Note that the situation for student loans has changed due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and relief efforts from the government, student loan lenders and others. Check out our Student Loan Hero Coronavirus Information Center for additional news and details.
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By sending your payment on your student loan due date every month, you can stay current on your debt. But if you want to pay off your loans faster, you could opt to make one or more extra payments before your bill is due.
You might also be able to switch your student loan due date and customize your payment plan based on what works best for you. Let’s review your options:
- Paying on your student loan due date
- Shifting your student loan payment due date
- Splitting your monthly payment in two
- Paying a little extra every payday
As well as:
You’re usually set up to make a payment once a month on (or by) the student loan due date your servicer or lender decides. If you can afford it, set up autopay so your lender automatically withdraws your payment from your bank account each month.
Not only can you “set it and forget it” so you never miss a payment, but you’ll likely get a 0.25% interest rate discount for using autopay. That said, your student loan due date might fall at an inconvenient time each month.
If you’re interested in paying your loan before the due date, you could contact your servicer and ask to move it to another date.
If you’re able to make an additional full payment or two, you can get ahead on your loan and push your next due date into the future — if your lender allows this.
Once I was a few months ahead on my loans, I didn’t have to pay for months. But I wasn’t going to let that interest grow while waiting to make another payment.
I wanted my loans paid off early. Since no payment was due for months, I could make a monthly payment any day of the month I wanted without penalty.
Another option is to request that your servicer not advance your due date so that you can make multiple extra payments per month.
Remember that most federal and private student loans offer a six-month grace period after you graduate, leave school or drop below half time, during which you won’t have to make payments. However, you do typically have the option to make payments anyway. Doing so could reduce the interest you’ll pay overall and cut the amount of time it takes to pay off your loans.
Another approach is to make biweekly student loan payments instead of monthly ones. Let’s say your student loan payment each month is $500. You don’t have to pay the whole $500 at once — instead, you can split it with multiple payments, as long as the total is $500.
Most people don’t get paid once a month, so looking to pay student loans monthly might not make sense for your situation. Instead, you can contribute $250 every payday on a biweekly student loan payment schedule.
If you are paid twice each month (24 paydays a year), you’ll still be paying the same $500 a month — it’s just broken up so the timing of your student loan payment matches the timing of your income.
If you are paid biweekly (26 paydays a year), you would make the same $500 minimum payment each month. But for two paydays each year, you would be making a bonus payment.
That’s the same as making a full extra payment each year. And since you’re used to paying your student loans every time you get a check, it may not feel like you’re spending more.
Paying a little extra with 26 paydays can shave time off your student loans. It’s all about lining up your student loan payments with your paydays.
If contributing every payday sounds good to you, you can set up automatic payments so you don’t have to think about it. But if you want to pay off your loans sooner, consider adding a little extra to your biweekly payment. You would not only cut your repayment term, but also save money by avoiding future interest charges.
When I had to pay student loans, I made a payment every payday and regularly increased that amount. I started paying half of my payment twice each month but then realized that adding an extra $10 would cut an extra few months off my loans. Then I increased it to $20 extra each payday, then $40, then $50.
If you focus on your budget and work hard to maximize your income, you can potentially afford to add just a little extra — maybe even $5 or $10 per payment. It all still adds up.
This is part of the strategy I used to pay off $40,000 in student loans two years after graduation.
Maybe you’re paid monthly, so monthly payments make the most sense for you. Perhaps you’re paid weekly, so a smaller payment every Friday works for you. Or you’re a freelancer with irregular income, and making large payments less frequently is your best option.
No matter which payment schedule you choose, create a budget so you can allocate as much extra money to student loans as possible while also meeting your other financial needs.
One strategy could be to adopt the 50/30/20 budget, which suggests spending no more than 50% of your income on needs, no more than 30% on wants and no more than 20% on savings. While creating a budget, you might find that you have room to cut your cable bill, for instance, which means you can cut money from your wants and reallocate it to debt repayment.
When extra loan payments don’t make sense
In some cases, working to pay off loans fast by making extra payments may not be your best financial plan. If you’re working toward another major goal, such as buying a home or moving to a new city, paying the minimum on your loans and saving additional money may make more sense.
Additionally, saving for retirement should be a priority, too — especially if you’re young and have time for your money to grow. You may save more money in the long run if you invest in a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA) while paying the minimum on lower-interest student loans.
You can usually change your payment plan anytime as long as you meet the minimum, so test out different strategies on when to pay student loans to see what works best for you. Plus, make sure to communicate with your loan servicer to make sure you’re staying up-to-date on all your student loans.
Rebecca Safier and Brianna McGurran contributed to this article.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.74% – 8.70%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.74% – 7.99%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|4.44% – 8.09%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.74% – 7.99%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.74% – 7.99%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.05% – 5.25%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.86% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|N/A8||Undergrad & Graduate|
|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 May 4, 2022.
2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
Student Loan Refinance Interest Rate Disclosure Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 2.99% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 1.99% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 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%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. Let us know if you have any questions and feel free to reach out directly to our team.
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 Apr 22, 2021 and may increase after consummation.
4 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates range from 3.49% APR to 7.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 1.74% APR to 7.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. 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. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.
5 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.
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 5/17/2022 student loan refinancing rates range from 2.05% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.49% APR – 7.93% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
8 Important Disclosures for PenFed.
Fixed Rate Loan Terms: 5 years/60 monthly payments, 8 years/96 monthly payments, 12 years/144 monthly payments or 15 years/180 monthly payments. Annual Percentage Rate is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed rates range from 3.29% to 5.43% APR. Rates are subject to change without notice. Fixed APR: Fixed rates will not change during the term. This rate is expressed as an APR. Since there are no fees associated with this loan offer, the APR is the same percentage as the actual interest rate of the loan. 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.