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
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
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
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
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
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.
6. 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
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
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
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
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.