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Buried under $100k in student loans upon graduation, many recent college graduates get their first real taste of being in debt. And after the typical six month grace period, it’s time to start tackling it.

Student loans are a major struggle. We get it. But don’t worry, we’ve already helped thousands of borrowers and we’re here to help you, too.

Here’s how to pay off 100k in student loans:

  1. Refinance your student loans
  2. Add a creditworthy cosigner
  3. Pay off the loan with the highest interest rate first
  4. See if you’re eligible for an income-driven repayment plan
  5. Consider student loan forgiveness

1. Refinance your student loans

Student loan refinancing is a great method for saving money on your student loans. If you have $100,000 in student loans — or more — you probably have a mix of federal loans and private loans.

When refinancing your student loans you can combine multiple federal student loans and private student loans into one affordable, single payment. Your new student loan will most likely also have a lower interest rate which will save you money over the life of your loan.

You can request rates from all of the student loan refinancing companies below with Credible in just two minutes — and it’s completely free.

LenderRates from (APR)Loan maximumCheck rates from multiple lenders in 2 min
advantage education loan consolidationFixed: 4.54%+
Variable: N/A
Up to $500,000Get Rates
Advantage review
brazos student loan refinancingFixed: 3.10%+
Variable: 2.00%+
Up to $250,000Get Rates
Brazos review
citizens bank student loansFixed: 3.45%+¹
Variable: 2.15%+¹
Up to $350,000 (depending on degree type)Get Rates
Citizens Bank review
college ave student loansFixed: 3.54%+2
Variable: 2.49%+2
Up to $300,000 (depending on degree type)Get Rates
College Ave review
edvestinu student loan consolidationFixed: 4.93%+
Variable:4.66%+
Up to $200,000Get Rates
EdvestinU review
elfi student loansFixed: 3.14%+3
Variable: 2.39%+3
No maximumGet Rates
ELFI review
mefa refinancingFixed: 3.60%+
Variable: 3.33%+
No maximumGet Rates
MEFA review
penfed purefy student loan consolidationFixed: 3.48%+
Variable: 2.42%+
Up to $300,000Get Rates
Penfed review
rhode island student loan authority refinancingFixed: 3.49%+
Variable: N/A
Up to $250,000 (depending on degree type)Get Rates
RISLA review
sofi refinancingFixed: 3.46%+4
Variable: 1.81%+4
Up to the full balance of qualified education loans you’re paying backGet Rates
SoFi review
Ready to see how much you can save?

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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | 1Citizens Bank Disclosures | 2College Ave Disclosures | 3 ELFI Disclosures | 4SoFi Disclosures


Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of November 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.80%. Variable interest rates range from 2.09%-8.79% (2.09%-8.79% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower's loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 3.39%-8.99% (3.39%-8.99% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.

2. Add a creditworthy cosigner

The more you demonstrate to lenders that you’re not a risky borrower, the more comfortable they will feel about lending to you. Sometimes adding a cosigner can lower your interest rate if you choose to refinance your student loans.

A cosigner doesn’t need to be a parent or relative either. To benefit your financial situation, a cosigner just needs to be creditworthy.

Want to know what your rates will look like with or without a cosigner? Credible makes it easy to add a cosigner and compare multiple loan terms and interest rates.

See My Rates Now

3. Pay off the loan with the highest interest rate first

You’ll save the most money in interest over the life of your loans if you focus on paying the loan with the highest interest rate first. You should continue to make minimum payments on all your loans, but make bigger payments toward the highest interest loan.

Then, when that loan is paid off, you can put that money toward the next highest interest rate loan — and so on until all your loans are paid off.

4. See if you’re eligible for an income-driven repayment plan

Income-driven repayment plans are another option that many federal borrowers can take advantage of. In general, IDR plans can be a good choice if you’re struggling to make your student loan payments.

There are four different types of IDR:

  • Income-Based Repayment (IBR)
  • Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
  • Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)
  • Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)

Find Out: Which Income-Driven Repayment Plan Is Right for You

5. Consider student loan forgiveness

If you work full-time for the government or in any public service job, you might qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). This means that you only have to make payments for 10 years, or 120 qualifying loan payments, after which the remaining loan balance is forgiven. Only federal direct loans are eligible for PSLF; Perkins Loans and Federal Family Education Loans are not eligible.

Monthly payments on $100,000+ student loan debt

With $100,000 or more in student loan debt, your minimum monthly payment under the standard 10-year repayment plan can be quite daunting. Assuming a 7% interest rate, you’re looking at payments of over $1,000 per month.

Loan BalanceMonthly PaymentTotal Repaid
$100,000$1,161$139,330
$200,000$2,322$278,660
$300,000$3,483$417,990
$400,000$4,644$557,320
Monthly payments based off the assumption that the loans have a fixed interest rate of 7% and that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

There are many ways to make your monthly payments more affordable. Above all, what matters most is that you make your student loan payments on time. We hope these tips will aid you in doing so and help repay your student debt faster — and become debt free.

Find out if refinancing is right for you

  • Compare actual rates, not ballpark estimates – Unlock rates from multiple lenders with no impact on your credit score
  • Won’t impact credit score – Checking rates on Credible takes about 2 minutes and won’t impact your credit score
  • Data privacy – We don’t sell your information, so you won’t get calls or emails from multiple lenders

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About the author
Jamie Young
Jamie Young

Jamie Young is a Credible authority on personal finance. Her work has been featured by Time, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Forbes, CBS News, and more.

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