Student Loan Calculator

Use this tool to figure out your estimated monthly student loan payment and to get an idea of how much interest you’ll pay over the life of your loan.

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How to use the Student Loan Calculator

This student loan calculator will give you a good estimate of how much you will pay in interest for your loan, and about how much your monthly payment will be under a regular repayment plan.

What information you need

  • Student loan balance — How much is left to pay on your loan (or the entire loan amount, if you haven’t started repayment)
  • Average interest rate — The interest rate on your loan. If you are crunching the numbers for a group of loans, you can use the average interest rate among the loans, so long as they are for more or less the same amount.
  • Loan term — The number of years left on your repayment plan. You can add an extra 0.25 for every additional three months.

What might affect your final result

A few factors could skew the results slightly, so if one or more of these apply, you will want to check with your lender or loan servicer to get the exact amounts.

  • Origination fee — Your total payment over the life of the loan may be slightly higher than the calculator shows if your loan includes an origination fee. These are rare for private student loans, but federal student loans do include them. You can get around this by entering the “annual percentage rate” (which factors in the fee) instead of the regular interest rate.
  • Grace period — Most student loans include a “grace period,” during which payments are optional. For federal student loans and many private loans, the grace period covers your time in school and an additional six months after graduating or otherwise ending enrollment. Using a grace period could make your total interest slightly higher than shown on the calculator.
  • Subsidized Direct student loans — Some federal student loans offered under the Direct loans program are “subsidized,” meaning the government will cover the interest for you while you’re in school, during your grace period, and if you need to defer your repayment. This would likely make your total interest slightly lower than what’s shown on the calculator result.

How to save money on student loan interest

There are ways to pay significantly less interest than this calculator shows. Your strategy will depend in large part on whether the loan in question is federal or private.

Federal student loan repayment options

  • Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans — Federal student loans allow you to switch from the standard 10-year repayment schedule to an IDR, often running 20 or 25 years. While the longer term would seem like it could make you pay more in interest (since there’s more time for the interest to accrue), this isn’t necessarily the case.That’s because (1) the payment is based on your income, and it can be as low as $0 if you’re unemployed, and (2) whatever’s left over can be forgiven after the loan term ends. And if your payment is too low to cover the interest for the month, the government might also pay some of it for you. Note: The rules for IDRs may be changing soon, so check with your servicer about this option.
  • Student loan forgiveness — A large menu of student loan forgiveness options are out there, especially for federal student loan borrowers. For example, if you work for a government agency or non-profit organization, you might qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which can cancel out any remaining student loan debt (including interest) after 10 years of repayment.

Private student loan repayment options

  • Shopping around — The most important step for saving on private student loan interest is to compare different lenders and find the best interest rate for your situation. Before you borrow, check out our list of favorite lenders, as well as what’s on offer at your own bank or credit union.
  • Refinancing — If you already have student loans (especially private ones), have a look at the refinancing rates on offer from top lenders. If you can secure a new loan at a better rate, then your savings could be substantial. See more below.
  • Getting a cosigner — Whether you’re seeking a new private student loan or hoping to refinance existing debt, you may want to consider adding a cosigner. This is someone with a better credit score/credit history than you have, and their presence on the loan will generally get you a better rate and make approval of the loan more likely.
Refinancing student loans: Is it right for you? 

As noted above, refinancing — replacing current loans with a new one — could save you a tidy sum of money on your student loans. It also has the advantage of combining some or all of your various school debt into a single loan with a single payment.

On the other hand, refinancing federal student loans can sometimes be a mistake if you think you might struggle with repayment and want access to special federal loan benefits. These include income-driven repayment and student loan forgiveness. The exception might be if you are certain you can afford repayment and want to save as much money as possible with a lower rate.

If you’re not sure, here are some pros and cons of refinancing student loans.

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