiana

        comment by J.M
        on 3.30.17 at 7.49 am
  32. I am in the same boat as many of the folks here. Can you connect me with a broker/lender in Orange County, Orlando, Florida that will work with me on an IBR program? Thank you.

    comment by Ryan Morris
    on 3.29.17 at 8.46 am
    1. Hey Ryan,
      Check your inbox for the introduction. We have a great lender in FL who can help you!

      comment by Josh Lewis
      on 3.29.17 at 9.47 am
  33. I’m in a small town in Illinois and can’t seem to do d a mortgage originator who can use ONE as opposed to 1% of student loan debt. Do you have any contacts in Central Illinois? Your help is greatly appreciated appreciated.

    comment by Kenney Ashby
    on 3.29.17 at 5.02 am
    1. Hi Kenney,

      Help is on the way! I have a great lender in IL that is very experienced with the guidelines that allow your IBR payment when calculating your debt to income ratios.

      Sending email introduction now, hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.29.17 at 8.35 am
  34. HI,
    I am currently on a IBR repayment plan. Will you please connect me to a loan officer that will allow me to use my IBR repayment to qualify for a home loan?

    comment by Janet Flounory
    on 3.28.17 at 5.53 am
    1. Hi Janet,

      Yes, I can absolutely introduce you to someone that has experience using an IBR payment to qualify. What State are you buying in?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.28.17 at 10.54 am
  35. I guess I’m in the same boat. Although if I understand Fannie Mae, they don’t have to go by the “greater of”, but can go by the fully amortized payment, which I could still do and keep under 45%DTI. 1% of loan would put me way over. But I can’t find a lender that seems to understand. I’m not sure about Freddie Mac, as I have a bankruptcy (no home) discharged 3.5 years ago. It seems that I have to wait 4 years post discharge for Freddie? Do you know anyone in Indiana that might help me?

    comment by Don
    on 3.27.17 at 8.17 pm
    1. I should add that I just recently took my loans out of deferment and am in IBR.

      comment by Don
      on 3.27.17 at 8.19 pm
      1. That’s not an issue. There is no seasoning requirement for how long you’ve been making an IBR payment.

        As long as you can get a statement from the lender, you can use the payment.

        comment by Scott Schang
        on 3.28.17 at 10.21 am
  36. Like many on this thread, my DTI is too high when calculating for 1% of my student debt. My loans are in deferment currently though I could change that to a low IBR monthly payment ($10-50). Is Freddie Mae and FHA working with IBR plans? I just talked to my montage broker this morning and was told they are not. I’d like to buy in Kitsap County, WA. Thanks for any advice .

    comment by Jeffrey
    on 3.27.17 at 11.53 am
    1. Hi Jeffrey,

      I am going to make an introduction for you to a lender friend of mine in WA that has experience with these guidelines.

      FHA will not allow your IBR payment, but Freddie Mac will as long as your loans are not currently in deferment.

      You will see the introduction shortly, hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.27.17 at 12.27 pm
      1. Sir, if you would please connect me with a lender/broker for Orange County, Florida that I can go to, I would greatly appreciate it. Currently on a IBR program.

        comment by Ryan Morris
        on 3.29.17 at 8.44 am
  37. Hi,

    I recently did a prequalification and my car note plus IBR with 0$ monthly payment is preventing me from getting approved. Because of 1% that she had to add to my DTI and my car note being 390 puts me over 40% DTI. Any lenders in Illinois that specializes in this area to work around this.

    comment by Natosha Smith
    on 3.27.17 at 10.13 am
    1. Hi Natosha,

      Yes, there is a way around this. There are not many lenders that will allow a $0 payment. We have had success in the past going back to your lender and resubmitting your documentation to show any payment at all, even if it’s $10 a month.

      Also, you are allowed up to a 45% debt to income ratio, so there should be a little more room in there for you to qualify.

      I have a very experienced lender friend in IL. Give me a couple of minutes and I will make an introduction through email.

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.27.17 at 10.18 am
  38. Hello, i too fall in this category. Do you know of any lenders in the central Florida (Lake Mary/Deltona) area that woulr use the IBR payment instead of the debt to crefit ratio?I am having the hardest time sinve everyone wants to use the 1% but that puts me over the threshold for debt to income ratio. Thanks in afvance!

    comment by Lauren Davis
    on 3.26.17 at 11.20 am
    1. Hi Luaren,

      Yes, I have a great lender with a lot of experience using the IBR payment when qualifying for a home loan. I will make an email introduction now!

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.26.17 at 12.42 pm
      1. What about texas, I have great credit, consolidated my loans to regular180 dollars

        comment by Gary
        on 4.10.17 at 8.33 pm
        1. Hi Gary, these programs are available anywhere in the United States. The guidelines are dependent on the State that you’re buying in.

          comment by Scott Schang
          on 4.11.17 at 5.05 pm
  39. Hello, I am currently in deferment for my student loans. 1% of the value of the student loans is much more than what my IBR payment will be. The 1% will probably make my DTI too high but the IBR payment should not. For a home loan through Freddie Mac could I come out of deferment and set up IBR payments long enough to qualify for a mortgage under the DTI rules and then later decide whether or not to go back into deferment. Any insight you can give is much appreciated. Thanks.

    comment by Robert Kearly
    on 3.26.17 at 10.26 am
    1. Hi Robert,

      Yes, you’ll need to be out of deferment, and you would be able to use Freddie Mac guidelines, and use your IBR payment when calculating your debt to income ratios.

      What State are you planning on buying in? I would be happy to introduce you to a lender that has experience with these guidelines if you would like?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.26.17 at 12.41 pm
      1. Scott: I am in Maryland, could you point me to a loan officer knowledgeable about this IBR stuff. The two I am working with are not.

        comment by Dan
        on 3.29.17 at 1.22 pm
        1. Hi Dan,

          I’ve send an introduction by email. It is unfortunate that loan officers do not know how to read guidelines.

          comment by Scott Schang
          on 3.29.17 at 9.30 pm
  40. Correction: Rock Hill, SC or Charlotte, NC

    comment by Samuel
    on 3.25.17 at 9.53 pm
  41. Omg..I just experienced this last week and had no idea so many were in the situation until I started doing research on the IBR. Do you have a contact in Rochester Hill, SC or Charlotte, NC to can connect me with?

    comment by Samuel
    on 3.25.17 at 9.52 pm
    1. Hi Samuel, Yes! I have some great lender friends in those States that have experience with these guidelines. Sending email now.

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.25.17 at 10.08 pm
  42. My lender said that currently Student with IBR payments are currently in the “Closed” status. This keeps changing and is currently on Trumps “to-do” list to switch back to allowing the IBR payment that shows on your credit rather than the 1%. But I see you’re telling people they can do that now. I’m currently finishing my construction loan. My lender assured me that when construction finished that I could roll it into a Conventional loan and take my Step-father off of the loan as a co-signer. I have great credit and a steady job but my loans are killing me. Now I’m stuck when I’m done building rolling into a 7/1 arm loan keeping my step-dad on it until Trump gets the Bill to change, AGAIN!

    comment by Susan Ball
    on 3.23.17 at 8.33 am
    1. Hi Susan,

      Wow. I’m almost speechless. It is shocking to me that a lender would just make something up like that. There is absolutely no truth to that whatsoever, and I truly wish that there were consequences for people that would say something so ignorant. Could you imagine if your Doctor was that careless in how they diagnose a health concern? This is a financial concern, so for me, it’s almost as serious.

      Anyhow, I digress…still shocked…but back on track. As long as your student loan is not currently in a deferred status, your IBR payment can be used.

      Shoot me an email to [email protected], let me know what State you’re in, and I will introduce you to a lender that is an actual experienced professional and does not make stuff up to cover their own ignorance.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.23.17 at 9.51 am
  43. It looks like I am in the same boat as all! Do you have any contacts for a lender of broker in Atlanta, GA?

    comment by A. Scott
    on 3.22.17 at 4.53 am
    1. Yes I do, I also received your question through the chat box and introduced you to a very experienced lender that can help!

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.22.17 at 8.51 am
      1. Hi Scott,

        I can provide you more accurate info in a private email but here is my situation to give you an idea.

        I am a public school teacher in Illinois since 2009 and I love my job. I am also a single father. I have six figures in student loans. I’m on IBR now but I am going to be enrolling in the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness offered through the National Educators Association. In 6 six years a portion of my loans will be forgiven tax-free. And after 10 years all of them will be forgiven tax-free.

        A lender turned me down because I am not making at least $3000 in monthly payments on my student loans.

        Isn’t there a way to take into consideration my monthly IBR payments and the fact that my loans are going to be forgiven 6 and 10 years from now?

        I’m not looking for a huge house or a $200,000 home. There are actually a couple HUD homes hear that with a little work would be beautiful. There have also been move in ready homes in my area listed for $125000 or less.

        Is it impossible for me to get a mortgage or home loan now? Or am I going to have to wait 6 or 10 years?

        I look forward to talking with you, please feel free to contact me via email.

        Thank you, G.

        comment by Gary
        on 3.23.17 at 7.11 pm
        1. comment by Josh Lewis
          on 3.23.17 at 7.43 pm
  44. Do you know any lenders that will use the actual IBR payment for the debt to income ratio? I’m in Southern California. I am currently in escrow, with the deal to cancel on Friday if I don’t get loan approval. Thank you for your help!

    comment by Caroline
    on 3.21.17 at 9.21 am
    1. Hi Caroline,

      Yes, I am a lender in Southern California and we do a lot of these types of loans! I am sending you an email right now. We can save this escrow.

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.21.17 at 9.56 am
  45. Hello do you know any lenders that use the IBR payment for debt to income ratio? I’m looking to purchase a home in the Pleasant Run area which is a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio?

    comment by Gloria Ridley
    on 3.20.17 at 5.23 pm
    1. Hi Gloria,

      Yes, I am sending an introduction now!

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.20.17 at 6.17 pm
  46. Do you know any lenders that will use the actual IBR payment for the debt to income ratio? I’m looking in the Dallas, Fort Worth (Texas) area.

    comment by Markesha Thomas
    on 3.20.17 at 12.01 pm
    1. Hi Markesha,

      Yes, we do. I have your email address, I’ll send you an introduction to a lender friend that has a lot of experience with these guidelines. As long as the loan is not currently in a deferred status, you can use your IBR payment as it is reported on your credit report, or on a statement from the student loan lender stating that the loan is in repayment.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.20.17 at 12.09 pm
  47. Hello,
    Thank you for this article. Many seem to be in the same situation as me and my husband. We have yet to find a lender that will use my IBR rather than the 1% of my student loan debt. Using the 1% puts us over the DTI threshold. We have assets, credit scores in the 750’s, and are having a hard time getting a mortgage.

    comment by Janelle
    on 3.17.17 at 6.06 pm
    1. Hi Janelle,

      I believe you just sent me an email as well? I sent you an introduction to a lender friend in PA that has experience with these guidelines and can help. Trust me, it’s not me, it’s the lenders that you’re talking to that don’t know the guidelines.

      Hope this helps?

      comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.17.17 at 6.24 pm
  48. Hi, I too have high student loan debt around 150K. I have heard that it’s possible to get a loan through a conventional Freddie Mac loan but can’t find anyone in Florida to help me. Do you know of anyone. Thanks

    comment by Marsha
    on 3.11.17 at 3.07 am
    1. comment by Scott Schang
      on 3.11.17 at 9.54 am
      1. Hi Scott,
        I live in Michigan. Please connect me with a lender that will use our actual IBR payment to qualify for a mortgage here.
        Thank you!

        Jamie

        comment by Jamie
        on 3.27.17 at 10.37 am
        1. Hi Jamie,

          I have a very experienced lender friend in Michigan that can help. Just sent you an introduction!

          Hope this helps?

          comment by Scott Schang
          on 3.27.17 at 11.35 am
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