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First, I'm talking about DS (my son).

Sorry - I misread that.

Finally, based on my conversation with ACS (and a very confused-sounding interlocutor there), DS started with 6 credits or half time, then dropped one class.

Okay, so he was half-time, but then dropped to less than half-time, thus making him eligible for the deferment, then making him ineligible for the deferment.

So apparently the IBR went away when the in-school deferment was executed by the school (without DS's authorization--he paid cash for the class).

So apparently the school was the one that initiated the in-school deferment by indicating that DS was eligible for it? Whether DS paid cash or not is irrelevant - the fact that he was a half-time student is the critical item. He should have gotten some notification that the deferment was granted - he might want to look through his correspondence from ACS to see if he can find it.

When DS signed up for classes, did he also sign up for something that would prompt the school to send his student status to ACS? Or does ACS go to a database that your sons' school provides information to for a list of students eligible for deferments, and proactively grant those deferments? If DS is going to continue to take classes, it would probably behoove him to find out what triggered the deferment, so if he would rather stay on IBR in the future, he can figure out how to block the deferment.

DS received a statement from ACS that his IBR payment was zero. He was unemployed at the time. I just ran the calculator (he got a job and just finished his income tax). His new payment should be around $20.
When he dropped below half time, he got put on standard repayment. All grace periods had long since gone away.

So without warning, he was suddenly faced with $260/month of payment in his $10/hr job.

Apparently he needs to refile for IBR.

Yeah, that sounds correct. Getting the deferment wiped out his IBR status. Becoming ineligible for the deferment by dropping below half-time would trigger his payment to go back to the 'standard' payment, until he applies for, and is approved for, IBR again.

The fact that he was on IBR before the deferment doesn't mean that he goes back to the same IBR payment, or even an IBR payment at all - he needs to re-validate his income, family size, etc. before getting re-approved for an IBR payment. If he had, instead of getting a $10/hour job, gotten a $100k/year job, he may not have been eligible for IBR at all.

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