Student-centric advice and objective recommendations
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Student Loan Payoff Calculator
Every student loan repayment plan comes with a minimum monthly payment. Borrowers have to make this payment every month in order to maintain good standing with their loan servicer. Most people who are repaying student loans make payments that are equal to that minimum monthly payment.
But if you are in a good financial situation, it can be beneficial to make higher monthly payments in order to pay your loan back quicker and reduce total interest paid. Using our student loan repayment calculator, you can determine how additional payments may expedite your loan repayment period. Let’s get into each of the terms our calculator uses:
Definitions of key terms
Related: Student loan definitions
The loan amount is the outstanding balance of your loan. Remember – if you’ve already begun payments on your loan, do not use your principal balance here, but rather, the balance that you still need to repay. This includes any outstanding interest that you owe.
APR stands for annual percentage rate. This is the percentage of your outstanding balance that you pay each year as interest on your loan. We will automatically convert the number you enter into a percentage.
This is the amount that you currently pay every month towards your student loan; do not enter the amount that you are considering raising your payments to, but rather, the amount that you currently pay.
Proposed extra payment
Use this slider to experiment with additional payments that you could make each month on your loans. In other words, the value of this section would be the amount that you are considering paying in addition to your current monthly payment
Months to pay off at new payment
This value shows the number of months it’ll take you to pay off your loan if you decide to make the extra payment proposed in the previous section.
Months to pay off at current payment
This value shows the number of months it’ll take you to pay off your loan if you go on making the same monthly payments that you do now, with no increase.
Also see: How to pay back student loans
Student loan repayment calculator
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Why pay back loans early?
As you use this calculator, you may wonder what the advantages would be of increasing your monthly payments. There are many good reasons to pay your student loans back early. Let’s get into each of them here:
Pay less in interest
Perhaps the most alluring reason to pay back your student loans early is that you’ll end up paying less in interest. Like all loans, student loans accrue interest every year, and a chunk of each monthly payment goes towards paying that interest off rather than paying down the principal.
So, if you pay back your loans earlier than expected, it leaves less time for that interest to accrue, and therefore, reduces the total amount that you’ll have to pay back. Especially for loans with a high interest rate, this is a great reason to make additional monthly payments.
Don’t miss: Which student loans should I pay back first?
Peace of mind
Understandably, some people just don’t like being in debt! As you begin to carve out a financial future for yourself, it may feel as though your monthly student debt payments are in the way or are causing you stress. If you can afford to make additional payments, you can do so in order to create a future for yourself with one less debt to worry about.
Keep in mind – while this rationale is perfectly fine to act on, it is not always a financially practical idea. Especially if you have federal student loans, it’s often the case that your interest rates are low enough that you may be better off putting money towards a retirement account or paying off other loans before you start making additional student loan payments.
Also see: How long does it take to build credit?
Improve debt-to-income ratio
One key factor of financial health is the debt-to-income ratio. It’s always a good idea to ensure that your monthly income is significantly higher than your monthly debt. If you’re able to chip away at your debt, it can help you achieve long-term financial stability.
What’s more, paying off debts can also increase your credit score in the long run. As your total debts decrease, you’ll see a lower percentage of your credit line in use, which will lead to a higher score. While some borrowers see a minor dip in their score right after paying off their loans, this is temporary, and overall, they will be making a good decision for their credit scores.
Also see: What is a student loan credit score?
Reasons not to pay back loans early
While paying back your student loans early can seem like a flawless financial decision, it does have its drawbacks. Here are a few things you should consider before throwing additional money towards your loans.
Possibility of student loan forgiveness
In the past several years, widespread student loan forgiveness has become a central political debate across the nation. While it is still unclear whether this forgiveness will occur, and to what extent it would, there is a possibility that it will happen.
Since we do not know where it stands, any payments made, especially to federal loans, could end up being detrimental to borrowers, as the loans could end up being forgiven. So, while borrowers may save money on interest by making additional payments, it is possible that they would not have had to pay back their loans at all.
It should also be noted that Public Service Loan Forgiveness rules have changed dramatically under the Biden administration, and many who could not qualify before are now eligible for the program. So, if you work in public service, make sure to check whether you can now apply.
Compromising your nest egg
Financial health is all about balance. It’s important to pay back your loans when you can afford to, but it’s also crucial to build a nest egg. Having a substantial amount of money tucked away in case of an emergency, such as a job loss, medical emergency, or family trouble, is very important. Don’t let your rush to pay back student loans compromise your savings for a rainy day.
Could deprioritize other financial goals
A nest egg is not the only financial goal that most people have. Whether you are hoping to buy a car, or even a house, it can be good to save up money towards goals that will change your lifestyle. If you are hoping to make any large purchases in the future, consider holding off on the additional loan payments until you know what the costs will be.
Other ways to reduce total interest paid
Additional payments are not the only way to reduce the interest you pay on your loan. Another great way to reduce your lifetime interest is by refinancing. If you took your loans out during a time of high interest, you may be able to transfer them to a new loan program with a significantly lower interest rate. Our guide to refinancing student loans can help you through the process.
Keep in mind that this is not a decision to be taken lightly. Before refinancing, ensure that you look into the terms and conditions of your new loan. Especially when refinancing from federal to private loans, you’ll find that repayment options and forgiveness plans differ greatly.
Borrowers who are repaying student loans have a variety of options at their fingertips. Those include making extra payments, consolidating, refinancing, and investigating additional repayment plans. You can also consider applying for student loan repayment grants, student loan forgiveness, or deferring your loans. Make sure that you are aware of all of your options before you make any big decisions. Good luck!
Frequently asked questions
Will I be penalized for paying my loans back early?
You will receive no penalty for paying back federal student loans early – in fact, you’ll end up paying much less due to the fact that you’ll pay less in interest. If you are repaying private loans, the answer can vary by lender. Penalties for early repayments are not typical, but they exist. Check with your loan servicer to learn whether early repayment will incur any sort of penalty.
Can I make extra payments on my student loans?
Yes! Anyone can make additional payments on their student loans. These additional payments typically reduce the amount that you’ll pay over the lifetime of the loan. This is because they leave it less time to accrue interest.
How does paying additional principal help?
If you make additional monthly payments on your principal, you’ll leave less principal in the account to accrue interest. So, you’ll end up paying less over the lifetime of the loan.