Lower Your Student Loan Payment Today — Compare Offers from Top-Rated Lenders in 2 Minutes
2021 NerdWallet Best-Of Awards Winner


10 Strategies to Pay Off Student Loans Fast

Kat Tretina
pay off student loans fast
pay off student loans fast

Student loan debt can be a crushing burden. Worrying about keeping up with your payments can cause you to put off your other goals. In fact, a study from Saving for College found that student loan debt causes people to delay getting married, having children, or even buying a home.

Paying off your debt as soon as possible can help you achieve financial freedom. However, paying off your loans early takes commitment. If you’re willing to do the work, here are 10 ways you can pay off student loans ahead of schedule.

1. Refinance your student loans

If you have high-interest student loan debt, student loan refinancing can help you accelerate your repayment. With refinancing, you work with a private lender to take out a loan for the amount of your current debt. The new loan has different repayment terms and a new interest rate, allowing you to save money.

For example, let’s say you had $40,000 in student loans at 8% interest and a 10-year repayment plan. Over the course of your repayment, you’d pay a total of $58,237.

But if you refinanced your loans and qualified for a 10-year loan at just 5% interest, you’d pay a total of $50,911. Taking just a few minutes to submit a student loan refinancing application would help you save over $7,300.

If you decide that refinancing is right for you, make sure you compare offers from multiple lenders to get the best rates. Purefy’s rate comparison tool allows you to review offers from several different lenders at once so you can make an informed decision.

The 4 Best Companies to Refinance Student Loans

Our Top-Rated Picks for 2022 Offer Low Rates and No Fees


No Maximum Loan Amount

Fixed Rate

4.48% – 7.29% APR 4

Variable Rate

2.99% – 7.24% APR 4

98% of surveyed customers would recommend SoFi to a friend

Fixed Rate

3.99% – 8.24% APR 3

Variable Rate

2.49% – 8.24% APR 3


Precision Pricing — Pick Your Monthly Payment

Fixed Rate

3.99% – 8.99% APR 2

Variable Rate

3.24% – 7.99% APR 2

Loans Available in All States but Maine and Oregon

Fixed Rate

3.94% – 8.48% APR 5

Variable Rate

Not Offered

2. Launch a side hustle

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, there may not be any more corners to cut. Instead, focus on increasing your income by taking on a part-time job or launching a side hustle, like delivering groceries with Shipt or Instacart, driving passengers with Uber or Lyft, or walking dogs with Wag!. Even if you only make an extra $100 a month, that additional money can make a big difference.

For example, let’s say you had $30,000 in student loans at 6.8% interest. On a 10-year repayment term, your minimum payment would be $345. But if you picked up a side hustle and were able to put $100 worth of earnings toward your loans each month — making your payment $445 per month — you’d pay off your loans nearly three years ahead of schedule. Even better, you’d save over $3,500 in interest charges.

3. Follow the debt avalanche method

The best way to pay off your loans and save money is to follow the debt avalanche method. With this approach, you list all of your student loans and order them by interest rate. You continue making the minimum payments on all of the loans, but you put any extra money you have toward the loan with the highest interest rate first.

Once you pay off the loan with the highest rate, you take that payment you were making and apply it to the loan with the next highest rate. This strategy helps you save the most money on your debt.

4. Put your tax refund toward your student loans

Your tax refund can be a major windfall for you. According to the IRS, the average tax refund was $2,729 in 2019. If you put that money toward your loans, you could reduce your repayment term and save money.

For example, pretend you have $35,000 in student loans at 6% interest and a 10-year repayment term. If you used your $2,729 tax refund to make a one-time payment on your loans, you’d pay off your loans 13 months ahead of schedule. And, you’d save over $2,000 in interest charges.

5. Sign up for automatic payments

Signing up for automatic payments is a smart idea. It lessens your risk of missing a payment, and many lenders offer a 0.25% interest rate deduction as an incentive. That interest rate reduction may not sound that impressive, but over time, it can help you save hundreds of dollars.

See How Much You Can Save

Student Loan Payoff Calculator

View Details


Check how long it will take you to pay off your student loans. Quickly see the effects of lower rates, extra payments, and different terms on your repayment plan.

Enter Your Loan Information

Loan Balance
Your remaining student loan debt to be repaid.
Interest Rate
The amount that the lender charges in interest, expressed as a percentage.


Current Monthly Payment
The total amount of your monthly student loan bill.
Add Multiple Loans
Extra Monthly Prepayment
This is the extra amount you would like to put toward your loan every month in addition to your regular monthly payment.

Add Multiple Loans

Insert additional loan


Current Payment w/ extra payment Difference
Term 10 years
Payoff Date
Total Interest $16,560

Want to lower your rate to help pay off student loans faster? Check your rate at our top-rated lenders in 2 minutes, with no impact on credit.

6. Ask your employer for help

More and more companies are recognizing that student loans can be a significant source of stress on employees, reducing their job satisfaction and productivity. As a result, some companies are offering student loan repayment benefits to their employees. Employers will actually offer employees a monthly contribution toward student loans.

Talk to your company’s human resources department to see if student loan repayment benefits are available.

7. See if you qualify for repayment assistance

If you’re a teacher, healthcare professional, or lawyer, you may qualify for student loan repayment assistance from your state. Many states will pay off some or all of your student loans if you agree to serve in a high-need area for a set service commitment.

For example, primary care physicians in Iowa can qualify for up to $40,000 in student loan repayment assistance per year if they agree to work for at least five years in an eligible service commitment area.

To find out if you’re eligible for similar programs, visit your state department of education website.

8. Pay more than the minimum

If you only make the minimum payment on your student loans, it will generally take you at least 10 years to repay your debt. To cut down on your repayment term and to save money, try to pay more than the minimum each month.

Even if you can afford to only put an extra $20 per month toward your debt, the savings can be dramatic.

Let’s say you had $40,000 in student loans at 6% interest. On a 10-year repayment plan, your monthly payment would be $444. If you paid an extra $20 each month toward your loans — making your payment $464 — you’d pay off your loans six months early. And, you’d save over $800 in interest charges.

9. Get a roommate

Your rent or mortgage payment is likely your biggest expense, eating up a significant portion of your income. In fact, the average rental costs $1,465 per month, according to Rent Cafe. With so much of your paycheck going toward keeping a roof over your head, there’s probably not much left over for your student loans.

You can cut your housing costs in half by getting a roommate and using the money you saved to make extra payments toward your student loans. While sharing your living space may not be ideal, making sacrifices for a few years can help save thousands of dollars over time.

10. Take advantage of the student loan interest tax deduction

If you’ve been making payments toward your student loans that cover both principal and interest, you may qualify for the student loan interest tax deduction. You can deduct up to $2,500 of interest you pay on your loans throughout the year.

The tax deduction reduces your tax bill. Depending on your tax bracket, it could help you put up to $550 back in your bank account. Use that money to make extra payments on your loans, and you’ll save even more.

Managing your student loans

Your student loan debt can be a major problem in your life. However, by focusing on repayment strategies, you can pay off your student loans fast so you can pursue your other goals in life. Also, if your debt is somewhere between $100K and $200K, we recommend reading our article on how to pay off $100K+ in student loans.

You Might Also Like
purefy recommends

Student Loan Refinancing

Refinancing from 2.99% APR

Check your rate in 2 minutes

with no impact on your credit score.

ELFI Rate Disclosure

4 ELFI Rate Disclosure:

Education Loan Finance is a nationwide student loan debt consolidation and refinance program offered by Tennessee based SouthEast Bank. ELFI is designed to assist borrowers through consolidating and refinancing loans into one single loan that effectively lowers your cost of education debt and/or makes repayment very simple. Subject to credit approval. See Terms & Conditions. Interest rates current as of 11-21-2022. The interest rate and monthly payment for a variable rate loan may increase after closing, but will never exceed 9.95% APR. Interest rates may be different from the rates shown above and will be based on the term of your loan, your financial history, and other factors, including your cosigner’s (if any) financial history. For example, a 10-year loan with a fixed rate of 6% would have 120 payments of $11.00 per $1,000 borrowed. Rates are subject to change.

SoFi Rate Disclosure

3 SoFi Rate Disclosure:

Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 2.24% APR to 7.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.

Earnest Rate Disclosure

2 Earnest Rate Disclosure:

Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 4.24% APR to 9.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 3.49% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account.

ISL Rate Disclosure

5 Iowa Student Loan Rate Disclosure:

Fixed Rate Loan Terms: 5 years/60 monthly payments, 7 years/84 monthly payments, 10 years/120 monthly payments, 15 years/180 monthly payments, or 20 years/240 monthly payments. Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. This rate is expressed as an APR. Fixed APRs range from 3.94% to 8.48% APR [low to high range with 0.25% auto-debit rate reduction]. Rates are subject to change without notice. Fixed rates will not change during the term. Since there are no fees associated with this loan offer, the APR is the same percentage as the actual interest rate of the loan including a 0.25% auto-debit rate reduction. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. All estimates are based on information provided by you and are for informational purposes only, accuracy is not guaranteed and may not reflect actual rates or savings and do not constitute an offer of credit. Your actual rate, payment and savings may be different based on credit history, actual interest rate, loan amount, and term, including your cosigner [if applicable]. If applying with a cosigner, we use the higher credit score between the borrower and the cosigner for approval purposes. All loans are subject to credit approval.

Want To Find Out When Student Loan Refinance Rates Drop?

Join our email list to get instantly notified when rates change.

I am a(Required)