san Francisco, CA- A recent report claims changes to the federal student loan program will benefit middle- and high-income students, not the low-income students they were designed to assist.

The federal government is making changes to its income-based repayment plan to help low-income, high-debt borrowers keep up with payments. The effort follows news that nearly one in six student loan borrowers is in default.

A report released by the New American Foundation on Tuesday indicates the changes will only offer slight help to the borrowers at greatest risk of default. The New American Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute.

According to the report, the changes would benefit those seeking graduate degrees, many of whom are middle- and high-income borrowers. At least one financial planning company is telling law school students that the changes will likely allow them to write off $100,000 in student debt, the report says.

“If left unchanged, the program is set to provide huge financial windfalls to people who, far from being in need, are among the most financially well-off graduates in today’s job market,” the report continues.

A recent Pew Research Center report revealed that households headed by those under 35 are most likely to owe student loan debt.

The report reads in part, “since 2007, the incidence of student debt has increased in nearly every demographic and economic category, as has the size of that debt.”

Today‘s student loan debt in the U.S. is more than double what it was in 1989. That year, fewer than one in 10 households owed student debt, compared with one in five today.

A significant portion of the increase occurred in a three-year span, from 2007 to 2010.

Pew found that those in the lowest fifth of households by income owed 24 percent of their income, almost a quarter for every dollar earned, to student debt. These households earned less than $21,044 per year.

Meanwhile, said Pew, those in the top 10% for household income owed only 2 cents per dollar earned. These households earned $146,792 or more annually.

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