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

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.

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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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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 01/01/2023. 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.

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.

Earnest Rate Disclosure

2 Earnest Rate Disclosure:

Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 4.64% APR to 9.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 4.64% APR to 9.19% 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.

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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 6.94% to 11.58% 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.

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