10 Strategies to Pay Off Student Loans Fast in 2024

Have you ever dreamt about paying off your student loans fast? By paying more than the minimum payment and taking advantage of interest rate deductions like autopay, you can pay down your student debt quickly.

Pay Off Student Loans

Student Loans Debt Review

Student loan debt has become a normal part of attending college. For many graduates, it can be shocking to realize just how much they owe when they graduate.

Your student loan payment can hold you back from doing the things you love, and it takes a portion of your income that you could use to reach other financial goals.

Your student loan payment can also make it harder to take risks when it comes to your career or other options.

Pros and Cons of Paying Off Student Loans


  • By paying off your student loans quickly, you’ll be able to focus on other things.
  • Getting rid of a loan will help you qualify for other funding, like a mortgage.
  • The less time you spend repaying your loans, the less interest you pay.


  • Could lose eligibility for loan forgiveness.
  • May miss out on stock market gains.
  • Draws focus from other forms of debt.

How to Pay Off Student Loans Fast

Pay Off Student Loans

1. Know the Details about Each Loan

The first step to building a strategy for paying down student loan debt is knowing how much you owe across all your different loans.

If you’re unsure of how many loans you have, go to the National Student Loan Data System for info on your federal student loans.

To track your private student loans, check your credit reports to ensure you know each of your lenders.

Remember, student loans are reported on credit reports so ensure you pay all loan bills on time to avoid hurting your credit scores. 

As you collect info about each of your student loans, make a list to track:

1. Type of Loan (Federal or Private)

2. Fixed-Rate or Variable-Rate

3. Balance

4. Interest Rates

5. Term Length

6. Total Due (w/ Interest)

7. Grace Period (Interest Accrues)

Knowing these details can help you figure out what loans are costing you the most, and how to approach which loan you want to focus on paying off first.

The Office of the U.S. Department of Education provides some helpful calculators to help you understand your loan terms and repayment estimation.


2. Know the Pros and Cons of Refinancing Student Loans

After knowing details about each of your loans, you might be tempted to consolidate (or refinance high-interest rate student loans) into another loan program.

Refinancing can help you lower your monthly payments, but can also increase the term length and interest rates. You will also lose your federal borrower benefits (e.g. grace period, Perkins loan forgiveness, federal loan protections, etc).

Consolidation or refinancing your student loans can be a great option for you — just know how it will impact you financially.

3. Make Bi-Weekly Student Loan Payments

“Paying half your student loan payment every two weeks works out to a full extra payment a year,” says Betsy Mayotte at the American Student Assistance (ASA).

And you’ll also save money on the total interest you’d be paying. Check out this helpful calculator to see how much you can save by making bi-weekly payments.  The key is to ensure you’re making both payments before the due date.

4. Sign up For Automatic Payments

Many lenders are offering a small reduction in interest rates simply by signing up for automatic payments.  Typically, a lender will discount your interest rate by .25%.

Signing up for direct deposit not only lowers the cost of your total loan but also ensures you won’t miss a payment (which is key for improving your credit scores).

5. Focus on Eliminating One Loan at a Time

When you have several student loans to pay off, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out.

This is why it’s important to get hyper-focused on eliminating one loan at a time.

This demands making minimum payments on all your student loans and making additional payments on one particular loan.

As you begin cutting down the principal balance, celebrate every win (e.g. each time you knock off $1,000).

6. Refinance if You Have Good Credit and a Steady Job

Refinancing student loans can assist you pay off student loans faster without making extra payments.

Refinancing replaces multiple student loans with a single private loan, ideally at a lesser interest rate.

To hasten up repayment, choose a new loan term that’s less than what’s left on your current loans.

Opting for a shorter term may raise your monthly payment. But it will help you pay the debt faster and save money on interest.

For instance, refinancing a $50,000 student loan with an 8.5% interest rate and 10-year term to 6% interest on a seven-year term would save you roughly $15,000.

However, your monthly payment would increase by about $87.

7. Stick to the Standard Repayment Plan

The government automatically places federal student loans on a 10-year repayment timeline, unless you choose differently.

If you can’t make extra payments, the fastest manner to pay off federal loans is to stay on that standard repayment plan.

Federal loans present income-driven repayment plans, which can lower your monthly payment but also extend the payoff timeline to 20 or 25 years.

You can also consolidate student loans, which extend repayment to a maximum of 30 years, depending on your balance.

If you can avoid these alternatives and stick with the standard plan, it will mean a quicker road to being debt-free.


8. Use ‘found’ Money

Pay Off Student Loans

If you obtain a raise, a student loan refinance bonus, or another financial windfall, try to allocate at least a portion of it to your loans.

You can likewise look to your employer. Some firms pay off student loans as an employee benefit.

Find out if your company delivers an employer student loan repayment program, and ask how to enroll.

Start a side hustle to raise your income and pay off student loans faster.

Sell items like clothing, unused gift cards, or photos; rent out your spare room, parking spot, or car; or use your skills to freelance or consult on the side.

If you require help finding extra money to put toward your student loans, consider money-saving apps, like Digit and Qapital, which help you save consistently with minimal effort on your part.

9. Make Additional Payments

If you can afford it, make bigger payments to cut the principal more quickly and reduce the total payoff time.

By reducing the principal balance, you’re minimizing the course of the loan period and the interest accrued.

For instance, a $25,000 student loan with a 6.8 percent interest rate and a 10-year repayment period would cost $288 monthly.

Using a student loan calculator, you can notice that paying $400 monthly instead of $288 enables the borrower to repay the loan in less than seven years.

10. Inquire about Repayment Assistance

Many employers have started offering student loan repayment assistance or tuition reimbursement.

Some employers, including Starbucks and Walmart, even deliver free college for workers who sign up for degree programs within a chosen network of courses and schools.

Employers can donate up to $5,250 annually toward an employee’s college tuition or student loan repayment assistance through 2025.

This benefit is not taxable income for the employee, a major help for workers pursuing higher education while continuing to work.

Employers can subtract the expense, too, so everyone benefits.

Check your employee manual or speak with your HR department to see what tuition assistance or loan repayment alternatives are obtainable at your company.

To round up, student loan debt can be a significant financial burden, but there are steps you can take to eliminate yours more quickly, and you don’t need a high salary to do it.

Some are widely available, like automatic payments, while others require a particular job or financial situation.

When considering how to pay off student loans fast, determine the best approach for your finances and personal goals.

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