How to Pay Private Student Loans

By Mentor Staff | Edited By Mentor Staff

Updated On September 14, 2022

Editorial Note: This content is based solely on the author's opinions and is not provided, approved, endorsed or reviewed by any financial institution or partner.

How do we make money? The products featured on this website are from our partners who compensate us. This may impact which companies we review, the products we evaluate, and where and how a product appears on a page. We receive compensation from a partner when you apply for and receive a product through Mentor. This helps us to support our website, offer free content, tools and calculators, and continue to be one of the leading sources on personal finance.

If you want to know how to pay private student loans, the good news is that you have several options for private student loan repayment.

Top Picks For Student Loan Refinancing

December 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
4.49% - 8.99%
4.49% - 8.99%
4.49% - 8.99%

View Details

on SoFi's website

Overview

Variable APR:
4.49% - 8.99%
Fixed APR:
4.49% - 8.99%
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
3.99% - 8.29%
4.39% - 8.99%
3.99% - 8.99%

View Details

on Earnest's website

Overview

Variable APR:
3.99% - 8.29%
Fixed APR:
4.39% - 8.99%
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
3.99% - 8.29%
4.39% - 8.99%
3.99% - 8.99%

View Details

on NaviRefi's website

Overview

Variable APR:
3.99% - 8.29%
Fixed APR:
4.39% - 8.99%
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
3.53% - 7.24%
4.48% - 7.29%
3.53% - 7.29%

View Details

on ELFI's website

Overview

Variable APR:
3.53% - 7.24%
Fixed APR:
4.48% - 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
2.50% - 8.65%
3.99% - 8.49%
2.50% - 8.65%

View Details

on Splash's website

Overview

Variable APR:
2.50% - 8.65%
Fixed APR:
3.99% - 8.49%
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
5.09% - 11.67%
5.39% - 11.87%
5.09% - 11.87%

View Details

on Citizens' website

Overview

Variable APR:
5.09% - 11.67%
Fixed APR:
5.39% - 11.87%
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% - 6.80%
4.49% - 6.90%
2.50% - 6.90%

View Details

on Laurel Road's website

Overview

Variable APR:
2.50% - 6.80%
Fixed APR:
4.49% - 6.90%
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
3.27% - 6.87%
3.99% - 10.68%
3.27% - 10.68%

View Details

on LendKey's website

Overview

Variable APR:
3.27% - 6.87%
Fixed APR:
3.99% - 10.68%
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 private student loans:

  1. Refinance student loans
  2. Make extra student loan payments
  3. Enroll in autopay
  4. Make a lump-sum student loan payment
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

Refinance student loans

If you want to know how to pay private student loans, student loan refinancing is a popular strategy. When you refinance student loans, you can get a lower interest rate, lower student loan payment or both. Therefore, refinancing student loans helps you save money and pay off student loans faster.

Who should refinance student loans? Student loan refinance is best for student loan borrowers who have:

  • a high interest rate;
  • large student loan payment; and
  • excellent credit

Student loan refinance allows you to choose either a variable interest rate or fixed interest rate. You also have the option to choose a student loan repayment term between 5 and 20 years.

Check the latest rates for student loan refinancing.

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 $100,000 of private student loans at 7.5% 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 $221 each month and $26,569 overall.

Learn more about how to refinance student loans:

View: the top lenders to refinance student loans.

Compare: the latest rates for student loan refinancing.

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

Make extra student loan payments

Another way how to pay private student loans is to make extra student loan payments. Each month, make sure to pay your minimum monthly payment. To pay off private student loans faster, you can make extra student loan payments.

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

For example, let’s assume that you have $200,000 of student loans with an 8% interest rate and $2.427 monthly student loan payment. If you pay an extra $500 per month (for a total of $2,927 per month), you could pay off your student loans 2.33 years earlier and save $23,360.

If you make extra student loan payments, make sure to inform your student loan servicer in writing. Your student loan servicer should apply your extra student loan payment toward reducing your principal student loan balance.

(How to pay federal student loans).

Enroll in autopay

You can pay private student loans by enrolling in autopay. Autopay, or automatic payments, is the process of connecting your student loan accounts to your bank account. Each month, your student loan company will automatically deduct your monthly student loan payment directly from your bank account. With autopay, you won’t have to worry about missing a student loan payment or making a late student loan payment.

The advantage of enrolling in autopay is that you can lower your interest rate by 0.25%. For example, let’s assume your student loan interest rate is 5%. With autopay, your student loan interest will become 4.75%.

Make a lump-sum student loan payment

To pay private student loans, you can make a lump-sum student loan payment.

Each month, you should always make the minimum student loan payment. In addition, you can also make a lump-sum student loan payment to save student loan interest.

This lump sum extra payment calculator shows you how much money and time you can save when you make a lump sum payment or extra payment toward your student loans.

For example, let’s assume you have $70,000 of student loans, an 8% interest rate and $849 monthly student loan payment. Now, let’s assume you make a one-time, lump-sum student loan payment of $5,000.

If you make a one-time, extra payment of $5,000, you will save $4,830 on your student loans. Plus, you will pay off your student loans 12 months earlier.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to pay private student loans?

The amount of time it takes to pay private student loans depends on your strategy for student loan repayment.

For example:

  • Standard Repayment Plan: 10 years
  • Student Loan Refinancing: 5 to 20 years
  • Extra Student Loan Payment: varies
  • Lump-Sum Student Loan Payment: varies

A shorter student loan repayment term such as 5 years will result in a higher monthly payment, but you will save more money in interest. A longer student loan repayment term such as 20 years will result in a lower student loan payment, but it will cost more interest over time.

What’s the fastest way to pay student loans?

The fastest way to pay student loans includes student loan refinancing, enrolling in autopay, making an extra student loan payment, and making a one-time, lump-sum student loan payment.

Are private student loans forgiven after 20 years?

Unlike federal student loans, private student loans aren’t forgiven after 20 years.

Why? Private student loans generally don’t have student loan forgiveness or income-driven repayment plans. That said, your private student loan lender or student loan servicer may offer forbearance, deferment or other options for student loan repayment.

How to pay private student loans

Compare the latest rates for student loan refinancing so you can pay private student loans:

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

Let's mentor your money

Get the latest personal finance advice delivered directly to your inbox.