Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jun 30, 2021

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  • Use different methods to pay off student loans to see which one works best
  • Borrowers have a six-month grace period after they graduate college
  • Several programs forgive student loans

Did you graduate from college recently and are wondering how to pay off student loans? Student loan lenders give graduates and undergrads a six-month grace period before loan payments start.

When the grace period is over, you’ll be expected to make payments. This may cause some issues, especially if you haven’t landed a job in your field.

Our guide explains everything you need to know about how to pay off student loans fast. We’ll talk about why some of you can use grants to pay off student loans or acquire student loan forgiveness altogether.

After you finish learning how to pay off student loans, enter your ZIP code in the free online quote tool above to compare multiple lenders in your area.

How To Pay Off Student Loans Fast

Student loan debt isn’t as bad as it seems. Don’t listen to detractors about your current income situation. By paying your student loan debt, you’re building credit over time.

But there’s a way to repay your student loans faster. Here’s a list of the most valuable methods you can use to pay off student loans quickly.

  • Pay more on your monthly payment
  • Calculate the number of payments and how it affects the end date
  • Consolidate your student loan debt and refinance for a lower rate (if possible)
  • Use lump sums of money to pay down your student loan debt
  • Pursue a job or program that offers student loan forgiveness
  • Create a budget
  • Use any extra money to supplement monthly payments
  • Pursue interest rate deductions
  • Take advantage of tax deductions and credits
  • Pay your student loans twice a month

If you work in your field of study, you may be more equipped to pay off your student loans.

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What are the student loan repayment plans?

According to Federal Student Aid, there are eight plans that borrowers can choose from. Here’s a list of the available plans.

  • Standard Repayment Plan
  • Graduated Repayment Plan
  • Extended Repayment Plan
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE)
  • Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE)
  • Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
  • Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)
  • Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan

The income-based repayment plans are good options if you can’t afford the monthly payments. Weigh your options. There’s no reason to get rid of necessities to make the student loan payment.

However, student loan payments can cause anxiety if your finances are stressed. Continue reading to learn how grants can help with your student loans.

Grant Programs that Pay Off Student Loan Debt

If you don’t want to deal with student loans, you can always pursue a career that will help you quickly pay off the debt. Several programs in the United States help borrowers with student loans. Here’s a list of the top nine.

  • Contraception and Infertility Research Loan Repayment Program
  • National Institute of Mental Health Loan Repayment Program
  • Nurse Corps Repayment Program
  • Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment Program
  • The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  • John R. Justice (JRJ) Student Loan Repayment Program
  • New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program
  • The ND Career Builders Scholarship & Loan Repayment Program

It doesn’t matter if you’re in repayment or falling behind — these programs can provide help with student loans.

How do I get student loan forgiveness?

Getting student loan forgiveness is challenging. You’ll need to qualify for student forgiveness. Federal Student Aid lists several types of forgiveness.

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness – Only available to government and not-for-profit employees who’ve made at least 120 monthly payments
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness – Provides up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness to teachers who work in low-income grade schools or educational service agencies

There may be more options through your student loan provider. Contact your loan company to discuss this further.

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Should I use a debt consolidation loan to pay off student loan debt?

You can use a personal loan known as a debt consolidation loan to pay off student loan debt. However, getting a loan that’s over 50% of your current income won’t be beneficial in the long run.

Keep making payments until you can get your student loan down to a more manageable balance.

How to Pay Off Student Loans: What’s the bottom line?

Student loans can be simple if you can afford the monthly payments. However, when student loan payments get too expensive, enroll in an income-based repayment plan to save money.

Now that you’ve seen how to pay off student loans, use our free comparison tool below to compare multiple lenders near you and explore your options.