Including required payment amount increased IDR recertification by 8.4%

Person sitting with laptop

Person sitting with laptop

What was the challenge?

Student borrowers who enroll in income-driven repayment (IDR) plans are required to complete an annual recertification process to update their income and family size. More than 50% of borrowers fail to recertify their IDR plan each year.

What was the program change?

We worked with ED’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) to develop an email outreach program to contact borrowers nearing their recertification dates who would see an increased monthly payment if they did not recertify their income.

How did the evaluation work?

Nearly 300,000 eligible borrowers were divided into three cohorts and then randomly assigned to be sent one of three different email approach variants that utilized individual or average payment increase comparisons, follow up emails, and inclusion of signatures.


What was the impact?

Including borrowers’ actual payment increase was most effective at getting borrowers to recertify for IDR plans, resulting in a 8.4% increase. The timing of reminder emails and the inclusion of an official’s signature were not effective.





Project Type

Impact evaluation of program change





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