“Sallie Mae Back” and 10 More Songs That’ll Motivate You to Pay Off Your Student Loans

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David Augustine was just another guy, working two jobs, living off instant noodles, and struggling to pay off his student loans. He had even gone into default.

Then he scored a record contract (under the alias Dee-1) and used the money to pay off his student loan debt. Now, his song detailing his debt journey, “Sallie Mae Back,” has amassed more than 5 million hits and countless numbers of shares and likes in its first month alone.

Part of the success of this viral song is the story in itself. Paying back your loans is no easy feat — but it’s something millions of young Americans are attempting to do. In fact, One Wisconsin Institute found it takes graduates an average of 21 years to pay off their student loans.

But, as Dee-1 proves, there is hope. By making your payments diligently, you, like the upstart rapper, can pay off your loans. If you need some inspiration, “Sallie Mae Back” is a good place to start. Round out your loan payback inspiration playlist with these ten other awesome debt repayment songs.

1. “Bills Bills Bills” by Destiny’s Child


It might seem nice to have someone pay off all your debts. But really, isn’t it more attractive when you pay off your student loans yourself instead of depending on others like your mom or your “sugar mama” to pay your loans? We’re sure Beyoncé would think so.

Before you jump into a relationship with a fellow student loan debt holder, we recommend reading up on marriage and student loans.

2. “Free Money” by Patti Smith

Debt repayment can even infiltrate your dreams, as the venerable Patti Smith knows all too well.

“Every night before I go to sleep,” she sings on this track from her 1975 masterpiece Horses, “Find a ticket, win a lottery.” It’s tempting to live in the fantasy world, isn’t it?

But remember, just as Smith does: it’s just a dream. Real debt repayment takes hard work. And, if you don’t pay your student loans, those fantasy lottery winnings can be seized unless you ante up.

3. “16 Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford

Feeling oppressed by how hard you’re working? Tennessee Ernie Ford has you covered with his #1 hit from 1955. And while the average cost of college at a school like University of Pennsylvania was a mere $800 in the 1950s, his lyrics still speak to us today.

“You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?” the song asks, “Another day older and deeper in debt.” It’s not cheery, but it definitely captures the way paying back your loans can sometimes feel like going in circles, as if you’re getting nowhere.

4. “Bills” by LunchMoney Lewis

“I got bills I gotta pay / So I’m gonna work, work every day,” the rapper claims on his debut single as he laments about the extra jobs he takes on to get through the mountains of papers.

Getting a second job or side hustling your way through your debt payments is just one of the many ways you can tackle debts faster. This song is great inspiration — and wise words to keep in mind. Work hard, and you’ll earn what you need to pay down your debts.

5. “If I Had $1,000,000” by the Barenaked Ladies

What would you do if you had a million dollars? Buy a big house? Travel the world? Money means freedom when you don’t owe a soul. Sure, it can be fun to fantasize about other stuff you might buy, too (“like a llama or an emu”), but would you do?

That’s why we think the Barenaked Ladies need to amend their hit song to add paying down what you owe the government or private lenders. Either way, this song is great for cheering you back up and getting you thinking about the future or helping you build your dream to-do list.

6. “Royals” by Lorde


Paying off your student loans will leave you without much money, but as the pop chanteuse from New Zealand rightly notes in this 2013 mega-hit, you don’t need money to have a good time. This song is all about doing your own thing — even if you’re broke.

Frugal living doesn’t have to be horrible or sacrificing. Learning to live on less can be your salvation to paying off your loans faster by allowing you to save more on expenditures. Skip the fancy watches and drinks. You’ve got bigger plans.

7. “The Debt I Owe” by Lou Reed

Legend rocker Lou Reed set music to a poem by folk master Woody Guthrie. It shows that, no matter the era, debt is the same. “Every day, several times a day, a thought comes over me,” Reed sings, “I owe more debts than I ever can pay back more money than I’ll ever see.”

It’s perfect for commiserating when you’re feeling discouraged — you’re not alone. Experian states that over 40 million Americans have an outstanding student loan.

8. “Pay It Back” by Elvis Costello

“One of these days, I’ll pay it back,” the post-punk icon croons in the chorus of this deep cut from 1977. This is where you start turning things around. It’s not as oppressive as it seems — or even if it is, you’re going to get it done, someday.

Do you know you can get to that “one of these days” faster? If you’re wanting to cut time off your student loan repayment, consider refinancing your loans. Not only will you pay it off sooner, you’ll also save on interest.

9. “I Will Survive” by Donna Summer (or Cake)


First you were afraid, you were petrified… kept thinking how you could ever live making student loan payments that high!

As you make your way through, you’ll find you’re absolutely able to do this. You may even notice you have strengths you never knew you had. You can be fiscally responsible. You can get your finances on track. You’ll “get strong” and “learn how to get along.” You. Will. Repay. This. Loan.

10. “Free” by Phish

This is your celebration song. “I see the path ahead of me,” the lyrics say, and it’s totally true of you. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. “In a minute, I’ll be free,” you can sing along with the band. You’re on your way to a better, debt-free life.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.99% – 5.64%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.89% – 5.90%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.25% – 6.28%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.89% – 6.77%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

1.99% – 5.61%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

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 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% 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 July 31, 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 7/31/2020. 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.


2 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.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

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 September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.28% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.28% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 2.32% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. 

4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

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 September 10, 2020.


5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. 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 0.16% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.

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.