How to Pay Off $200,000 of Student Loans

By Mentor Staff | Edited By Mentor Staff

Updated On August 29, 2022

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If you have $200,000 of student loans, you might be unsure how to pay off your student loan debt. According to the latest student loan debt statistics, there are nearly one million student loan borrowers who owe at least $200,000 in student loan debt. If you want to know how to pay off $200,000 of student loans, the good news is that there are several ways to pay off student loans and get out of debt.

Top Picks For Student Loan Refinancing

October 2022

Variable APR ?APR, or Annual Percentage Rate, is the price you pay to borrow money. Variable APR means that your interest rate can fluctuate over time, which can increase or decrease your monthly student loan payment. Typically, a variable-rate loan has a lower introductory rate than a fixed-loan rate loan. Variable APR includes a 0.25% discount when you enroll in autopay.
Fixed APR ?APR, or Annual Percentage Rate, is the price you pay to borrow money. Fixed APR means that your interest rate will always stay the same. Even if interest rates change, your interest rate or monthly payment will not. Fixed APR includes a 0.25% discount when you enroll in autopay.
APR
3.40% - 8.40%
3.99% - 8.24%
3.40% - 8.40%

View Details

on SoFi's website

Overview

Variable APR:
3.40% - 8.40%
Fixed APR:
3.99% - 8.24%
Minimum Credit Score:
650
Minimum Income:
None
Fees:
None
Minimum Loan Amount:
$5,000 ($10,000 in CA)

Details

Eligible Loans:
Private & Federal
Eligible Degrees:
Undergraduate & Graduate
Loan Terms:
5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:
All states
Hardship Deferment:
Yes
Co-signer Option:
Yes
2.49% - 7.99%
3.74% - 8.49%
2.49% - 8.49%

View Details

on Earnest's website

Overview

Variable APR:
2.49% - 7.99%
Fixed APR:
3.74% - 8.49%
Minimum Credit Score:
650
Minimum Income:
None
Fees:
None
Minimum Loan Amount:
$5,000

Details

Eligible Loans:
Private & Federal
Eligible Degrees:
Undergraduate & Graduate
Loan Terms:
5-20 years
Borrower Residency:
All States except NV
Hardship Deferment:
Yes
Co-signer Option:
No
2.49% - 7.99%
3.74% - 8.49%
2.49% - 8.49%

View Details

on NaviRefi's website

Overview

Variable APR:
2.49% - 7.99%
Fixed APR:
3.74% - 8.49%
Minimum Credit Score:
650
Minimum Income:
None
Fees:
None
Minimum Loan Amount:
$5,001 ($10,001 in CA)

Details

Eligible Loans:
Private & Federal
Eligible Degrees:
Undergraduate & Graduate
Loan Terms:
5-20 years
Borrower Residency:
All States except NV
Hardship Deferment:
Yes
Co-signer Option:
No
2.48% - 7.24%
4.29% - 7.29%
2.48% - 7.29%

View Details

on ELFI's website

Overview

Variable APR:
2.48% - 7.24%
Fixed APR:
4.29% - 7.29%
Minimum Credit Score:
680
Minimum Income:
$35,000
Fees:
None
Minimum Loan Amount:
$10,000

Details

Eligible Loans:
Private & Federal
Eligible Degrees:
Undergraduate & Graduate
Loan Terms:
5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:
All States
Hardship Deferment:
Yes
Co-signer Option:
Yes
2.49% - 11.72%
2.59% - 8.74%
2.49% - 11.72%

View Details

on Splash's website

Overview

Variable APR:
2.49% - 11.72%
Fixed APR:
2.59% - 8.74%
Minimum Credit Score:
640
Minimum Income:
None
Fees:
None
Minimum Loan Amount:
$5,000

Details

Eligible Loans:
Private & Federal
Eligible Degrees:
Undergraduate & Graduate
Loan Terms:
5 – 25 years
Borrower Residency:
All states
Hardship Deferment:
Varies
Co-signer Option:
No
3.84% - 10.07%
4.49% - 10.11%
3.84% - 10.11%

View Details

on Citizens' website

Overview

Variable APR:
3.84% - 10.07%
Fixed APR:
4.49% - 10.11%
Minimum Credit Score:
Not disclosed
Minimum Income:
$24,000
Fees:
No prepayment or origination fees
Minimum Loan Amount:
$10,000

Details

Eligible Loans:
Private & Federal
Eligible Degrees:
Undergraduate & Graduate
Loan Terms:
5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:
All states
Hardship Deferment:
Yes
Co-signer Option:
Yes
2.50% - 6.30%
3.99% - 6.40%
2.50% - 6.40%

View Details

on Laurel Road's website

Overview

Variable APR:
2.50% - 6.30%
Fixed APR:
3.99% - 6.40%
Minimum Credit Score:
660
Minimum Income:
None
Fees:
None
Minimum Loan Amount:
$5,000

Details

Eligible Loans:
Private & Federal
Eligible Degrees:
Undergraduate & Graduate
Loan Terms:
5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:
All States
Hardship Deferment:
Yes
Co-signer Option:
Yes
4.13% - 7.39%
2.99% - 9.93%
2.99% - 9.93%

View Details

on LendKey's website

Overview

Variable APR:
4.13% - 7.39%
Fixed APR:
2.99% - 9.93%
Minimum Credit Score:
680
Minimum Income:
$24,000
Fees:
None
Minimum Loan Amount:
$5,000

Details

Eligible Loans:
Private & Federal
Eligible Degrees:
Undergraduate & Graduate
Loan Terms:
5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:
All states, except ME, ND, NV, RI, WV
Hardship Deferment:
Yes
Co-signer Option:
Yes
-
3.94% - 9.08%
3.94% - 9.08%

View Details

on ISL's website

Overview

Variable APR:
-
Fixed APR:
3.94% - 9.08%
Minimum Credit Score:
670
Minimum Income:
None
Fees:
None
Minimum Loan Amount:
$5,000 ($10,000 in CA)

Details

Eligible Loans:
Private & Federal
Eligible Degrees:
Undergraduate & Graduate
Loan Terms:
5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:
All states, except OR and ME
Hardship Deferment:
Yes
Co-signer Option:
Yes

Here’s how to pay off $200,000 of student loans:

  1. Refinance student loans
  2. Get a qualified cosigner
  3. Sign up for an income-driven repayment plan
  4. Apply for student loan forgiveness
  5. Use the avalanche method
  6. Use the snowball method

Refinance student loans

To pay off $200,000 of student loans, you can refinance your student loans to get a lower interest rate and save money.

When you refinance your student loans, you combine your current student loans into a new student loan with a lower interest rate, lower student loan payment or both. Student loan refinancing can help you save up to thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars, in interest over the life of your student loan.

Student loan refinancing is best for student loan borrowers with a high interest rate on their student loan debt, a high monthly student loan payment, and good to excellent credit. If you have good to excellent credit, you could qualify for a lower interest rate. You can refinance federal student loans, private student loans or both.

When you refinance student loans, you can choose a fixed interest rate or variable interest rate. You can also choose a student loan repayment term from five to 20 years. A shorter student loan term means you will have a higher monthly student loan payment, but you can save money and pay off your student loans faster. In contrast, a longer student loan repayment means lower student loan payments, but you will pay more money in total interest.

Compare the latest rates for student loan refinancing. Make sure to find the right lender and best interest rates for your specific situation. You can apply to multiple lenders to find the best student loan refinancing rates for you.

This student loan refinancing calculator shows you how much you can save when you refinance student loans.

For example, let’s assume that you have $200,000 of student loans at an 8% interest rate and a 10-year repayment term. Let’s assume you refinance student loans at a 3% interest rate and a 10-year repayment term. You would save $495 each month and $59,440 overall.

Here are helpful resources for student loan refinancing:

Get a qualified cosigner

Getting a qualified cosigner to help refinance student loans is a smart way how to pay off $200,000 of student loans. If you want to pay off $200,000 of student loans, but have bad credit or average credit, a qualified cosigner such as a parent or spouse could help you get approved for student loan refinancing and get a lower interest rate.

Read: Top 30 questions about student loan refinancing.

Who is the best cosigner? Choose a cosigner with good income and excellent credit. Lenders want to lend to student loan borrowers who are currently employed with steady income and credit. Your cosigner will assume equal financial responsibility for your student loans, so make sure they are comfortable doing so. Several lenders offer a cosigner release option, which allows your cosigner to be released from financial responsibility for your student loans after you make a minimum number of monthly student loan payments.

Explore the latest rates for student loan refinancing.

Read about the top lenders to refinance student loans.

Learn the difference between student loan refinancing and student loan consolidation.

Sign up an income-driven repayment plan

If you need to pay off $200,000 of student loans, you can sign up for an income-driven repayment plan. An income-driven repayment plan is available for federal student loans only and bases your student loan payments on your income and family size. Under an income-driven repayment, you can pay 10% to 20% of your monthly discretionary income toward your federal student loans.

There are four income-driven repayment plans:

You can also get student loan forgiveness through an income-driven repayment plan:

  • Undergraduate student loans: 20 years of monthly student loan payments
  • Graduate student loans: 25 years of monthly student loan payments

Apply for student loan forgiveness

If you want to know how to pay off $200,000 of student loans, you can apply for student loan forgiveness.

(Here’s how to get student loan forgiveness and cancel student loan debt).

There are different programs available to get student loan forgiveness. Most student loan forgiveness applies only to federal student loans and is made available through the federal government. Two popular programs for student loan forgiveness are the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and Teacher Loan Forgiveness.

(Learn more in our student loan forgiveness guide).

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

  • The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is available to federal student loan borrowers who work full-time (at least 30 hours a week) for a public service or non-profit employer and make 120 monthly student loan payments.
  • Student loan borrowers must make at least a majority of their federal student loan payments while enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan such as IBR, PAYE, REPAYE or ICR.

This public service loan forgiveness calculator shows you your monthly student loan payment and how much student loan forgiveness you can get when you enroll in public service loan forgiveness.

Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness

  • The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program grants up to $17,500 of federal student loan forgiveness.
  • To qualify, you must be employed full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years at an elementary school, secondary school or educational service agency that serves low-income students.

Use the avalanche method

To pay off $200,000 of student loans, another option is to pay off student loans with the highest interest rate first. This is called the avalanche method.

Here’s how the avalanche method works:

  1. Pay the minimum payment on your student loans every month.
  2. Identify your student loan with the highest interest rate.
  3. Pay off the student loan with the highest interest rate.
  4. Then, pay the student loan with the next highest interest rate.
  5. Repeat this process until you have paid off all your student loans.

This student loan payoff calculator shows you how much money you can save when you pay off your student loans faster.

Let’s assume that you have $200,000 of student loans and an 8% interest rate. Let’s also assume that your monthly student loan payment is $2,427. If you pay an extra $300 per month (for a total of $2,727 per month), you could pay off your student loans 1.5 years earlier and save $15,672.

The avalanche method is smart to pay off $200,000 of student loans because it helps you pay off your most expensive student loans first.

Use the snowball method

To pay off $200,000 of student loans, you could pay off your lowest balance student loan first. This is called the snowball method. Here’s how it works.

  1. Pay your minimum monthly student loan payment.
  2. Pay off your lowest balance student loan.
  3. Repeat each month until you have paid off your lowest balance student loan
  4. Start paying off your student loan with the next lowest balance.
  5. Repeat this process until you pay off your student loans.

The snowball method focuses on the student loan balance, regardless of interest rate. In comparison, the avalanche method focuses on the interest rates, regardless of interest rate. The snowball method is effective to pay off $200,000 of student loans because it helps you build small psychological wins each time you pay off student loans.

Learn more:

Compare the latest rates for student loan refinancing

Compare the latest rates for law school student loan refinancing

Compare the latest rates for medical professional student loan refinancing

Compare the latest rates for medical resident student loan refinancing

Compare the latest rates for pharmacy school student loan refinancing

Compare the latest rates for MBA student loan refinancing

Compare the latest rates for nursing school student loan refinancing

Compare the latest rates for Parent PLUS Loan refinancing

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