Even as progressive legislators call on President Biden to follow through on his campaign promise to wipe away at least $10,000 of student debt per individual borrower, some 43 million people still carry a student loan balance. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki indicated in a Dec. 10 press conference that the student loan freeze set to expire at the end of will not be extended, so those with outstanding student loans should expect their payments to return in February.
Depending on the type of loans you have and your repayment plan, you could be in debt for a long time. A survey from Intelligent found that one in 10 student loan borrowers are still in debt 20 years after graduation. And as long as you’re required to make monthly payments toward your loans, it can be difficult to save for other goals or plan for the future.
While two decades sounds like a long time, it helps to map out a timeline of your loan repayment schedule. Continue reading to learn about the typical student loan repayment time and what you can do to pay off student loans faster.
The length of time you’re paying off student loans will vary based on the type of loans you have and your repayment plan. If you aren’t sure what plan you’re on or what your loan term is, contact your loan servicer.
The first step in paying off your student loans is finding out what type of loans you have. You can find out if you have federal loans by using the National Student Loan Data System. If you think you might have private loans, they’ll show up on your credit report, which you can check for free at AnnualCreditReport.
Federal loan borrowers typically take 16 to 19 years to repay their loans, according to an analysis of government data performed by Savingforcollege. Those numbers can come as a shock for borrowers who expect to be debt-free in 10 years or less with a Standard Repayment Plan. However these default Standard Repayment Plans are often based on 10% of a borrower’s discretionary income, which is too high payday advance cash loan Wyoming for most to pay comfortably.
Very few borrowers pay off their debt before the 10-year mark, says Michele Streeter, associate director of policy and advocacy with The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS).
To reduce their payments, many borrowers opt for income-driven repayment plans that base payments on a lower percentage of their discretionary income. These plans lower the monthly payment, but extend the loan term. Depending on the plan, repayment terms can be 20 or 25 years.
It’s an affordability issue, Streeter says. We can see that from the growth in income-driven repayment plan enrollment in just the past five to 10 years. The payments under a standard repayment plan are just not affordable.
For borrowers that take advantage of Direct Consolidation, graduated repayment or extended repayment plans, the repayment term can be as long as 30 years.
With private loans, the length of time in repayment tends to be the term offered by the lender, says Streeter. You choose the loan term when you take out the loan, and unless you refinance to a new loan, your loan term should be exactly what you signed up for.
In general, it takes 10 to 25 years to repay private student loans, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). If you enter into deferment or forbearance or fall behind on your payments, it could take even longer.