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8 Tips to Paying off Student Loans

Student Loans
by Candace Bowers
January 31, 2023
7 min read
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Nobody enjoys paying off student loans. The monthly payment can be an overwhelming financial burden limiting your freedom. The typical repayment period for federal loans is roughly ten years, but realistically repayment can spread out over 30 years.

Do you feel like paying off your student loans is impossible? Hear me out—you are capable of accomplishing this task.

There are practical methods to make your student loan repayment more effective and ensure you make the most of each payment. Paying off your student loan debt will not happen overnight, but we have some tips you can follow to fast-track your financial freedom.

As soon as your student loans are paid off, you will be free from the financial burden and can live life on your terms. So, let's get to work!

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student-loans

Pay Right Away

Interest on student loans is often compounded daily even though the rates are marketed as yearly rates. Unpaid interest will be added to your principal balance each day if your loan's interest is compounded daily, in which case the student loan interest rate will also be applied to the new principal sum. The more interest accrued, the more money you have to pay off.

Even if it's not compulsory, consider paying back student loans while in school or during your grace period. If you can, try to pay at least enough each month to offset the interest you incur. In this approach, less interest will capitalize and be added to your principal debt when student loan repayment begins.

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Sign Up for Automatic Payments

Signing up for automatic payments guarantees you make your monthly student loan payment and at least pay the minimum payment. Often federal and private student loans offer discounted interest rates for setting up auto pay. Automatic payments ultimately save you time and money. Contact your loan servicer to find out if your loan qualifies for an interest rate reduction.

Autopay also removes the stress of knowing or tracking each student loan. If you miss your student loan payments, you can accrue additional fees and risk a late payment on your credit report. Additionally, consecutive payments on your student loan debt can increase your credit score!

Consecutive payments ensure less interest accrual and pay off your student loans faster.

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Stick to a Budget

Recognizing where you can make cuts and redirect monies toward your student loans is a simpler way to manage your monthly cash flow and ensure your student loan payments are taken care of. Creating a budget is a great way to stay organized and see progress made toward any debt you have.

Building a spreadsheet to track your progress offers not only encouragement but also accomplishment. Creating and following through with a repayment plan will be the best way to pay off your student loans. Managing your spending habits will get you closer to financial freedom.

Pay More than the Minimum Payment

Paying more than your minimum monthly payments means paying off student loans faster. A higher monthly payment can decrease the time you spend paying off your student loan debt and decrease the loan balance as it lessens interest paid!

If you have created a budget permitting extra payments toward your student loan debt, you will certainly pay off your student loans early. Even if you have satisfied future payments because you've made extra payments, continue to make the payments to pay off your loan faster.

A word of caution: if you pay more than the required minimum payment each month, student loan servicers may roll that additional sum over to the next month's payment. This will move the due date, and you won't truly pay off the debt any sooner. So, inform your loan servicer to apply the additional funds to your outstanding loan debt and maintain the same due date.

Suggestion: Contact your student loan servicers to see if extra payments can go to your higher-interest loans first.

Wondering what will happen if you miss a payment? Check out this blog to learn more about loan default.

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Pay off High-interest Loans First

You will save the most money on interest if you pay off your student loans with the highest interest rate first. This is the best approach when deciding which student loans to repay first. You'll save more money and be able to divert funds to other financial goals more quickly if you pay off the loan with the highest interest rate first. This method is called the debt avalanche strategy.

Use Your Tax Refund

Tax season is the best time of year for anyone receiving a tax refund. If you have student loan debt, consider using your tax return to pay off student loans or make additional payments to your student loans. Tax refunds are a great way to dent your student loans.

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Seek Out Loan Forgiveness

One of the federal student loan repayment programs is loan forgiveness. Your federal student loan sum may be forgiven in a number of circumstances. Student loan forgiveness programs are offered to various people, including teachers, government employees, US military personnel, and others.

You must qualify to have student loans forgiven. For example, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.

Student loan forgiveness is a great option to remove student debt for those eligible. Check your eligibility on the FAFSA website. Also, check with your employer for student loan forgiveness options.

Consider Refinancing or Consolidation

There are many loan repayment options to pay off your student loans. Student loan consolidation and student loan refinancing allow you to combine all your loans into a new loan.

However, federal student loans cannot be refinanced through the federal government but can be refinanced through private lenders. Private loan lenders also refinance private student loans. Many private lenders' loan rates will vary and depend on your financial situation. Refinancing a loan can lower your interest rate and decrease the payoff time.

Note that loan consolidation is not offered for private loans, but you can refinance them. Multiple federal student loans can be consolidated into one loan with a fixed-rate loan. Most federal student loans can be consolidated through the Direct Consolidation Loan Application. However, federal loan consolidation will not lower your interest rate, but this may be an option for you to manage your student loans. Talk to your loan servicer today.

Not interested in loan consolidation? Try crowdfunding for your student loans!

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How Long Should It Take To Pay off Student Loans?

Paying off student loans can take anywhere from ten to thirty years. It depends entirely on your loan type, interest rate, financial situation, and lifestyle. On average, student loan borrowers take roughly 20 years to pay off their student loan debt.

If you follow some of the tips above, you can lessen the time it takes to pay off your student loans and decrease the amount you pay for borrowing money.

Are There Loans to Pay off Student Loans?

Using a personal loan to pay off your federal or private student loan debts may be possible, but many lenders can reject your application if they find out you plan to do so. It's crucial to be open and honest with your lender about the purpose of your loan because there are certain regulations around using personal loans to pay off post-secondary education debt.

It's important to contact the lender to establish whether or not you can use a personal loan to pay off student loan debt. However, refinancing your student loan is a more cost-effective option.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Paying Off Student Loans

What is the fastest way to pay off student loans?

Making extra payments on your loans or paying more than the minimum amount due will allow you to pay off your student loans quickly. Refinancing may be a good option to pay off your loans faster if you have high-interest-rate loans. The less interest you pay, the more you save, and the quicker you settle your debt.

Explore Bold.org's Exclusive Scholarships to locate grants for student loan repayment!

How does interest work with student loans?

Interest on student loans is determined by the lender of the loan. There are fixed and variable-rate loans. Each has its own criteria. Federal loans have fixed interest rates, and private loans can have variable or fixed. The best student loans will have the lowest interest rates.

Student loan interest begins accruing when the loan is disbursed to you. Subsidized loans do not collect interest while the borrower is enrolled at least half-time or during the deferment term.

Browse Bold's Scholarship Blog to learn more about student loans, scholarships, and all things college!

Candace Bowers
Managing Editor

About Candace

As the Managing Editor at Bold.org, Candace oversees the creation of valuable, well-crafted content and supports the Writing Team in delivering accurate and relevant information to assist students in navigating their academic and financial paths. She brings years of experience in writing and editing to the platform.

Candace graduated cum laude from Columbia University in the City of New York with a major in Creative Writing and a minor in English, focusing on nonfiction writing and Russian language studies. 

Experience

Candace has participated in a variety of writing workshops and seminars, including those focused on nonfiction and fiction writing, novel writing, technical writing, poetry, and editing. She has managed multiple blogs, overseeing their editorial work and SEO optimization, along with content creation, management, writing, and publications. Candace has also written multiple short stories, personal essays, and a children's book.

With a passion for uncovering opportunities and combating student debt, Candace is dedicated to informing students about financial support and resources. She possesses in-depth knowledge of private and federal student loans, institutional scholarships, grants, and fellowships. She leverages this knowledge alongside her editorial expertise and love for storytelling to create engaging and informative content that empowers students. 

Since joining the Bold.org team in 2022, Candace has worked as a Content Writer and has since become a Managing Editor. She leads the Writing Team, guiding them to produce high-quality content that informs and empowers students. 

Her firsthand experience with the challenges of student debt gives her a unique perspective and a strong commitment to helping others navigate similar situations. This background fuels her dedication to identifying funding opportunities and offering valuable resources to students seeking financial aid and college insights.

Quote from Candace

“To attune co-creatively with our ever-transforming natural neighborhood, we must learn to re-learn. ”

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