How to pay off student loans

By paying extra, making biweekly payments, making lump-sum payments and refinancing, people may be able to pay off their student loans.

When the average California resident finishes college, he or she likely has at least some accrued debt thanks to student loans. According to Forbes.com, the current 44 million student-loan holders owe over $1.4 trillion. This gives the average debtor nearly $32,000 in loans. With so much debt at the start of a person's working life, many graduates may feel financially burdened and uncertain as to how they will pay off the loan.

Pay extra when possible

Many student borrowers are given a pay-off period of about 10 years. However, if a person is able to pay extra on his or her loan each month, it is possible for him or her to pay off the debt in just over nine years, which can save almost $5,000 in interest. Even if someone cannot make more than the required payment each month, putting a little extra toward the loan when possible can help pay off the sum.

Go biweekly

Most payment plans are set up to have a single due date each month. If a person chooses to pay the normal monthly amount by paying half of the payment amount every two weeks, it can actually force him or her to make an extra payment every year without really trying. This strategy works well for those people who cannot afford to make additional payments each month, but still want to pay off the sum quicker.

Make lump payments

Many people get annual bonuses from work or a tax refund every year. When these large sums of money come a person's way, it may be beneficial to put all of the money toward an outstanding debt, like a student loan. Even if only a portion of the extra money goes towards the loan, making a lump payment can help cut down on the principal. To really get the most benefit from this strategy, a person should use the extra cash to make an additional monthly payment rather than include it in his or her normal payment.

Refinance

When a loan is initially handed out, the debtor likely does not have a good paying job because he or she is trying to earn a degree. For this reason, it can be beneficial to refinance student loans once certain criteria are met, such as the following:

  • Credit score of at least 690
  • History of making on-time payments
  • Steady job with solid income

This strategy helps pay off the student loan because it can consolidate multiple loans and provide a lower interest rate. When a person refinances, he or she can also pick a shorter payment term if higher monthly payments are feasible.

Many California residents may be followed around by student loans for their early working life. If the debt is too much to handle, it may be beneficial to work with an attorney familiar with bankruptcy law.