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When it’s time to start repaying your federal student loans, you’ll automatically be enrolled in the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan. But if your circumstances change or you want different repayment options, you can change the repayment plan you’re on at any time, for free.

While changing your repayment plan usually isn’t an option if you have private student loans, many private lenders offer a variety of repayment options you can choose from when you first take out your loans.

Here’s how to change your student loan repayment plan:

How to change a student loan repayment plan

Changing your student loan repayment plan is possible, but it can result in paying more interest on your loan depending on the plan you choose. For example, if you switch to a plan with a longer repayment term to lower your monthly payment and make it more manageable, you’ll pay more interest.

If you want to change your student loan repayment plan, follow these steps:

  • Research your repayment plan options. You’ll have a few different repayment plans to choose from, so it’s a good idea to research what each one entails. If you aren’t sure which plan is the right fit, you can use the StudentAid.gov Federal Student Aid Loan Simulator to see which payment plans you’re eligible for, what your monthly payment would be, and how much you’d pay in interest for each one.
  • Contact your loan servicer. Once you’ve researched repayment plans, contact your loan servicer to alert them of your desire to change. If you’re still not sure which plan is the right fit, they can discuss your options. If you have multiple loans with more than one loan servicer, you only have to contact the servicers associated with the loans you want to change plans for.
  • Complete any required paperwork. Your loan servicer will walk you through any requirements that you need to complete in order to make the switch.
  • Check payment due dates. Your new repayment plan may not start immediately, so double check when your next payment will be due and for what amount, as well as what your ongoing schedule will be once the new plan does begin.
  • Update information for automatic payments. If you have your student loan payments set up on autopay, make sure the payment is on the right date in the event that your payment due date changed.

How to change your repayment amount

Your monthly payment amount can change when you switch repayment plans. This is why it can be helpful to research all your available repayment options. Here’s how each type of repayment plan can change your monthly payment amount:

  • Income-driven repayment plans: With an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, your monthly payment will be set at the amount that’s designed to be affordable based on your income and family size. For example, if you welcome twin babies into your family, your payments may go down. If your income increases, but your family size does not, then your payment may go up. The U.S. Department of Education offers four types of IDR plans: Income-Based Repayment, Income-Contingent Repayment, Pay As You Earn, and Revised Pay As You Earn.
  • Graduated Repayment Plan: All federal loan borrowers are eligible to switch to this repayment plan, which has monthly payments that start lower and increase over time (usually every two years). You’ll finish paying off your loans within 10 years.
  • Extended Repayment Plan: With this plan, you can extend your repayment term up to 25 years. You must have a minimum of $30,000 in federal student loan debt in order to qualify.
  • Student loans refinancing You also have the option to refinance federal or private student loans with a private lender, which can change your payment amount depending on the repayment term you choose. Refinancing makes it possible for you to secure a new loan with a new interest rate. If that interest rate is lower than your previous one, you can save money as long as you don’t choose a longer repayment plan.
Find out if refinancing is right for you

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Learn More: How to Refinance Your Student Loans

How often can I change my repayment plan?

The repayment plan you start with may not suit you down the road. You may change jobs, which can affect your income, need to take on new expenses when you start a family, or move to an area with a higher cost of living. This can affect how much you can afford to spend on loan repayment each month. One of the major perks of federal student loans is that you can change your payment plan as often as you need to.

The key is to keep in mind how changing this plan affects your overall cost of borrowing. While lowering a monthly payment may take some strain off your budget, it may be worth changing that payment plan to be more aggressive in the future once your income increases so you can pay your debt off faster and save on interest.

Here’s an example of how much you’d pay in interest on a $30,000 loan under two different types of repayment plans with a 4.99% interest rate (the 2022 interest rate for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans):

Repayment Plan
Standard Repayment Plan
Extended Repayment Plan
Payment term10 years25 years
Monthly payment$318$175
Total interest$8,166$22,561
Total payment$38,165$52,561

Student loan refinancing

Refinancing can be a great option if you’re looking to save money, under the right circumstances. If you’ve improved your credit score since originally applying for student loans, you may be able to qualify for a lower interest rate when you refinance your student loans with a private lender. Unfortunately, when you consolidate federal student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan with a federal loan servicer, you don’t get a new interest rate:You just gain the convenience of consolidating multiple loans into one.

Refinancing student loans is generally only desirable if you can secure a lower interest rate and can save money. That’s why it’s important to not take on a longer repayment term that can cancel out the lower interest rate. The longer you make payments, the more interest you’ll need to pay, which may cancel out the savings you get with a lower interest rate.

It’s worth noting that refinancing federal student loans into private ones results in losing valuable federal benefits, like access to loan forgiveness programs and income-driven repayment plans.

The student loan consolidation companies in the table below are Credible’s approved partner lenders. Because they compete for your business through Credible, you can request rates from all of them by filling out a single form. Then, you can compare your available options side-by-side. Requesting rates is free, doesn’t affect your credit score, and your personal information is not shared with our partner lenders unless you see an option you like.

LenderVariable rates from (APR)Fixed rates from (APR)


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.
4.54%+ 3.95%+
  • Fixed APR: 3.95%+
  • Variable APR: 4.54%+
  • Min. credit score: 690
  • Loan amount: $10,000 to $400,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Military deferment, forbearance
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must have a credit score of at least 720, a minimum income of $60,000, and must be a resident of Texas
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Does not disclose
  • Cosigner release: No
  • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $100,000 - $149,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: $200,000 - $400,000
  • Offers 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.
5.39%+1 5.39%+1
  • Fixed APR: 5.39%+1
  • Variable APR: 5.39%+1
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $10,000 to $750,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Immediate repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay, loyalty
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loans
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 24 to 36 months
  • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $100,000 to $149,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: Less than $150,000
  • Offers 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.
5.24%+2 5.24%+2
  • Fixed APR: 5.24%+2
  • Variable APR: 5.24%+2
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $300,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 12, 15
  • Repayment options: Military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: All states except for ME
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 24 to 36 months
  • Loan servicer: College Ave Servicing LLC
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $100,000 to $149,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: Less than $300,000
  • Offers 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.
7.41%+5 7.41%+5
  • Fixed APR: 7.41%+5
  • Variable APR: 7.29%+5
  • Min. credit score: 700
  • Loan amount: $7,500 to $200,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and submit two personal references
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 36 months
  • Loan servicer: Granite State Management & Resources (GSM&R)
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $150,000 to $249,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: $150,000 to $199,000
  • Offers 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.
3.99%+3 4.83%+3
  • Fixed APR: 4.83%+3
  • Variable APR: 3.99%+3
  • Min. credit score: 680
  • Loan amount: $10,000 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Forbearance
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: 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 school
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: No
  • Loan servicer: Mohela
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $250,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: $250,000
  • Offers 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.
6.61%+4 5.61%+4
  • Fixed APR: 5.61%+4
  • Variable APR: 6.61%+4
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance
  • Fees: Late fee, returned payment fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: Yes
  • Max undergraduate loan balance: $250,000
  • Max graduate loan balance: $250,000
  • Offers 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.
4.54%+ 4.49%+
  • Fixed APR: 4.49%+
  • Variable APR: 4.54%+
  • Min. credit score: 700
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $300,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 15
  • Max. undergraduate Loan Balance: $125,000
  • Time to Fund: 10 to 30 days
  • Repayment options: Immediate repayment, forbearance
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have already graduated with at least an associate degree from an eligible institution
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 12 months
  • Loan servicer: LendKey Technologies Inc.
  • Max. graduate Loan Balance: $175,000
  • Credible Review: LendKey Student Loans review
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: No


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.
N/A 5.1%+
  • Fixed APR: 5.1%+
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $10,000 up to the total amount
  • Loan terms (years): 7, 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Military deferment, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loans
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: No
  • Loan servicer: AES
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: No maximum
  • Max. Gradaute Loan Balance: No maximum
  • Offers 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.
N/A 5.49%+
  • Fixed APR: 5.49%+
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $7,500 to $300,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 8, 12, 15
  • Repayment options: Does not disclose
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen and have and at least $7,500 in student loans
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 12 months
  • Loan servicer: PenFed
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $300,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: $300,000
  • Offers 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.
N/A 5.29%+
  • Fixed APR: 5.29%+
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 680
  • Loan amount: $7,500 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states; must also have at least $7,500 in student loans and a minimum income of $40,000
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Does not disclose
  • Cosigner release: No
  • Loan servicer: Rhode Island Student Loan Authority
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $150,000 - $249,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: $200,000 - $249,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: Yes
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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | 1Citizens Disclosures | 2College Ave Disclosures | 5EDvestinU Disclosures | 3 ELFI Disclosures | 4INvestEd Disclosures | 7ISL Education Lending Disclosures

Check Out: When to Refinance Student Loans

About the author
Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco has been a personal finance writer for over seven years and is a contributor to Credible. She has contributed content to more than a dozen financial brands, including LendingTree, Credit Karma, Fundera, Chime, MagnifyMoney, Student Loan Hero, ValuePenguin, SoFi, and Northwestern Mutual.

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