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July 2024
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How to Pay Off $80,000 in Student Loans

Paying for college can be expensive. While the average student loan debt for college students is $39,351, it isn’t uncommon for students to leave school with $80,000 or more in education debt.

Tackling this amount of student loan debt can be difficult and time consuming. For example, if you had $80,000 in federal student loans made payments on the standard 10-year repayment plan with a 6.22% interest rate, you’d end up with a monthly payment of $897 and a total repayment cost of $107,643.

The good news is that there are multiple strategies that could help you pay off $80,000 in student loans more easily — and sometimes, more quickly as well.

Here are five ways to pay off $80,000 in student loans:

Refinance your student loansConsider using a cosigner when refinancingExplore income-driven repayment plansPursue loan forgiveness for federal student loansAdopt the debt avalanche or debt snowball method

1. Refinance your student loans

If you refinance your student loans, you’ll take out a new private loan to pay off your old loans, leaving you with just one loan and payment to manage. Depending on your credit, you might qualify for a lower interest rate through refinancing — this could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on interest as well as potentially help you pay off your loans faster.

Or you could opt to extend your repayment term to reduce your monthly payments and lessen the strain on your budget. Just keep in mind that by choosing a longer term, you’ll pay more in interest over time.

Keep in mind: While you can refinance both federal and private loans, refinancing federal student loans will cost you access to federal benefits and protections — such as income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.

If you decide to refinance your student loans, be sure to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in just two minutes.

LenderFixed rates from (APR)Variable rates from (APR)Loan terms (years)Loan amounts

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
4.54%+N/A10, 15, 20$7,500 up to up to $200,000
(larger balances require special approval)Fixed APR:
4.54%+Variable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$7,500 up to $500,000Loan terms (years):
10, 15, 20Max. undergraduate loan balance:
$250,000 – $500,000Time to fund:
4 monthsRepayment options:
Immediate repayment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Must be a resident of KentuckyCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
NoCosigner release:
After 36 monthsLoan servicer:
Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan CorporationMax. graduate loan balance:
$250,000 – $500,000Credible Review:
Advantage Education Loan reviewOffers Parent PLUS Refinancing :
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.15%+
1.87%+5, 7, 10, 15, 20$10,000 up to $250,000
(depending on degree)Fixed APR:
2.15%+Variable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$10,000 to $400,000Loan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 15, 20Repayment options:
Military deferment, forbearanceFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Must have a credit score of at least 720, a minimum income of $60,000, and must be a resident of TexasCustomer service:
Email, phoneSoft credit check:
Does not discloseCosigner release:
NoLoan servicer:
Firstmark ServicesMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
$100,000 – $149,000Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
$200,000 – $400,000Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Does not disclose

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.44%+1
2.24%+15, 7, 10, 15, 20$10,000 to $500,000
(depending on degree and loan type)Fixed APR:
2.44%+1Variable APR:
2.24%+1Min. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$10,000 to $750,000Loan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 15, 20Repayment options:
Immediate repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
Autopay, loyaltyEligibility:
Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loansCustomer service:
Email, phone, chatSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
After 24 to 36 monthsLoan servicer:
Firstmark ServicesMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
$100,000 to $149,000Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
Less than $150,000Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.99%+2
2.94%+25, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20$5,000 to $300,000
(depending on degree type)Fixed APR:
2.99%+2Variable APR:
2.94%+2Min. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$5,000 to $300,000Loan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20Repayment options:
Military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
All states except for MECustomer service:
Email, phone, chatSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
After 24 to 36 monthsLoan servicer:
College Ave Servicing LLCMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
$100,000 to $149,000Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
Less than $300,000Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.16%+
2.11%+5, 7, 10, 15, 20$5,000 to $500,000Fixed rate:
2.44%+1Variable rate:
2.24%+1Min. credit score:
680Loan amount:
$5,000 to $500,000Cosigner release:
YesLoan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 15, 20Repayment options:
Academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states, except MS and NVCustomer service:
Email, phone, chatSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
FirstMarkMax. undergraduate loan balance:
$500,000Max. graduate loan balance:
$500,000Offers Parent PLUS refinancing:
YesMin. income:
$65,000 (for 15- and 20-year products)

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
1.8%+5
1.8%+55, 10, 15, 20$1,000 to $250,000Fixed APR:
1.8%+5Variable APR:
1.8%+5Min. credit score:
700Loan amount:
$7,500 to $200,000Loan terms (years):
5, 10, 15, 20Repayment options:
Immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and submit two personal referencesCustomer service:
Email, phoneSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
After 36 monthsLoan servicer:
Granite State Management & Resources (GSM&R)Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
$150,000 to $249,000Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
$150,000 to $199,000Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing :
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.47%+3
2.39%+35, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20Minimum of $15,000Fixed APR:
2.47%+3Variable APR:
2.39%+3Min. credit score:
680Loan amount:
No maximumLoan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20Repayment options:
ForbearanceFees:
NoneDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have at least $15,000 in student loan debt, and have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved schoolCustomer service:
Email, phoneSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
NoLoan servicer:
MohelaMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
No maximumMax. Graduate Loan Balance:
No maximumOffers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
3.47%+4
2.44%+45, 10, 15, 20$5,000 – $250,000Fixed APR:
3.47%+4Variable APR:
2.44%+4Min. credit score:
670Loan amount:
$5,000 to $250,000Loan terms (years):
5, 10, 15, 20Repayment options:
Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearanceFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Must be U.S. citizen or permanent residentCustomer service:
Email, phone, chatSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
YesMax undergraduate loan balance:
$250,000Max graduate loan balance:
$250,000Offers Parent PLUS refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.24%+7N/A5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20Up to $300,000Fixed APR:
2.24%+7Variable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
670Loan amount:
Up to $300,000Loan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 15, 20Time to fund:
Usually one business dayRepayment options:
Academic deferral, military deferral, forbearance, death/disability dischargeFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Email, phoneSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
After 24 monthsMax. undergraduate loan balance:
$300,000Max. graduate balance:
$300,000Offers Parent PLUS loans:
YesMin. income:
None

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
3.05%+
3.05%+7, 10, 15$10,000 up to the total amount of qualified education debtFixed APR:
3.05%+Variable APR:
3.05%+Min. credit score:
670Loan amount:
$10,000 up to the total amountLoan terms (years):
7, 10, 15Repayment options:
Military deferment, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
NoneDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loansCustomer service:
Email, phoneSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
NoLoan servicer:
AESMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
No maximumMax. Gradaute Loan Balance:
No maximumOffers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.89%+N/A5, 8, 12, 15$7,500 to $300,000Fixed APR:
2.89%+Variable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
670Loan amount:
$7,500 to $300,000Loan terms (years):
5, 8, 12, 15Repayment options:
Does not discloseFees:
NoneDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Must be a U.S. citizen and have and at least $7,500 in student loansCustomer service:
Email, phone, chatSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
After 12 monthsLoan servicer:
PenFedMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
$300,000Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
$300,000Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.69%+N/A5, 10, 15$7,500 up to $250,000
(depending on highest degree earned)Fixed APR:
2.69%+Variable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
680Loan amount:
$7,500 to $250,000Loan terms (years):
5, 10, 15Repayment options:
Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all 50 states; must also have at least $7,500 in student loans and a minimum income of $40,000Customer service:
Email, phoneSoft credit check:
Does not discloseCosigner release:
NoLoan servicer:
Rhode Island Student Loan AuthorityMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
$150,000 – $249,000Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
$200,000 – $249,000Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.49%+6
1.99%+65, 7, 10, 15, 20$5,000 up to the full balance of your qualified education loansFixed APR:
2.49%+6Variable APR:
1.99%+6Min. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$5,000 up to the full balanceLoan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 15, 20Repayment options:
Academic deferment, military defermentFees:
NoneDiscounts:
Autopay, loyaltyEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Email, phone, chatSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
NoMax undergraduate loan balance:
No maximumMax graduate loan balance:
No maximumOffers Parent PLUS refinancing:
YesCompare personalized rates from multiple lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!

Compare Now

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2. Consider using a cosigner when refinancing

Most lenders require you to have good to excellent credit to qualify for student loan refinancing — a good credit score is usually considered to be 700 or higher. There are also several lenders that offer refinancing for bad credit, but these loans typically have higher interest rates compared to good credit loans.

If you have poor credit and are struggling to get approved, consider applying with a creditworthy cosigner to improve your chances. Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify, having one could get you a lower interest rate than you’d get on your own.

Tip: A cosigner can be anyone with good credit who is willing to share responsibility for the loan. For example, you could ask a parent, another relative, or a trusted friend to cosign.

Just keep in mind that if you can’t make your payments, your cosigner will be liable — this could also damage their credit.

Learn More: Best Student Refinance Companies: Reviewed and Rated

3. Explore income-driven repayment plans

If you have federal student loans, signing up for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan could make your loan payments easier to manage. On an IDR plan, your payments are based on your income — usually 10% to 20% of your discretionary income. Additionally, you could have any remaining balance forgiven after 20 to 25 years, depending on the plan.

Here’s how the four main IDR plans compare to a few other federal repayment plan options:

Repayment planWho’s eligible?Monthly paymentRepayment termsEligible for loan forgiveness?Standard repayment planAny borrower with Direct or FFEL LoansAmount when payments are spread equally over 10 years (usually $50 minimum) 10 yearsNoGraduated repayment planAny borrower with Direct or FFEL LoansDepends on loan amount
(payments start low and increase every 2 years)10 yearsNoExtended repayment planAny borrower with more than $30,000 in Direct or FFEL LoansFixed: Spread evenly over up to 25 years

Graduated: Depends on loan amount (start low and increase every 2 years)Up to 25 yearsNoIncome-Based Repayment (IBR)Borrowers with partial financial hardship

(no Parent PLUS Loans)For borrowers who took out loans after July 1, 2014: 10% of discretionary income
(never more than 10-year plan)

For borrowers who took out loans before July 1, 2014: 15% of discretionary income
(never more than 10-year plan)For borrowers who took out loans after July 1, 2014: 20 years

For borrowers who took out loans before July 1, 2014: 25 yearsYesPay As You Earn (PAYE)Must have partial financial hardshipMust have borrowed on or after Oct. 1, 200710% of discretionary income
(never more than 10-year plan)20 yearsYesRevised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)Any borrower
(no Parent PLUS Loans)10% of discretionary income
(no cap)20 years
(25 years if repaying grad school debt)YesIncome Contingent Repayment (ICR)Any borrower
(Parent PLUS Loans must be consolidated)20% of discretionary income
(or income-adjusted payment on 12-year plan)25 yearsYes

Check Out: PAYE vs. REPAYE: Which Repayment Plan Is Right for You?

4. Pursue loan forgiveness for federal student loans

There are several forgiveness programs available to federal student loan borrowers. These programs generally require you to be employed in a certain field and to make qualifying payments for a specific period of time.

For example: If you work for a nonprofit or government organization, you might be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) after making qualifying payments for 10 years.

Other professions that might qualify for federal forgiveness programs include:

DentistsDoctorsLawyers NursesPharmacistsTeachersKeep in mind: Unfortunately, private student loan forgiveness doesn’t exist. However, there are other options that could help you more easily repay your private loans — such as refinancing.

Learn More: Private Student Loan Consolidation

5. Adopt the debt avalanche or debt snowball method

There are also some situations where you might simply have to concentrate on paying off your loans as quickly as possible — such as if you have multiple loans and aren’t eligible for forgiveness. Here are a couple of payoff strategies that could help:

Debt avalanche method

With the debt avalanche method, you’ll focus on paying off your loan with the highest interest rate first while making the minimum payments on your other loans.

Once this first loan is paid off, you’ll move on to the loan with the next-highest interest rate — continuing until all of your loans are repaid.

Tip: The debt avalanche method can help you save money on interest — but it can also take a while to see your results. If you’re more motivated by small wins, you might want to consider the debt snowball method instead.

Debt snowball method

With the debt snowball method, you’ll target your smallest loan first as you continue making the minimum payments on your other loans.

After this first loan is repaid, you’ll move on to the next-smallest loan — continuing until all of your loans have been paid off.

Tip: The debt snowball method typically provides faster results than the debt avalanche, which can provide motivation through your payoff journey.

But if you don’t mind waiting to experience a win and want to save more on interest, the debt avalanche method might be a better fit.

Check Out: How Often Can You Refinance Student Loans?

Frequently asked questions

Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions about paying off $70,000 in student loans:

How long does it take to pay off $70,000 in student loans?

This will mainly depend on the type of student loans you have and your repayment plan.

Federal student loans: Depending on the repayment plan you choose, it could take 10 to 25 years to repay your federal loans. You could also choose to consolidate your loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan and extend your term up to 30 years.Private student loans: Repayment terms on private loans usually range from five to 20 years, depending on the lender. You might also be able to reduce your repayment time by refinancing to a shorter term or by making extra payments on your loans.

Can I file for bankruptcy to eliminate my student loan debt?

Yes, you can file bankruptcy for student loan debt. However, it could be hard to actually have your loans discharged. If you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll have to prove to the court that repaying your loans would cause an undue hardship for you and your dependents.

If the court decides in your favor, your loans could be:

Fully dischargedPartially discharged with you responsible for the remainder of the balanceAdjusted with different terms to make repayment easier (such as a lower interest rate)Tip: Bankruptcy will severely damage your credit and should be considered a last resort. If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy, it’s a good idea to discuss your situation with a lawyer first so you can be sure it’s the right decision for your finances.

re student loans forgiven after 20 years?

This depends on the type of loans you have.

If you have federal student loans and sign up for an IDR plan, you could have any remaining balance forgiven after 20 to 25 years. There are also other programs that offer forgiveness sooner — for example, if you’re eligible for PSLF, you could have your loans forgiven after 10 years.If you have private student loans, you aren’t eligible for forgiveness. If you have good credit, it could be a good idea in this case to refinance for a lower interest rate so you can save money on interest and possibly shorten your repayment time.

Do children inherit student debt?

Typically no. Here’s what generally happens with student loan debt after death:

Federal student loans are discharged upon the death of the primary borrower. If you have a Parent PLUS Loan, it will be discharged if you or the student who benefitted from it passes away.

Private student loans are often discharged similarly to federal loans — though keep in mind that this is at the discretion of the lender. If the lender doesn’t discharge the loans, they’ll be considered part of your estate and paid off by your assets.

The post How to Pay Off $80,000 in Student Loans appeared first on Credible.