Do I Have to Pay My Private Student Loans While I’m Still in School?

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.

Logo

OUR PROMISE TO YOU: Student Loan Hero is a completely free website 100% focused on helping student loan borrowers get the answers they need. Read more

How do we make money? It’s actually pretty simple. If you choose to check out and become a customer of any of the loan providers featured on our site, we get compensated for sending you their way. This helps pay for our amazing staff of writers (many of which are paying back student loans of their own!).

Bottom line: We’re here for you. So please learn all you can, email us with any questions, and feel free to visit or not visit any of the loan providers on our site. Read less


Need a student loan?

Check out our top picks below or learn more about other ways to pay for college.
1.25% to 9.44% APR1

Visit Lender

1.24% to 11.98% APR2

Visit Lender

1.24% to 11.37% APR3

Visit Lender

  • Variable APR

What do you do when your federal student loan doesn’t cover all of your college expenses?

Most likely, you’ll turn to private student loan lenders, like Sallie Mae, or a personal bank or credit union. While private student loans can help you cover all of your college costs, they can wreak havoc on your finances down the road.

That’s because private student loans aren’t regulated by the government. So private lenders get to set all the terms and conditions on the student loans they offer. Most importantly, private lenders get to decide when you pay back private student loans, regardless of your overall financial or educational situation.

Here are questions to keep in mind when reviewing private student loan repayment conditions before signing on the dotted line. After all, you don’t want to be wondering this after you’ve already signed the agreement: Do you have to pay student loans while in school?

When do you pay back private student loans?
How long can you be out of school before you have to pay loans?
Can I defer private student loan payments?
Should I start to pay student loans while in school?

When do you pay back private student loans?

Student loans get you the money you need to pay for college, but after you graduate you’ll be paying a lot of money in interest for loans that you took out years ago. Borrowers often wonder if they have to pay student loans while in school. Thankfully, most private lenders realize that students can’t repay loans while they’re still in school. However, some lenders still do require in-school payments.

Always make sure you read your loan documents carefully before you sign them. They should give you an idea of when your private student loan repayment should start. For federal student loans and most private student loans, repayment typically starts six months after you graduate from college.

How long can you be out of school before you have to pay loans?

Some private lenders offer a grace period after you graduate during which you don’t have to make student loan payments. The length of the grace period may vary, but it’s usually about six months. Be sure to check your loan agreement to see what kind of grace period you have.

A grace period gives you a little time to get on your feet and find a job. You should use the time to your advantage by saving aggressively while you aren’t making monthly payments. Try to tuck away a few hundred dollars each month for your student loan payments, and don’t let lifestyle inflation set in.

Or, if you have the financial means, consider getting a head start on your student loans by starting to repay them. Interest can keep accruing even during a grace period. So making payments during your grace period allows you to avoid additional accrued interest, which can save you money in the long run. Check with your lender about prepayment penalties, as some lenders will penalize you for prepayments. Once your private student loan repayment period officially begins, you’re already a bit ahead of the game.

Can I defer private student loan payments?

Another option for giving yourself more time before you have to repay your student loans is deferment. It’s more commonly offered for federal student loans, but some lenders may offer deferment options for private student loan repayment if you meet certain criteria.

If you’re going back to school, have a limited income or are enrolled in a certification class or an internship, check with your lender to see if the company offers deferment or forbearance options. Just remember that interest may still accrue even when you defer payments on private student loans. So do the math and make sure deferment is financially the best option for you.

Final word: Do you have to pay student loans while in school?

While most student loans don’t require payments while you’re in school, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start paying them off early if you can afford it.

One of the biggest reasons to start making payments on private loans right away is the interest.

You accrue interest on the balance every month — even when you’re in school. That means you’ll be paying the principal balance, interest and the interest on that interest if you don’t start private student loan repayment early.

Paying off some of that interest while you’re still in college will also help your overall loan balance stay manageable. Early payments made during undergrad can be as little as $25, too. Plus, it will give you some relief when it comes to making full student loan payments after graduation.

Regardless of whether you pay student loans while in school, make sure to be your own advocate and ensure you fully understand what you are agreeing to when it comes to private student loan repayment before signing your documents.

Sage Evans contributed to this report.

Need a student loan?

Check out our top picks below or learn more about other ways to pay for college.
Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Variable APRDegrees That QualifyMore Info
1.25% – 9.44%1 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit SallieMae

1.24% – 11.98%2 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit College Ave

1.24% – 11.37%3 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit Discover

1.24% – 11.44%4 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit Earnest

2.73% – 13.01%5 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit Ascent

3.52% – 9.50%6 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit CommonBond