In most cases, knowledge is power — especially with student loans.
Knowing how much you owe, how long it will take to pay off your student loans and ways to compare repayment plans can help you decide the best strategy for you.
You can design or use a student loan payoff calculator in Excel, but if math is not your thing, there are loan calculators that can help you do the heavy lifting.
Here are some great student loan calculators from around the web that can help you to make smart, informed decisions concerning your repayment strategy — plus our tips for building your own student loan repayment spreadsheet if you’re so inclined.
1. Loan Simulator (U.S. Department of Education)
2. Student Loan Prepayment Calculator (Student Loan Hero)
3. The College Scorecard (Department of Education)
4. Student Loan Refinancing Calculator (Student Loan Hero)
5. Student Loan Calculator (The Washington Post)
6. Student Loan Deferment Calculator (Student Loan Hero)
7. Student Loan Payoff vs. Invest Calculator (Student Loan Hero)
● Plus: Create or co-opt a student loan payoff calculator in Excel
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 Loan Simulator (previously known as 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 Loan Simulator takes your current income and assumes that your discretionary income will grow by the same percentage annually.
If you’re using the calculator to estimate your fit for (or savings under) Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), try confirming the Simulator’s output with what our PSLF calculator spits out.
The Simulator is provided by Federal Student Aid (FSA), which is an office of the Department of Education. It also helps current students estimate the affordability of more borrowing.
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.
And if you’re interested in prepaying your student loan debt on occasion, when you receive a windfall, try our Lump Sum Extra Payment Calculator, too.
What it does: Compares the average student loan debt of graduates from specific colleges.
Why it’s helpful: Automatically imports data by college, including the percentage of students who borrow as well as their median amount of debt and monthly payment.
If you don’t know the average debt load of the college you’re attending or considering, the Department of Education’s College Scorecard will import a value automatically. All you have to do is type in the school’s name.
Also, Education Department secretary Betsy DeVos announced in December 2020 that a revamped version of the Scorecard allowed users to “compare average earnings two years after graduation based on field of study and how much federal student loan debt they can expect to incur, including new information on Parent PLUS loans.” That update makes the calculator more useful for families in which moms and dads are considering borrowing on behalf of their children.
With that said, the Scorecard’s data points are averages that serve as a guide, not the be-all-end-all. So use the College Scorecard (admittedly, more of a tool than a calculator) with this context. And also keep in mind that it doesn’t account for the median private student loan debt; just federal.
If you’re already applying to colleges or have received financial aid award offers, employ our aid package comparison tool.
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: student loan refinancing.
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.
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.
Student Loan Refinancing Calculator
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 the situation described above, 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.
If you’re unsure of what rates are available, we provide recommendations on some of the best student loan refinancing options currently available so 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 chosen profession.
The Student Loan Calculator from The Washington Post is quite helpful for comparing student loan debt to income in a given 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.
This student loan deferment calculator 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 student loans makes sense for you.
Student Loan Deferment Calculator
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 can help you 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.
Payoff vs. Invest Calculator
Time to repayment
|Time to repayment||—||—||—|
On the other hand, if you decided to invest the extra $317 per month for —, here are your results:
|Original||With Extra Investment||Savings|
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If you’re looking for something more permanent than a single calculation, it might be wise to create your own student loan repayment spreadsheet.
Student Loan Hero founder Andy Josuweit, who conquered $107,000 in education debt, created such a spreadsheet for himself to cut his budget and calculate the age by which he’d be debt-free. You can download the whole thing here but this is what some of it looked like:
Of course, you don’t have to go to the trouble of creating your own student loan repayment spreadsheet. There are student loan payoff calculators in Excel that have already been built by other borrowers. Using a template can be a time-saver.
The college loan calculator template available via Microsoft, for example, can help you track your loans and payments. Unlike with the calculators listed above, it’s a living document that you can save on your desktop until the day you’re debt-free.
Besides student loan payoff calculators in Excel, there are other Microsoft templates to help you progress in repayment. Borrower Caitlin Navratil, for example, paid off $15,000 in student loan debt in 10 months, thanks, in part, to a loan amortization schedule template in Excel.
Of course, building or even maintaining a student loan repayment spreadsheet isn’t for everyone. So if you want to track your repayment without inputting formulas into cells, you could also try an online service or mobile app. The My LendingTree dashboard, for example, also monitors credit scores and other financial information.
Use these calculators to formulate a plan
While paying off your student loans can feel insurmountable, working out the math can help you formulate a plan. That’s true whether you utilize one of the already-built calculators listed above or have interest in creating or co-opting a student loan payoff calculator via Excel, Google Sheets or another service.
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.
And if there’s a student loan problem that can’t be solved by one of the calculators or student loan repayment spreadsheets above, check out our full suite of student loan tools.
Andrew Pentis and Anna Davies contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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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 June 1, 2021.
2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
Interest Rate Disclosure
Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 2.48% APR to 5.79% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 1.88% APR to 5.64% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance 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 2.04% and 5.8% to the one month LIBOR. Earnest rate ranges are current as of 6/8/2021, and are subject to change based on market conditions.
Auto Pay Discount Disclosure
You can take advantage of the Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in Auto Pay.
Student Loan Refinancing Loan Cost Examples
These examples provide estimates based on payments beginning immediately upon loan disbursement. Variable APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 5.89% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,042.39. For a variable loan, after your starting rate is set, your rate will then vary with the market. Fixed APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 6.04% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,249.77. Your actual repayment terms may vary.Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest. com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
Earnest Loans are made by Earnest Operations LLC or One American Bank, Member FDIC. Earnest Operations LLC, NMLS #1204917. 535 Mission St., Suite 1663, San Francisco, CA 94105. California Financing Law License 6054788. Visit earnest.com/licenses for a full list of licensed states. For California residents (Student Loan Refinance Only): Loans will be arranged or made pursuant to a California Financing Law License.
One American Bank, 515 S. Minnesota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. Earnest loans are serviced by Earnest Operations LLC with support from Navient Solutions LLC (NMLS #212430). One American Bank and Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
© 2021 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved.
3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
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 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.
4 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 April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates from 2.49% APR to 6.94% APR (with autopay). Variable rates from 1.99% APR to 6.59% APR (with autopay). All variable rates are based on the 1-month LIBOR and may increase after consummation if LIBOR increases; see more at SoFi.com/legal/#1. If approved for a loan your rate will depend on a variety of factors such as your credit profile, your application and your selected loan terms. Your rate will be within the ranges of rates listed above. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or may become available, such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license #6054612; NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Additional terms and conditions apply; see SoFi.com/eligibility for details. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
6 Important Disclosures for Navient.
7 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 04/07/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.49% APR – 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
8 Important Disclosures for PenFed.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.89%-4.78% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.13%-5.25% APR. Both Fixed and Variable Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. 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.