Refinancing with Laurel Road
Refinancing rates from 1.99% APR. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.
Originally published Aug. 21, 2015
If you have over $100,000 in student loans, there are several strategies you can use to pay it off quickly without giving up decades of your life to debt.
I know the feeling of this level of debt all too well. Together, my husband and I have nearly $400,000 in student loan debt from graduate school and medical school. And my husband’s not even done with medical school yet — or with adding student loans to that total!
Because he’ll be a physician in a few months, he’s on his way to earning a high income. However, that doesn’t diminish the student loan burden we both feel. So we’ll be trying a combination of things to eliminate this debt entirely.
How to pay off $100k in student loans: 4 savvy strategies
If you also have $100k+ in student loans, here are some of the best strategies to pay it off as fast as possible.
1. Minimize lifestyle inflation
If you have $100,000 in student loans or more because you attended professional school, chances are you now also have a high income because of your education. Whether you’re a doctor, lawyer or went to business school, you likely had to put in a lot of time over several years to learn your craft.
Because you’ve spent so long at school, it’s easy to inflate your lifestyle once you get that first paycheck. However, I want to encourage you to keep living like a student for as long as possible.
For example, if you lived off of $30,000 per year while you were in graduate school, try to survive on the same amount during your first few years in the professional world. Hold off on making a new car purchase or buying a home.
If your take-home pay is $150,000 per year and you live on only $30,000, you now have $120,000 to put toward your debt and the interest your debt has accrued. Do this for a year (or more, if needed), and you could pay off your debt easily while having the rest of your career to enjoy the high income you worked so hard to achieve.
It’s important to note that avoiding lifestyle inflation can help anyone pay off their debt, regardless of their income level. It just comes down to spending much less than you earn so that you can pay off debt aggressively and enjoy a life without it.
2. Research student loan forgiveness programs
Six figures of debt can be daunting for anyone, no matter how high your income is. However, there are many different types of loan forgiveness that can help you pay off large portions of your debt.
Perhaps the best-known loan forgiveness program is Public Service Loan Forgiveness. With PSLF, you have to work in a nonprofit, governmental organization or another approved entity. After making 120 eligible on-time payments, your loans can be forgiven — and it doesn’t matter whether you have $2,000 or $200,000 left on your balance.
That said, the PSLF program might not be around forever, especially since some politicians have proposed eliminating it altogether. Plus, it requires that you diligently file the right paperwork every year so your application doesn’t get rejected. For now, the program remains functional, but there’s no guarantee that will always be the case.
Outside of PSLF, explore other loan forgiveness programs, such as teacher loan forgiveness, as well as student loan repayment assistance programs. Some employers also offer a student loan matching benefit to employees, so if you’re job-searching, look for companies with this perk.
Finally, note that income-driven repayment plans offer loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years of on-time payment. Although this is a long time to be in debt, your payments might be low, and at least you’ll have a light at the end of the tunnel. That said, you might still have to pay taxes on any amount forgiven via an income-driven plan.
3. Look into student loan refinancing
Although federal loans have the most flexible repayment plans, sometimes student loan refinancing is the best option if you’re looking to save money.
With refinancing, you might be able to get shorter repayment terms and larger monthly payments, saving you money on interest over the life of the loan. Alternatively, you can choose a longer term to make your monthly payments less burdensome. And in both cases, you could qualify for a lower interest rate that would save you money regardless.
If you started out with private student loans, you could have interest rates that are higher than what’s available on the market now. In that case, it’s probably worth comparison shopping student loans to see if you can save through student loan refinancing.
4. Focus on increasing your income
If you’re serious about paying off your six figures worth of debt quickly, finding ways to increase your income is also an effective strategy.
You might switch to a new career or change companies to pursue a higher salary. Or you could search for opportunities for a promotion and pay raise at your current employer.
Outside of boosting your main source of income, you could supplement it with a side hustle. There are a lot of freelance opportunities to choose from, but think about where your skills and experiences lie. If you have an MBA, for example, you could work part time and help businesses learn how to budget and turn a profit.
As long as it doesn’t consume too much of your time or energy, a side hustle is something you could do outside of your regular office hours to make extra money. Then, you can apply those funds to your student loan balance to pay it down faster.
Conquering $100,000 in student loans
Ultimately, having over $100,000 in student loans — and figuring out how to pay off student loans — can be overwhelming. I know because my family lives with it every day. However, the good news is that in acquiring that amount of debt, you’ve also increased your earning potential.
By working hard, raising your income, keeping your living expenses low and considering refinancing and other repayment options, you can be well on your way to paying off your debt in a relatively short period of time and enjoying your income going forward without the burden of debt.
Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.99% – 6.65%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 7.10%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.99% – 6.44%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|1.99% – 6.43%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.18% – 6.07%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of June 23, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
2 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Splash Financial loans are available through arrangements with lending partners. Your loan application will be submitted to the lending partner and be evaluated at their sole discretion. For loans where a credit union is the lender, or a purchaser of the loan, in order to refinance your loans, you will need to become a credit union member.
The Splash Student Loan Refinance Program is not offered or endorsed by any college or university. Neither Splash Financial nor the lending partner are affiliated with or endorse any college or university listed on this website.
You should review the benefits of your federal student loan; it may offer specific benefits that a private refinance/consolidation loan may not offer. If you work in the public sector, are in the military or taking advantage of a federal department of relief program, such as income based repayment or public service forgiveness, you may not want to refinance, as these benefits do not transfer to private refinance/consolidation loans.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of May 1, 2020.
Fixed APR: Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rate options range from 2.88% (without autopay) to 7.27% (without autopay) and will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. Rates are subject to change without notice. Fixed rate options without an autopay discount consist of a range from 2.88% per year to 6.21% per year for a 5-year term, 3.40% per year to 6.25% per year for a 7-year term, 3.45% to 5.08% for a 8-year term, 3.89% per year to 6.65% per year for a 10-year term, 4.18% per year to 5.11% per year for a 12-year term, 4.20% per year to 7.05% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.51% per year to 7.27% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. The fixed interest rate will apply until the loan is paid in full (whether before or after default, and whether before or after the scheduled maturity date of the loan).
Variable APR: Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Variable rate options range from 1.99% (with autopay) to 7.10% (without autopay) and will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. Our lowest rate option is shown with a 0.25% autopay discount. Our highest rate option does not include an autopay discount. The variable rates are based on the Variable rate index, is based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of April 27, 2020, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.43763%. The interest rate on a variable rate loan is comprised of an index and margin added together. The margin is a fixed amount (disclosed at the time of your loan application) added each month to the index to determine the next month’s variable rate. Variable rate options without an autopay discount consist of a range from 2.01% per year to 6.30% per year for a 5-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.35% per year for a 7-year term, 2.09% per year to 3.92% per year for a 8-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term, 2.67% per year to 4.56% per year for a 12-year term, 3.44% per year to 6.65% per year for a 15-year term, 4.75% per year to 6.93% per year for a 20-year term, or 5.14% per year to 7.10% for a 25-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable rate may be between 9.00% and 16.00%, depending on loan term. The floor rate may be between 0.54% and 4.21%, depending on loan term. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.19% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.43% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.43% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of June 15, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 6/15/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.19% effective June 10, 2020.