Scrimp, save, and side hustle: these are standard student loan strategies. But these all rely on you — and your money — to knock down student loan balances.
You can make an even bigger dent in your debt by getting help with student loans. In addition to targeting your student debt with your cash, why not get your student loans paid for by someone else?
From an extra $10 to $10,000, every bit helps, especially when it’s coming out of someone else’s pocket. Here are some original ideas to get free help with student loans.
1. Enter the Student Loan Hero Sweepstakes
Earlier this year, our Student Loan Hero Sweepstakes offered a combined $4,500 to help three people pay off their student loans. That cash helped each winner get closer to $0 in student loans.
Our Student Loan Hero Sweepstakes will be returning soon, so keep an eye out. All you need to do is submit your email address by a certain date to get one entry. Plus, you’ll earn 10 bonus entries for each friend you refer to enter.
2. See if you’re eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness
The federal government is footing the bill for many graduates through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Jobs that qualify for student loan forgiveness under this program include nonprofit employees, federal agency workers, and AmeriCorps members.
This program requires 10 years of on-time student loan payments while working in a position that qualifies for PSLF. You can get on an income-driven repayment plan to minimize monthly costs. After making 120 qualifying student loan payments, the federal government will forgive your remaining debt. Watch out, though ― you might owe taxes on the balance that’s forgiven.
3. Try student loan repayment assistance programs
There are a number of organizations that offer student loan repayment assistance. Some colleges or universities offer loan repayment assistance programs (LRAP). State-sponsored LRAPs offer student loan assistance to attract professionals like physicians or teachers.
The military can be another option for getting assistance in repaying student loans, or you can enroll in a federal income-driven repayment plan and aim for forgiveness after 20 to 25 years of payments.
Take some time to explore LRAPs and you could find one that you’re eligible for.
4. Find an employer with student loan benefits
If you’re lucky, you might find an employer offering work benefits to help you repay student loans.
The most common form of this is matching student loan payments on a monthly or annual basis, up to a certain amount. Some employers may also offer tuition assistance or an education stipend to help you pay for school now. Even a bonus or raise can be applied to your student loans to pay them off faster.
5. Start a crowdfunding campaign
If you want some help getting closer to your goal of being debt-free, you can try asking your social circle to chip in with a crowdfunding campaign.
Sites like GoFundMe and Fundly make it easy to set up a crowdfunding campaign. Theses sites simplify the process of receiving and processing payments, but they also tend to take a cut of the payments received.
If crowdfunding’s not your style, try asking others to replace gifts for your birthday, the holidays, or other life events with cash. Just make it clear that you will put that money toward your student loans — and then follow through.
6. Play a trivia app that gives you a chance at a crowdfunded payoff
Trivia app Givling is putting its earnings to good use to help its users tackle their student loans. You can play Givling once a day for free (additional plays can be bought in-app) and cash prizes are awarded daily to the highest scorers.
But Givling also uses its earnings (made through its pay-to-play option and in-app ads) to actually repay the student debts of 10 users at a time. Sign up for the app for a chance at being one of those 10 users, and having up to $50,000 of your student debt repaid.
7. Earn rewards toward student debt repayment
Gradifi is another tech startup that aims to help people find extra cash to put toward student loans. Register for Gradifi and you can earn and accrue rewards that can be redeemed for a cash contribution toward your student loan balance.
Gradifi users can earn rewards with everyday spending through its branded debit card, which gives 1 percent cash back toward student loans. Or users can make bigger moves to earn larger rewards, like getting $300 for refinancing their with Citizens Bank.
From big moves (like choosing a PSLF-eligible job) to small (like paying with a different debit card), use these ideas to get help with student loans. Make sure you’re taking advantage of every available opportunity to get your student loans paid for, and you could repay your loans months — or even years — faster.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 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 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% 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 Month/Day/Year, 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 08/21/18. 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@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 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.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
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 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.57% – 6.97%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.51% – 8.09%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.02% – 6.44%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.24%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|