When Do I Need to Pay Back My Federal Student Loans?

An open black wallet with full of money.

Flickr user 401(k)2012

What exactly is a ‘good income”?

If you have a student loan that you are still paying off, a good income is one that allows you to make your loan payments comfortably every month while still leaving a substantial amount to cover all your necessities as well as some luxuries.

While you have earned the right to indulge and spend on a few luxuries, most advice you read will suggest that you put that extra money towards your loan payments, so instead of paying the minimum amount that you agreed on, you pay extra every month.

There are two major benefits to doing this.

  1. The more you pay back every month, the sooner you will have cleared your debt, leaving you free from any restrictive financial obligations.
  2. By paying back more every month, not only will you be debt-free earlier but you will also end up paying thousands of dollars less in interest.
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The key to accelerating your payments is to break down your income into a two categories:

  1. The amount you need for absolute essentials such as rent and utilities
  2. Living expenses that are necessary but not fixed such as groceries, traveling and emergencies

Whatever is left over after these expenses can be used to pay off your student loans and clear your debt ahead of schedule paving the way for unbridled financial freedom.

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Lender Rates (APR) Eligibility
Earnest company logo.
Variable APR: 1.74% - 5.64%*
Fixed APR: 2.44% - 5.79%*
Undergraduate and Graduate
Lendkey company logo.
Variable APR: 1.90% - 5.25%*
Fixed APR: 2.49% - 7.75%*
Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent PLUS
Credible company logo.
Variable APR: 1.80% - 9.99%*
Fixed APR: 2.15% - 9.99%*
Undergraduate and Graduate
Laurel road company logo.
Variable APR: 1.89% - 5.90%*
Fixed APR: 2.50% - 6.00%*
Undergraduate and Graduate
Commonbond company logo.
Variable APR: 1.98% - 7.04%*
Fixed APR: 2.59% - 6.94%*
Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent PLUS
Fixed APR: 2.44% - 6.22%*
Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent PLUS
VISIT ISL Education Lending
Variable APR: 1.87% – 6.52%**
Fixed APR: 2.30% – 5.96%**
Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent PLUS
VISIT Nelnet
Variable APR: 2.94% - 4.79%*
Fixed APR: 2.99% - 4.89%*
Undergraduate and Graduate
VISIT College Ave
Variable APR: 1.86% - 6.01%*
Fixed APR: 2.47% - 5.99%*
Undergraduate and Graduate, Parent PLUS

*APR includes a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrollment in automatic payments.

**Interest rate reduction of .25% for automatically withdrawn payments from any designated bank account (“auto debit discount”). Auto debit discount applies when full payments (including both principal and interest) are automatically drafted from a bank account. The auto debit discount will continue to apply during periods of approved forbearance or deferment if the auto debit discount was in effect at the time of receiving the forbearance or deferment. Auto debit discount will remain on the account unless (1) the automatic deduction of payments is canceled or (2) there are three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan.

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