Getting married is an exciting life event that also comes with changes to your finances, including to your student loans. Before you get married, it’s important to know what changes to prepare for so you’re not blindsided.

How marriage could affect your student loans

While marriage will impact all student loan borrowers differently, most commonly it can affect alternate repayment plans, tax deductions and the amount of federal financial aid you’re awarded.

Federal financial aid

If your marital status changes, so will your federal financial aid award potential. When you get married, you’re considered an independent student, even if you rely on your parents monetarily and live with them. If you’re an independent student, the FAFSA no longer takes your parents’ financial information into account when determining your financial need; instead, it uses your financial information and your spouse’s.

This could have either a positive or a negative effect on your financial aid. If your spouse’s income is higher than that of your parents, your financial need could go down, causing you to lose some financial aid. On the flip side, if you and your spouse are earning much less than your parents, you could end up receiving more financial aid.

Student loan interest deduction

When you get married, your student loan interest deduction eligibility could change. This deduction allows you to deduct up to $2,500 in interest paid on a student loan during the tax year — as long as you fall below the modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) limit.

When you get married and file a joint tax return, the MAGI limit for the student loan interest deduction increases. The deduction is phased out for MAGIs between $140,000 and $170,000, and MAGIs above $170,000 are not eligible for the deduction.

Again, whether this will affect you depends on your spouse’s income. Having a high household income after marriage may mean that you’re no longer eligible for the deduction, but marrying someone with a low annual income could mean the opposite.

Income-driven repayment

Getting married can impact your federal income-driven repayment (IDR) plan if you choose to file your taxes jointly with your spouse. Each IDR plan uses your income to determine your monthly payment; if you and your spouse both work and your income rises, your monthly IDR payments may increase as well.

There is a way to get around this with most plans; if you choose to file separately, you may have only your income considered for your plan. The only exception to this is Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE); even if you file separately from your spouse, their income will still be considered when it comes to your monthly payments.

The bottom line

Getting married can impact your student loan repayment plan, financial aid potential and more, especially if you choose to file your taxes jointly. Before getting married, sit down with your partner to talk through finances and any potential impacts from a new marital status. Remember, student loans are only one part of your finances; before deciding on a tax filing strategy, it may be smart to speak with a licensed financial advisor and talk through different scenarios.