How to pay off your student loans faster: Start before graduation

A lower total score meant more student loan accounts in successful repayment and a high salary relative to the monthly payments. But if you have private loans, there's a chance you could be hit with a fee for making payments early. But first, it should be noted that most people do not qualify for these programs, and you will still have to make payments for a long time before receiving forgiveness. Any comments posted under NerdWallet's official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise. What happens if you just decide to ignore your educational debt? Deferment and forbearance should only be pursued when you absolutely have to. If you have multiple student loans, it is always smart to pay off those with the highest interest rate first because these loans will have the most amount of money capitalizing.

500 Places That Have the Easiest Time With Student Loan Repayment

Extra payments? Make them the right way

Oct 12,  · 2. Know which loans you should make prepayments on. If you have federal student loans, you're allowed to make pre-payments while in school. But if you have private loans, there's a chance you could be hit with a fee for making payments early. Call your loan servicer to find out. But if your goal is paying off student loans faster, you probably want to avoid income-driven loan repayment programs. Why would you want to do this? Well, almost all of these federal student loan repayment programs are geared toward decreasing payments by lengthening the term of the loan. This means it’ll take longer to pay off student loans. Paying your loans down before you graduate will certainly help you pay them off faster. For most loans (except for need-based federal subsidized loans), the interest .

500 Places That Have the Hardest Time With Student Loan Repayment

2. Understand Your Loans, and Make a Plan

If you qualify, a lender will replace multiple student loans with a single private loan at a lower interest rate. Best student loan refinance lenders Federal loans offer income-driven repayment plans , which can extend the payoff timeline to 20 or 25 years. You can also consolidate student loans , which stretches repayment to a maximum of 30 years, depending on your balance. Or make a lump-sum interest payment before your grace or deferment period ends. How much will deferment or forbearance cost you?

This simple strategy is a way to trick yourself into paying extra on debt: Pay half of your payment every two weeks instead of making one full payment monthly.

Use a biweekly student loan payment calculator to see how much time and money you can save. Consider making extra income that will go directly toward paying off student loans fast. You can sell items like clothing, unused gift cards, or photos; rent out your spare room, parking spot or car; or use your skills to freelance or consult on the side.

Set up a separate bank account specifically for paying off loans. Save your extra money there, or automatically transfer a certain amount to it per month and make extra payments from it. How to make money: Whenever you get a raise , a bonus, or another financial windfall, allocate at least a portion of it to your loans.

Some are through employers, while others are more public-service oriented:. Also in some cases you may be required to report forgiven loans as taxable income, so be sure to factor in any potential tax consequences in your decision. Similar to signing bonuses and health benefits, student loan repayment is another way for employers to attract top talent. Bring up the idea to your boss and remember — this has to be a good deal for the company as well.

In exchange for the student loan payment, you might offer incentives such as a promise to stay at the job for a specific period of time or agree to relocate to a branch office. The most likely employers to offer this benefit? But several other employers have pay-for-school programs as well. Check out this guide from U. News and World Report on how to persuade your boss. Donating your time can help you pay off your loans while doing good.

The two most well-known programs, AmeriCorps and Peace Corps , both offer some manner of education award or partial loan cancellation in addition to paying your living expenses during your time of service.

Peace Corps members volunteer internationally and receive two student-loan related benefits. This money can be used toward paying back student loans. Domestic AmeriCorps volunteers, meanwhile, are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award at the end of their service that can be used towards paying loans.

And, if you decide to pursue the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program mentioned above, your time in the AmeriCorps counts towards your 10 years of public service.

When you make a loan payment, you pay off any interest that has accrued since your last payment, and the rest goes to lower your principal balance. There are two very basic ways to be able to pay more each month on your student loans: Investopedia does a great job at breaking down why paying biweekly instead of monthly is a good idea:.

First, you are paying less in interest because there is less time between payments for interest to accumulate. Second, you will end up making an extra month's worth of payments every year. This is because paying every other week equals 26 annual payments. It's a relatively painless way to reduce the cost of borrowing and pay off your loans faster.

If you get paid biweekly, the payment feels the same on your wallet because you are taking half of a payment from each paycheck There are several websites and programs that allow you to earn rewards for spending money or paying down debt, and these rewards can be put towards your loans.

Some of these programs are education specific, allowing you to put any credits you earn directly towards paying down debt. Others reward you for paying down your debt by giving you credits that you can use to try to win prizes such as grocery gift cards, cash, or student loan payments. If you are able to pay your bill off every month, you could also consider getting a cash-back credit card and putting any cash back you receive directly to your loans.

Search around online to find a good rewards program for you. Your cosigner likely Mom or Dad is on the hook for your loan too, which means they have incentives to help you pay the loan back faster.

They were there to help you attend school in the first place, and they probably have a continued desire to help you succeed.

Your cosigner might be willing to match your funds or supplement your payments. Or perhaps they would prefer to pay back your loans now and have you owe the money directly to them.

No matter what, be sure to keep lines of communication open with your cosigner, so you can figure out a plan together. Consider writing a letter to everyone to this effect, explaining the value of your education and how important this is to you. If you absolutely cannot pay your loans, there are a couple of options available to you: Avoid them both if you can; neither is an ideal option. For unsubsidized loans, you continue to be responsible for interest.

Deferment can also be available to those in military service and to people in a few other situations. Forbearance is intended for borrowers who have a temporary need to postpone payments and expect to be able to return to payments within a few months. Achieving goals is a lot easier — and more fun! While being debt free is certainly a reward of its own, planning to travel or even just treat yourself to a nice meal can be a great way to help you pay down your loans faster.

Reyna is Wise Bread's student loans expert and a regular contributor to U. This article is part of our New Graduate Help Center — a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads.

This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section:. Nothing contained on this website is intended to constitute professional advice, including but not limited to, medical, legal, or financial advice.

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