Student Loans and their Impact in the Total Debt Ratio for a USDA Home Mortgage in Kentucky
Recent updates to the 3555 Handbook intended to simplify guidance for the delivery of the guaranteed loan program have caused some misperception in regards to total debt ratio calculations, specifically in the subject of student loans. The Agency is working on revisions to Chapter 11: Ratio Analysis; however, we want to further clarify the subject at this time.
Total debt includes monthly housing expenses plus any other credit obligations incurred by the applicant. Student loan payments must be included in the calculation of the total debt-to-income ratio and captured under liabilities on the application. Student loan payments should be treated as described below:
Fixed payment loans: A fixed payment may be used in the debt ratio when the lender retains documentation to verify the payment is fixed, the interest rate is fixed, and the repayment term is fixed. There must be no future adjustments to the terms of the student loan payments.
Non-Fixed payment loans: Payments for deferred loans, Income Based Repayment (IBR), Graduated, Adjustable, and other types of repayment agreements which are not fixed cannot be used in the total debt ratio calculation. One percent of the loan balance reflected on the credit report must be used as the monthly payment. No additional documentation is required.