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10 Things People Absolutely Hate About Student Loan Debt

Andrew Zoeller
Refinancing seems too good to be true
Refinancing seems too good to be true

Before You Read, Lower Your Student Loan Payment

It’s that quick & easy — really. Our free tool checks a network of top refinance lenders and shows you options in one easy chart.
Checking rates takes 2 minutes with no impact on your credit
Federal & private loans are eligible
No maximum loan amount

Before You Read, Lower Your Student Payment

It’s that quick & easy — really. Our free tool checks a network of top refinance lenders and shows you options in one easy chart.

Checking rates takes 2 minutes with no impact on your credit
Federal & private loans are eligible
No maximum loan amount

There isn’t anything to like about student loan debt. (Or any debt for that matter.)

The only thing people “enjoy” about student loans is getting rid of them for good. The process of paying them off more easily can also bring borrowers a certain type of rueful joy — either by getting a better interest rate, scoring a lower monthly payment, or waving goodbye to them sooner than expected.

The sad truth of the situation? Student loan debt is a comproblem that isn’t going away: total debt across the U.S. is currently estimated at 1.6 trillion, with the average debt per borrower hovering around $30,000.

To share some comradery with the billions of other student loan borrowers, here are 10 things that are really annoying about student loans — and ways to make them hurt slightly less.

1. Paying off large amounts can seem impossible

Paying off large amounts can seem impossible

If you had to take out a variety of federal and private loans to afford tuition, your grand total might look pretty scary. And it could be downright frightening if you went to an expensive private university or pursued a (gulp) graduate or doctorate degree.

But don’t despair just yet — there are plenty of smart solutions for getting rid of $100k (or even $200k) in loan debt.

2. Repayment terms can get absurdly long

Repayment terms can get absurdly long

Your student loan term could be about the same number of years you’ve existed on the planet, depending on your repayment plan. You don’t have to be stuck with it though.

Try refinancing to a shorter term with a lower interest rate, or check out our ultimate guide of other repayment options to see what’s right for your budget and financial situation.

3. The “Standard” Repayment Plan is still a full decade

The Standard Repayment Plan is still a full decade

With federal student loans, you’re automatically placed into a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan.

10. Long. Years. And this is simply the default plan — it doesn’t consider if you’d like to repay them faster or if you can even afford those standard monthly payments.

Luckily, there are plenty of options to adjust your repayment plan to a shorter or longer term based on your unique needs.

4. Payment amounts sometimes seem to change at random

Payment amounts sometimes seem to change at random

Logging into your student loan account to make your monthly payment — only to find out that it went up out of nowhere — can be frustrating. Usually, there is a method to the madness.

Here’s why student loan payments can increase.

5. Interest rates can be grossly high

Interest rates can be grossly high

Calculating how much money you’ll ultimately pay in interest can be sickening. The good news is there are ways to get lower rates for both federal and private loans, and save significantly on interest costs.

Find out more with our insider’s guide to refinancing.

The 2 Best Companies to Refinance Student Loans

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5.48% – 8.94% APR 4

Variable Rate

5.28% – 8.99% APR 4
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Fixed Rate

5.19% – 9.74% APR 2

Variable Rate

5.72% – 9.74% APR 2

6. Planning for other financial goals can be difficult

Planning for other financial goals can be difficult

Dedicating a large portion of your monthly budget to student loan payments can be disheartening. And it can also leave you with very little left to invest in other big life goals — like buying a home, having kids, planning for retirement, or traveling with loved ones.

Here’s some expert guidance to navigate affording a mortgage or investing for retirement while dealing with student loan debt.

7. Student loan forgiveness isn’t for everyone

Student loan forgiveness isn't for everyone

Having all your student loan debt erased from the universe sounds like a fantasy. Fortunately, it is very possible for certain borrowers and professions. Unfortunately, it has quite a few requirements in order to qualify.

Read our complete breakdown of how forgiveness works.

8. Student loan servicers can be unreliable

Student loan servicers can be unreliable

Like any customer service situation, calling your student loan servicer can be a nightmare. Long wait times, unanswered questions, and confusing responses are all possible. However, there are ways to get a new servicer such as through a student loan refinance.

All lenders provided through Purefy’s Compare Rates tool are quality, vetted companies with real, prequalified rates — and each has a sparkling reputation for customer service.

9. Refinancing seems too good to be true

Refinancing seems too good to be true

You’ve heard it before or seen it on social media — student loan refinancing can save you significant cash on student loans and you can apply in just 15 minutes. And yes, this actually can be completely true for those who are approved.

If you qualify, there really isn’t much of a downside to refinancing — and there’s actually a lot to like.

10. It’s hard to qualify for a refinance

It's hard to qualify for a refinance

The biggest caveat to student loan refinancing — even though there are many great benefits — is it can be difficult to qualify. Student loan refinancing lenders look at your credit history, income, debt-to-income ratio, degree earned, and more to determine if you’re a good refinance candidate. They also use this information to decide which rates to offer you, if you do get approved.

If you can’t currently qualify on your own, you can try applying with a creditworthy cosigner like a parent, relative, or close friend. You could also work on improving your credit score to get approved and be offered lower rates.

So what’s the first step to knowing if refinancing can work for you? Compare your refinance offers with Purefy.

With one fast form, you can see the lenders, rates, and terms you qualify for — with no impact to your credit. And once you see all your options, it’s easy to decide which can save you the most money.

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Purefy - Compare Private Student Loan Consolidation & Refinance Options Quickly & Easily
Purefy - Compare Private Student Loan Consolidation & Refinance Options Quickly & Easily
Purefy - Compare Private Student Loan Consolidation & Refinance Options Quickly & Easily
Purefy - Compare Private Student Loan Consolidation & Refinance Options Quickly & Easily
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Purefy - Compare Private Student Loan Consolidation & Refinance Options Quickly & Easily
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Before you go, let’s make sure is offering you the best rate.

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Ascent Rate Disclosure

Ascent’s undergraduate and graduate student loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills or DR Bank, Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Ts&Cs.

Rates are effective as of 12/1/2023 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized back account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates.

1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details.

SoFi Rate Disclosure

3 SoFi Rate Disclosure:

Fixed rates range from 4.49% APR to 8.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 5.09% APR to 8.99% 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.

ISL Rate Disclosure

Earnest Rate Disclosure

2 Earnest Rate Disclosure:


Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 5.44% APR to 9.99% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 5.97% APR to 9.99% 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.

Advertiser Disclosure:

THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO MAKE ANY PAYMENT OR TAKE ANY OTHER ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THIS OFFER.

Earnest Rate Disclosure

Rates displayed include the 0.25% Auto Pay discount. You can take advantage of the Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment from a checking or savings account. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in Auto Pay. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.

Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 4.67% APR to 16.15% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 5.64% APR to 16.45% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan origination 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. Although the rate will vary after you are approved, it will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for this loan). Please note, Earnest Private Student Loans are not available in Nevada. 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. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.

Nine-month grace period is not available for borrowers who choose our Principal and Interest Repayment plan while in school.

Earnest clients may skip one payment every 12 months. Your first request to skip a payment can be made once you’ve made at least 6 months of consecutive on-time payments, and your loan is in good standing. The interest accrued during the skipped month will result in an increase in your remaining minimum payment. The final payoff date on your loan will be extended by the length of the skipped payment periods. Please be aware that a skipped payment does count toward the forbearance limits. Please note that skipping a payment is not guaranteed and is at Earnest’s discretion. Your monthly payment and total loan cost may increase as a result of postponing your payment and extending your term.

Loan Eligibility criteria: Eligible students must: 1) For college Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors, attend, or be enrolled to attend, a Title IV school full-time. For college Seniors and Graduate students, attend, or be enrolled to attend, a Title IV school at least half-time; and 2) be pursuing a Bachelor’s or Graduate degree. Earnest private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information, self-certification of loan amount, and school certification.

Responsible borrowing tip: Explore all scholarship, grant and federal options before applying for a private loan.

Earnest Private Student Loans are made by One American Bank, Member FDIC. One American Bank, 515 S. Minnesota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104.

Earnest loans are serviced by Earnest Operations LLC, 535 Mission St., Suite 1663 San Francisco, CA 94105, NMLS #1204917, with support From Navient Solutions, LLC (NMLS #212430). One American Bank and Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by agencies of the United States of America.

Advertiser Disclosure:

THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO MAKE ANY PAYMENT OR TAKE ANY OTHER ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THIS OFFER.

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 10/13/2023. 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.

ELFI Rate Disclosure

Education Loan Finance is a nationwide student loan provider offered by Tennessee based SouthEast Bank. ELFI is designed to assist students financially with receiving their education. Subject to credit approval. See Terms & Conditions. Interest rates current as of 12/11/2023. Variable interest rates may increase after closing but will never exceed 18.00%. Interest rates may also differ from the rates shown above. The term of your loan, financial history, and other factors, including your cosigner’s (if any) financial history can affect the interest rate. For example, a 10-year loan with a fixed rate of 7% would have 120 payments of $11.61 per $1,000 borrowed. Rates are subject to change.

College Ave Rate Disclosure

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community Bank, member FDIC, or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC.. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. If a payment is returned, you will lose this benefit. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
Minimum loan amount $1,000, as certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive.
This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
Information advertised valid as of 1/1/2024. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.

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