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How to Conquer Student Loans with Extra Payments

Many student loans have a standard 10-year repayment plan, where borrowers make a set monthly payment that is applied to interest and principal to pay the loan in full at the end of 10 years. If you are able to make extra payments, though, you may be able cut your repayment period and save money along the way.

The following examples are based on average debt or the class of 2019 for three types of degrees, and assuming loans with a 10-year repayment term, a 6% interest rate and extra payments beginning with the first payment.

Infographic: All information presented in graphic is repeated in article.

Master's Degree

With debt totaling $66,000* to obtain a master's degree (not counting any debt for undergraduate studies), a borrower who pays an extra $100 each month will save approximately $3,670 on interest payments and repay the debt in eight years and six months.

A borrower who pays an extra $200 each month on the same $66,000 will save about $6,271 on interest and pay off the loans in seven years and four months.

* includes only debt for graduate school; does not include undergraduate debt

Bachelor's Degree

The average total debt to obtain a bachelor's degree is $29,900. An extra $100 payment each month will save the borrower approximately $3,043 in interest and repay the loan amount in seven years and two months.

Paying an extra $200 a month on the $29,900 debt will save a borrower about $4,643 in interest and pay off the loan amount in five years and seven months.

Associate Degree

An associate degree holder with the average debt of $19,600 making an extra $100 payment per month will save about $2,616 in interest and pay the debt off in six years and two months.

Making an extra $200 payment each month on that $19,600 will save approximately $3,718 in interest and pay off the debt in four years and six months.

Other Options

You also have options for reducing total debt before your first payment is due. Making interest payments or even refinancing while you're still in school can help you once you begin repaying your loans.

If a monthly commitment to extra payments isn’t going to work for you once you enter repayment, consider making occasional larger payments or check out how refinancing may change your repayment plan.


All loans have a term of 10 years, a fixed interest rate of 6.00%, and extra payments are applied toward principal beginning with the first payment. Interest savings only includes interest paid once repayment begins and is rounded to the nearest whole dollar.

Sources:, retrieved March 9, 2023

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