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When you’re in school, it’s easy to rack up student loan debt without realizing how bad the situation really is. The number of borrowers who have six-figures worth of student loan debt — far more than the average student loan debt — is on the rise. About 700,000 borrowers owe $200,000 or more.

Paying off such a large balance can be difficult, but it is possible. Here’s how to pay off $200,000 in student loans.

Monthly payments on $200,000+ student loan debt

If you have $200,000 or more in student loan debt, your minimum monthly payment under a standard 10-year repayment plan is quite large. Assuming a 7% interest rate, you’re looking at payments well over $2,000 per month.

Loan BalanceMonthly PaymentTotal Repaid
$200,000$2,322$278,660
$300,000$3,483$417,990
$400,000$4,644$557,320
$500,000$5,805$696,650
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.

How to pay off $200,000 in student loans

If you’re facing $200,000 in student loans, there are many different ways to tackle your debt.

  1. Refinance your loans
  2. Pursue loan forgiveness
  3. Sign-up for an income-driven repayment plan
  4. Ask your employer for help
  5. Apply for repayment assistance

1. Refinance your loans

If you have high-interest student loans, going through the student loan refinance process makes a lot of sense. When you refinance, you work with a private lender to take out a new loan for the amount of your old ones, paying those off and getting a new loan with a new interest rate. The new loan typically has different terms, including interest rate and length of repayment. You can refinance medical school loans, refinance law school loans, and more.

If you have good credit, you could qualify for a loan with a lower interest rate, helping you save money over the length of your loan. Or you can extend your repayment term to get a lower monthly payment that you can afford. Just keep in mind, a longer term typically means you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan.

Not all student loan refinancing companies will allow you to refinance $200,000 or more of student loans, but there are a few that do. Here are some student loan refinance companies that can refinance your six-figure debt.

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: 3.90%+
Variable: 3.00%+
Up to $250,000Get Rates
Brazos review
citizens bank student loansFixed: 3.45%+¹
Variable: 2.25%+¹
Up to $350,000 (depending on degree type)Get Rates
Citizens Bank review
college ave student loansFixed: 3.54%+2
Variable: 2.62%+2
Up to $300,000 (depending on degree type)Get Rates
College Ave review
edvestinu student loan consolidationFixed: 4.93%+
Variable:4.90%+
Up to $200,000Get Rates
EdvestinU review
elfi student loansFixed: 3.29%+3
Variable: 2.39%+3
No maximumGet Rates
ELFI review
mefa refinancingFixed: 3.60%+
Variable: 3.58%+
No maximumGet Rates
MEFA review
penfed purefy student loan consolidationFixed: 3.48%+
Variable: 2.67%+
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: 2.05%+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?

Get Rates

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 October 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.05%. Variable interest rates range from 2.25%-9.24% (2.25%-9.24% 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 3.45%-9.62% (3.45%-9.62% 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.

Check Out: The Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

2. Pursue loan forgiveness

If you have federal student loans and work for a non-profit organization or a government agency, you may be able to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

Under this program, you get loan forgiveness if you work for 10 years at a qualifying organization and make 120 monthly payments. The remaining balance is discharged tax-free, so the savings can be significant.

3. Sign up for an income-driven repayment plan

If you can’t afford your current monthly payments and you have federal student loans, consider signing up for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Under an IDR plan, your loan servicer extends your repayment term to 20 to 25 years and sets your monthly payment at a percentage of your discretionary income. Some borrowers even qualify for $0 payments.

There are four IDR plans available:

  • Income-based repayment
  • Income-contingent repayment
  • Pay As You Earn
  • Revised Pay As You Earn

After 20 to 25 years of making payments, your remaining balance is forgiven. The discharged amount is taxable as income, but this approach can still give you substantial relief.

Learn More: Your Ultimate Guide to Income-Driven Repayment Plans

4. Ask your employer for help

Employers are increasingly aware of how student loans can affect their employees’ well-being and productivity. To attract and retain top talent, more and more employers are offering student loan repayment help that works much like employer 401(k) contributions.

In most programs, an employer will match your payments — up to an annual maximum — for as long as you are an employee. It can be a great way to accelerate your debt repayment. Ask your human resources department if your company currently offers student loan payment benefits. If not, ask them to consider adding it to the company compensation package.

5. Apply for repayment assistance

Lawyers, doctors, veterinarians, and dentists tend to be the professions with the highest amounts of student loan debt. Luckily, working in these fields could qualify you for student loan repayment assistance.

Many states offer programs where they’ll pay off some or all of your student loans. In return, you must make a service commitment to work in a specific region for a few years. For example, physicians and dentists in Pennsylvania can get up to $100,000 in student loan repayment assistance if they work full-time for at least two years in a high-need area.

To find out if your state offers similar programs, check out your state department of education website.

Managing your student loans

Having six-figures of student loan debt can be a serious burden. But by learning how to pay off $200,000 in student loans, you can come up with a strategy to repay your loans and save money.

Find out if refinancing is right for you

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About the author
Kat Tretina
Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is an authority on student loans and a contributor to Credible. Her work has appeared in publications like the Huffington Post, Money Magazine, MarketWatch, Business Insider, and more.

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