How To Pay Off Student Loans Faster: 8 Smart Tips

By Minh Tong Reviewed by Nima Vahdat Updated Jun 04, 2024
How To Pay Off Student Loans Faster: 8 Smart Tips

Despite student loans rising over the past decade, you can accelerate your repayment and achieve financial freedom sooner using these tips below.

Over the past three decades, college expenses have consistently risen. During this period, tuition fees at public 4-year colleges have surged from $4,160 to $10,740, while those at private nonprofit institutions have increased from $19,360 to $38,070 (adjusted for inflation). 

As the expenses have escalated, there has been a corresponding increase in the reliance on student loans and other financial assistance. As of the first quarter of 2023, the total student loan debt in the United States stood at $1.77 trillion.

Paying off a five-figure or higher amount of student debt can often feel like a never-ending task. While the standard federal student loan repayment period spans a decade, the typical student borrower requires around 20 years to completely clear their debt, according to the Education Data Initiative.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

  • Paying off student loans early can save you money on interest and free up your budget for other financial goals.
  • Setting up automatic payments, making additional payments, and utilizing debt payoff methods like the snowball and avalanche can help you pay off student loans faster.
  • Exploring options such as refinancing, employer assistance programs, and loan forgiveness can further accelerate your student loan repayment journey.

Is It A Good Idea To Pay Off Your Student Loans Early? 

Paying off student loans early can be a smart financial move for several reasons. 

By eliminating your student debt sooner, you can save money on interest payments over the life of the loan, potentially thousands of dollars. Additionally, becoming debt-free allows you to allocate more funds towards savings, investments, or other financial goals, enhancing your long-term financial well-being.

How to Pay Off Student Loans Faster By Using These 8 Tips

Tip #1 – Set Up Automatic Payments

Setting up automatic payments for your student loans can streamline the repayment process and ensure that you never miss a payment. 

Many lenders, including federal student loan servicers, offer interest rate discounts or other benefits for borrowers who enroll in automatic payment programs, providing additional incentives to automate your loan payments.

Typically, this autopay discount amounts to a reduction of 0.25 percentage points from your interest rate. While this may appear minor at first glance, the savings can accumulate significantly over the duration of the loan.

Tip #2 – Make Additional Payments

Making additional payments to pay off student loans faster involves allocating extra funds towards your loan payments beyond the minimum required amount. 

Your “minimum payment” is the amount you have to pay each month to avoid defaulting on your student loans.

Sticking to the standard repayment plan won’t get you very far. Whether you get a nice tax refund or come into a work bonus, using this windfall to increase the amount you pay each month will reduce the principal balance faster, which in turn decreases the total interest accrued over the life of the loan. 

Before making additional payments, it’s advisable to check with your loan servicer to understand how these payments will be applied to your account.

Tip #3 – Use The Debt Snowball Method

The debt snowball method can be a total game changer. It involves paying off your smallest student loan balances first while making minimum payments on larger loans. 

Once the smallest loan is paid off, you roll the amount you were paying towards it into the next smallest loan, gradually increasing the payment size and momentum as you move through your debt.

Tip #4 – Use The Debt Avalanche Method

The debt avalanche method prioritizes paying off debts with the highest interest rates first. 

By tackling high-interest loans early, you minimize the total interest paid over time and accelerate your overall debt payoff.

If you have both subsidized and unsubsidized student loans, focus on paying off unsubsidized loans first. These loans accrue interest while you’re in school and during deferment periods, making them costlier over time. 

By eliminating unsubsidized loans quickly, you can minimize interest accrual and reduce the total cost of borrowing.

Tip #5 – Consider Refinancing High Interest Student Loans

Refinancing your student loans involves taking out a new loan with a private lender to pay off one or more existing student loans. 

If you have high-interest student loans and good-to-excellent credit, refinancing can potentially lower your interest rate, reduce your monthly payments, and shorten your repayment term, allowing you to pay off your loans faster and save money on interest.

Tip #6 – Explore Employer Assistance Programs

Some employers offer student loan repayment assistance as part of their employee benefits package. 

These programs may provide financial assistance or incentives to help employees pay off their student loans faster. 

Check with your employer to see if they offer any student loan repayment benefits and how you can take advantage of them.

Tip #7 – Make Bi-Weekly Payments

Instead of making monthly payments, consider switching to a bi-weekly payment schedule. 

By making half of your monthly payment every two weeks, you’ll end up making an extra payment each year, which can accelerate your loan payoff and save you money on interest.

While most borrowers may not perceive a significant alteration in their monthly budget when transitioning from monthly to biweekly payments, this subtle adjustment can expedite the repayment of a 10-year student loan term by a year or more, resulting in hundreds of dollars or more in interest savings.

Tip #8 – Apply For Loan Forgiveness

Explore loan forgiveness programs offered by the government or specific professions, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF). 

These programs forgive a portion or all of your student loan debt in exchange for qualifying employment or service, providing a faster path to debt relief for eligible borrowers.

Are There Loans To Pay Off Student Loans?

Yes, there are loans specifically designed to pay off existing student loans. 

These are often referred to as student loan refinancing or consolidation loans. With these loans, borrowers can combine multiple student loans into a single loan with a new interest rate, repayment term, and monthly payment.

Here’s how it typically works…

Refinancing: Borrowers apply for a new loan from a private lender, who pays off the existing student loans. The borrower then repays the new loan according to the terms and conditions set by the lender.

Consolidation: This involves combining multiple federal student loans into one loan through a Direct Consolidation Loan provided by the federal government. The interest rate on the new loan is a weighted average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of a percent.

Both options offer potential benefits such as lower interest rates, simplified repayment with a single monthly payment, and the possibility of reducing monthly payments or shortening the repayment term.

However, it’s important to note that refinancing federal loans with a private lender means losing federal benefits like income-driven repayment plans, loan forgiveness programs, and generous deferment and forbearance options. 

Additionally, private lenders may require a good credit score and stable income to qualify for refinancing.

Before pursuing a loan to pay off student loans, borrowers should carefully consider their individual financial situation, weigh the pros and cons, and explore all available options to ensure you make the best decision for your situation.

Some Final Thoughts On How To Pay Off Student Loans Faster

Paying off student loans faster is achievable with dedication, strategic planning, and the right tools and resources. 

By implementing the tips outlined in this guide, you can accelerate your student loan repayment journey and achieve financial freedom sooner. Take control of your debt today and pave the way for a brighter financial future.

If you’re struggling with student loan debt or looking for personalized debt relief solutions, we can help!

At Americor, we understand the importance of managing your finances wisely. 

As America’s trusted source for debt relief solutions, we aim to empower you with financial knowledge that can lead to informed decisions, whether it’s about savings, investments, or managing debt.

If your debt has become unmanageable and you have difficulty making your debt payments each month, then you should consider a free consultation call with one of our certified Debt Consultants, who can provide personalized advice tailored to your specific needs.

By taking proactive steps today, you can put an end to your financial stress and work towards a brighter financial future. 

Remember, there is always hope for debt relief, and our team of experienced professionals are ready to guide you on your journey to regaining control of your finances.

For more information on Americor’s debt relief services, contact us today to see how we can help you eliminate your debts, and get on the fast-track to becoming completely debt-free!


minhtong

Minh Tong

Minh leverages decades of experience in marketing, sales management and technology to provide high-level advice and lead new initiatives. Minh has a Bachelor of Science in Business/Managerial Economics from University of California at Irvine. He brings over 20 years of sales and executive management experience to the company and his responsibilities include customer service improvement, professional development, and carrying out communications and marketing. Originally from the east coast, Minh resides in southern California and enjoys spending time with his family, going to the beach, and playing a variety of sports.