You’ve probably heard the cliche ignorance is bliss. But is it? In most cases, knowledge is power — especially with student loans.
If math is not your thing or you’re looking for something beyond Microsoft Excel tracking, there are student loan calculators that can help you do the heavy lifting.
How refinancing your student loans can save you money
If you’ve gotten a salary boost, are living in a less expensive city or are interested in reallocating your budget to prioritize paying off student loans, it can pay to try calculator tools to assess different scenarios. In many cases, refinancing your student loans can save you money.
For example, let’s say you have $40,000 in student loans at a 6.5% interest rate on a 20-year repayment period. Over the course of the loan, you’d pay $31,575 in interest. But if you refinanced the loan to pay it off over 15 years at a 5.5% interest rate, you’d instead pay $18,830 in interest. In the first scenario, you’d pay $298 a month; in the second one, you’d pay $327 a month.
If you can funnel more cash toward your student loan, it makes sense to do so. It also makes sense to compare interest rates across loan offers and see if it’s possible to refinance to a lower interest rate. After all, in this situation, paying an extra $29 a month would add $12,745 in savings, so it may be worth taking a look at your budget and seeing where there’s some wiggle room.
Here are some great student loan calculators from around the web that can help you to make smart, informed decisions concerning your repayment strategy.
- Repayment Estimator from U.S. Department of Education
- Student Loan Prepayment Calculator from Student Loan Hero
- Student Loan Calculator from The New York Times
- Student Loan Refinancing Calculator from Student Loan Hero
- Student Loan Calculator from The Washington Post
- Cost of Interest Capitalization Calculator from FinAid
- Student Loan Payoff vs. Invest Calculator from Student Loan Hero
What it does: Compares repayment plans for student loans
Why it’s helpful: Uses your loan and income information to show monthly payments and amounts paid on various repayment plan options
The Repayment Estimator is handy for determining how much of your student loans could be forgiven if you’re on an eligible plan. The estimator uses your specific loan information, only sharing the repayment plans you’re eligible for.
It’s important to know that the Repayment Estimator takes your current income and assumes that your discretionary income will grow by 5% a year.
The estimator is provided by Federal Student Aid, which is an office of the U.S. Department of Education. It also offers other resources, such as information about the Public Loan Forgiveness Program, or PSLF.
What it does: Shows you the effects of adding extra payments or paying off your student loans in a certain period
Why it’s helpful: Increasing your monthly repayments will likely help you save money and pay off your loans more quickly
The Student Loan Prepayment Calculator from Student Loan Hero makes calculations easier.
For example, say you have $30,000 in student loans on a 10-year repayment plan. Your interest rate is 5.5%, so you’re paying $325 a month. If you added $50 to your payment each month, you’d save $1,634 in interest while shaving off 20 months from your total repayment.
If you’re making extra student loan payments, it’s important to make sure they’re calculated correctly.
What it does: Compares the average student loan debt at specific colleges and repayment
Why it’s helpful: Automatically imports data by college and tells you what income you’ll need to make after college to make payments
If you don’t know the average debt load of the college you’re attending or considering, the Student Loan Calculator from The New York Times will import a value automatically. All you have to do is type in the school’s name.
Say you’re paying $304 a month toward student loans. How much do you need to earn to afford this? In this case, the calculator says you’ll need to earn at least $36,500 a year to keep student loans at 20% or less of your discretionary income.
What it does: Compares the savings of refinanced loans to current loans
Why it’s helpful: Shows how much you can save by refinancing
Many of these calculators show you what happens when you change your monthly payments and/or the length of your loan term. But there’s a way to reduce the total cost of your loans and reduce monthly payments at the same time: refinancing.
The Student Loan Refinancing Calculator from Student Loan Hero helps you to decide whether this decision could be right for you based on potential loan offers you’ve received. Enter your current loan balance, term and interest rate, and the one you’re considering, and the calculator will estimate your savings.
If you’re unsure of what rates are available, we provide recommendations on the best student loan refinancing options so that you can get accurate savings estimates.
What it does: Shows you how much you need to afford your student loans
Why it’s helpful: Imports salary information for your profession
It imports data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which compiles information on wage estimates. But beware: The salary is the median salary regardless of experience — not the median starting salary.
Your individual salary will depend on specifics, including the company you work for, the region where it’s located and your own experience. You can use this calculator as more of an estimate to help you get a sense of which jobs may help you pay back your student loans in the time period you desire.
What it does: Calculates the cost of deferring loans
Why it’s helpful: Indicates how much extra you’ll pay by deferring loans
The Cost of Interest Capitalization Calculator from FinAid is the simplest on the list, yet it still applies to everyone who takes out student loans. It answers the question of how much deferring loans will cost you.
You should know this number since interest charges don’t stop with unsubsidized loans in deferment. Instead, interest will keep adding up on top of your principal balance, and you don’t want to be surprised when your principal turns out to be higher than your initial balance. This calculator can help you find out whether deferring loans makes sense for you.
What it does: Helps you determine if it’s better to pay off debt or invest first
Why it’s helpful: Assists to settle the age-old question of paying off debt or investing based on your situation
Which will be better off for you in the long run: paying more toward your student loans or investing that money? The Student Loan Payoff vs. Invest Calculator from Student Loan Hero helps you to figure it out.
Simply input your current loan info, including balance and interest rate, and your current investment info, including retirement savings and years of contribution, among other things.
For example, say you have a student loan balance of $35,000. You’re making monthly payments of $383 at an interest rate of 5.7%. At the same time, you have $5,000 in retirement savings at an annual rate of return of 6%. Your current monthly contribution is $200 and you plan to contribute for 20 more years.
The calculator will show you how much quicker you’d pay off your student loans if you paid an extra $317 a month — or $700 total. But it would also show you how your retirement fund would grow if you invested that $317. Then, it’ll show you the long-term results.
Use these calculators to formulate a plan
While paying off your student loans can feel insurmountable, calculators help you formulate a plan.
By inputting different payment options and comparing the differences in total costs, you can come up with a smart strategy that works with your budget to pay off your student loans.
Based on this info, you can automate payments for the monthly amount you choose. It’s also a smart idea to get into the habit of considering your monthly loan repayment amount whenever you get a salary bump or find yourself with more expendable monthly income.
Understanding just how much you’ll save in the long run can motivate you to pay more now.
Anna Davies contributed to this article
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.89% – 6.66%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.09%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.64%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.98% – 8.55%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews! |
1 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 October 1, 2020.
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.
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.
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 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.
5 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.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 10/15/2020 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.98% APR to 8.55% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.99% APR to 8.77% Fixed APR with AutoPay.