Use these 10 Strategies to Pay Off Student Loans Fast
Figuring out how to quickly pay off your student loans can be rewarding. This article will help you understand your options.
Being in debt is never fun, especially if you graduate with a lot of education loans. As a result, you may want to explore options for how to pay off student loans fast so you can get free of this financial burden.
The good news is, there are lots of techniques you can employ for faster repayment. In fact, here are 10 steps you can take to become debt-free ASAP.
1. Try to make monthly payments while loans are deferred
Ideally, while you are still in school or when you have recently graduated, you'll already be looking into how to pay off your student loan debt fast.
While you are in school and shortly after graduation, you may not be required to make loan payments because your loans are in deferment. Unfortunately, interest keeps accruing during this time, except for Subsidized Direct Loans.
If you are serious about learning how to pay off private student loans fast, you'll make payments while you are still in school that are large enough to cover the cost of interest. If you do that, you can avoid the capitalization of student loan interest, which happens when your accrued interest is added to your student loan balance.
Capitalization makes your loans more expensive because you end up paying interest on interest. That means they can take longer to pay off. You can avoid this if you can at least cover interest costs.
2. Choose your repayment plan carefully
Federal student loans offer a choice of repayment plans, including extended repayment options. If you're hoping to figure out how to pay off student loans fast, you should likely opt for the standard payment plan. That will give you higher monthly payments than many other plans that are available, but it will also ensure your loan is paid in full within 10 years.
If you have private loans, then you'll have to choose your loan repayment period when you borrow. Choose the shortest loan term you can afford if your goal is to figure out how to pay off private student debt fast. A shorter loan term will usually result in a lower interest rate and, of course, a higher monthly payment that ensures your loan is paid off sooner.
As for student loan forgiveness programs, look for short-term options like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or teacher loan forgiveness. These programs offer forgiveness after just five and ten years, respectively. Compare that to 20 to 25 years for standard loan forgiveness through income-driven repayment plans.
3. Pay extra each month
If you can pay a little bit of extra money toward your loan each month, you'll pay down your loans faster. Just be sure to specify that you want the extra payment applied to reduce your principal. Otherwise, loan servicers might simply apply the extra money towards the next month's payment instead of using it to reduce your loan amount.
4. Make biweekly payments
If you get paid twice per month, as most people do, you can opt to pay half your monthly student loan payment out of each paycheck rather than just making one monthly payment. Since you get 26 paychecks each year, you'll end up making the equivalent of an extra month's worth of payments if you take this approach.
5. Make extra lump-sum payments whenever you can
Most borrowers simply make the minimum payment each month. But if you come into any unexpected money, whether it's a bonus at work, tax refund, or another windfall, put it towards making an extra payment on your student loans. Again, make sure to specify you want the extra money to go toward reducing your principal.
6. Sign up for automatic payments
If you sign up for autopay, you can qualify for a .25 percentage point interest rate reduction from federal student loan servicers. Many private loan lenders also provide a similar discount.
This may not seem like much, but by reducing your interest rate even a little bit, you can make it easier to pay down more principal and get free of your loans sooner. If you owe a lot of money, even a small change in rates could also make a big difference. For example, if you're trying to figure out how to pay off 100K in student loans fast, this technique could be a really valuable one.
7. Enlist the help of loved ones
If you are comfortable, consider asking your friends and family to help with loan payoff efforts. See if they might be willing to give you money toward your student loans in lieu of holiday gifts, for example.
8. Pay off your higher-interest loans first
If you have multiple different loans, focus on making additional payments towards the ones with a higher interest rate first. This will allow you to get rid of your more expensive debt ASAP, which makes it less costly to repay what you owe. That can make it easier to become debt-free faster.
9. Look for an employer offering student loan debt payoff help
A growing number of employers offer student loan repayment assistance. If you're looking for options for how to pay off your student loans fast, it may be smart to consider this in your job search. If you can find an employer that gives you money towards your student loan payoff, this extra cash can help pay down your principal balance more quickly so you can become debt-free ASAP.
10. Consider student loan refinancing
If you have private student loans, refinancing them with a different private lender could help you reduce your interest rate and make it easier to figure out how to pay off private student loans faster.
If you qualify based on your credit score and a few other eligibility factors, you can lower total borrowing costs and make it easier to pay your loan faster if you can qualify for a new loan at a lower rate. You can also choose a loan with a shorter repayment timeline if you want to be sure you're paying off your loans as soon as possible.
Juno can help borrowers to find affordable student loan refinance loans with repayment terms that work for them. We group borrowers together and negotiate on behalf of the group to help each individual borrower get the lowest rates possible.
Join Juno today to find out more about your options for affordable private student loans to help fund your degree.
Christy Rakoczy Bieber
Christy Rakoczy Bieber is a full-time personal finance and legal writer. She is a graduate of UCLA School of Law and the University of Rochester. Christy was previously a college teacher with experience writing textbooks and serving as a subject matter expert.
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