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Do Student Loans Expire?

Federal student loans never expire. Unlike private student loans, federal loans have no statute of limitations, which is the time limit creditors have to use legal means to collect on a debt. And while the clock technically can run out on private student loans, that doesn’t mean your student loans have vanished — lenders simply can no longer sue you to collect the debt. Plus, waiting it out will wreak havoc on your finances, anyway.

As such, waiting for student loans to expire is not a recommended tactic to manage student loans. Read on to learn more about why your student loans aren’t likely to expire and more effective ways to deal with student loan debt.

Why Federal Student Loans Don’t Expire

When does my student loan expire?

The answer to that question is “never” when it comes to federal loans. There’s no statute of limitations for collections on federal student loans. This means that if you stop making payments, your loan servicer or a debt collector can sue you to force repayment, regardless of how long it’s been since you last made a payment.

So what happens if you do stop paying your federal student loans altogether? First, your total balance will continue to increase. Whether or not you’re making any payments, interest will accrue, which means that every month your lender will add your new interest fees to your principal loan balance.

After at least 270 days of non-payment, your federal student loan will be in default. This can cause a number of things to happen, including loan acceleration (meaning your entire balance becomes due) and your loan getting sent to collections, which can damage your credit score and lead to additional fees from a collection agency.

Additionally, the federal government may decide to withhold your tax refund or even garnish wages directly from your paycheck. Your loan holder can also sue you to force you to pay up.

There is one temporary exception to this situation. Following the end of the federal student loan payment pause, which lasted from March 2020 to October 2023, the Biden administration instituted a special “on-ramp” period to protect financially vulnerable borrowers from experiencing the negative consequences of missing payments.

From Oct. 1, 2023 to Sept. 30, 2024, federal loan borrowers who miss one or more payments will not be considered delinquent or in default, have their missed payments reported to the credit bureaus, or have past-due loans referred to collections agencies. Any payments missed during this time will be due once the on-ramp period is over. And the normal process around loan default will resume Oct. 1, 2024.

Recommended: What Happens When Your Student Loans Go to Collections?

Why Private Student Loans May Expire

Unlike federal student loans, private student loans may be bound by a statute of limitations on collections. The statute of limitations varies by state and is generally between three and 10 years from the date you stopped paying your loans. Once the statute of limitations is up, the debt becomes “time-barred.”

Before you stop making your monthly payments, it’s important to know that a statute of limitations is not the same thing as an expiration date on your loans. A statute of limitations is merely a limit on the time that a lender or debt collector has to sue you in court to force you to pay back the loans.

Even if your debt is time-barred, you still technically owe the money, and failure to pay could lead to student loan default. When you default, you may face negative impacts to your credit score, and you may still end up dealing with collection agencies, plus any additional fees they may charge.

One Way You Can Get Rid of Student Loans

You can technically get rid of federal student loans in bankruptcy. However, doing so is extremely rare.

To potentially get your student loans (federal or private) discharged in bankruptcy, you would have to prove that paying your loans would cause you “undue hardship” (to borrow a phrase right from the U.S. Bankruptcy Code). Proving that paying your loans would cause undue hardship typically involves passing the Brunner test. This is a tool bankruptcy courts use that basically lays out ways in which you might claim undue hardship.

In short, it’s far from a sure thing, and the process is not especially clear-cut. But whether you’re 19 or 90 years old, your federal student loans will not just automatically expire after a period of non-payment — and failing to pay has some serious consequences.

Alternative Options to Manage Student Loan Debt

Just because federal student loans don’t expire doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to manage your student loan debt. Here are a few other options you might explore.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is available to professionals who work for qualifying employers in certain fields such as government, the nonprofit sector, and healthcare. This program is meant to encourage graduates to fill needed jobs in the public service sector without worrying about making enough money to pay off their student debt.

PSLF requires that you make 120 payments (the equivalent of 10 years, though they don’t need to be consecutive) while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Only payments made under certain repayment programs (such as income-driven repayment) count toward forgiveness. Still, federal loan forgiveness may be a good option for public servants with lots of debt left to pay.

Income-Driven Repayment

Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans reduce your payments to a percentage of your discretionary income. For borrowers who fall below certain income thresholds, payments could be as low as $0. There are four IDR plans available today:

•   Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE), which replaced REPAYE

•   Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

•   Income-Based Repayment (IBR)

•   Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)

In addition to reducing payments, these plans also extend the repayment term up to 25 years. Once the repayment period is up, any remaining debt is forgiven (but may be considered taxable income). For the SAVE plan, in particular, certain borrowers with smaller balances could have their loans forgiven after just 10 years of payments. In some sense, it might seem like the loans have “expired.” But really, the loans were repaid according to the terms of the IDR plan and the debt is considered satisfied.

Student Loan Refinancing

Another option to save money on your student loans is student loan refinancing. Loan refinancing doesn’t change the underlying amount that you owe. However, it may reduce the amount of money you spend on interest and help you secure better payment terms, which can add up to some serious cash over the life of your loan. When you refinance a federal student loan, you replace it with a private student loan.

Refinancing your federal and private loans based on your current credit score and income may allow you to score a brand new loan with a better interest rate or a shorter payoff term. To see how refinancing your loans could help you spend less money in interest, you can take a look at this student loan refinance calculator. Just know that if you’re working toward PSLF, refinancing with a private lender will disqualify your loans from this and any other federal program.

The Takeaway

If you’ve been waiting around for your federal student loans to expire, you’re out of luck — federal student loans don’t expire. While private student loans may expire due to their statute of limitations, your debt won’t just disappear when this happens. Your finances will also suffer in the meantime. This is why it’s important to look into other ways to manage your student loan debt, such as student loan refinancing or income-driven repayment.

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.


With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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Student Loan Forgiveness for Pharmacists

When people talk about student loans in the medical community, the conversation can often revolve around physicians. While it’s true that doctors have exorbitant tuition bills, the same can be said for many other medical professionals.

Pharmacists are no exception, according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) annual survey data.

Pharmacy school students who graduated in 2023 borrowed $167,711 on average to finance their Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) education, according to the AACP. The vast majority (82.2%) said they had borrowed money to help pay for their PharmD program expenses.

Thankfully, being in the medical field also gives pharmacists access to multiple loan forgiveness options. Read ahead to learn about pharmacy loan forgiveness programs.

Considering Loan Forgiveness as a Pharmacist

Loan forgiveness programs exist to help incentivize graduates to pursue potentially lower-paying, but essential positions. One of the more well-known programs, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), was created in 2007 under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.

You may qualify for PSLF if you work for a government body or 501(c)(3) nonprofit and make 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan. Working as a pharmacist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for example, may allow you to apply for PSLF.

Private student loans are not eligible for PSLF, but private student loans may be eligible for other debt relief programs. Pharmacists conducting extramural program research for a university or U.S.-based nonprofit, for example, may qualify for debt relief under the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Program. You can receive up to $50,000 per year in federal and private student debt relief under the NIH Loan Repayment Program.

Below we provide more details about debt relief programs that can lead to pharmacist student loan forgiveness, including PSLF and the NIH Loan Repayment Program.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you have a PharmD degree, you may have ample opportunities to work as a pharmacist for a government employer and apply for PSLF.

As mentioned above, the PSLF program is available to eligible government and nonprofit workers with federal student loans. The stipulations require borrowers to make 120 qualifying payments over a 10-year period before becoming eligible for forgiveness. Further, the employer must be qualified by the federal government, and you must work at least 30 hours per week.

The following federal student loans are eligible for PSLF:

•   Direct Subsidized Loans

•   Direct Unsubsidized Loans

•   Direct PLUS Loans

•   Direct Consolidation Loans

To qualify for PSLF, you would typically sign up for a federal income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. The Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan is one of the IDR options you can choose. (All IDR plans can end with federal student loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years, particularly if you’ve borrowed a large amount of federal education loans.)

The SAVE Plan is the most affordable repayment plan for federal student loans, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Beginning July 2024, SAVE Plan payment amounts are based on 5% of discretionary income for undergraduate loans, 10% for graduate loans, and a weighted average for borrowers who have both.

The original PSLF rules made it difficult for borrowers to receive loan forgiveness under that program, but the U.S. Department of Education announced permanent PSLF updates that took effect in July 2023.

The department previously relaxed some of the PSLF requirements for a limited time in 2021 and 2022 during the Covid-19 national emergency. Since then, the department has forgiven $45 billion in federal student debt for more than 650,000 public employees enrolled in the PSLF program, according to Education Department data.

Serious savings. Save thousands of dollars
thanks to flexible terms and low fixed or variable rates.


Can Pharmacists Get Loan Forgiveness?

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in federal student debt for qualified loan holders in June 2023, but pharmacists can still get student loan forgiveness under a variety of programs.

Pharmacist student loan forgiveness is possible under programs like PSLF if you work for a government or nonprofit employer as a health professional. In addition to PSLF, there are specific loan repayment programs that may offer loan forgiveness for pharmacists.

Student debt refinanced with a private lender is not eligible for PSLF, but refinanced student debt may be eligible for other debt relief programs highlighted below. You may pay more interest over the life of the loan if you refinance with an extended term.


💡 Quick Tip: Ready to refinance your student loan? You could save thousands.

Student Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs for Pharmacists

Besides the PSLF, you might consider these programs that offer repayment and forgiveness help for pharmacists:

The National Health Service Corps State Loan Repayment Program

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has a National Health Service Corps State Loan Repayment Program that provides student debt relief to eligible pharmacists and other health professionals who work in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).

The California State Loan Repayment Program, for example, offers up to $100K in federal and private student debt relief to pharmacists who work in a qualifying role for three years.

A state-based Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) typically receives federal funding, but states can set their own SLRP eligibility requirements. This means you may not be eligible for pharmacist SLRP student debt relief in all states. It’s also worth noting that offerings may change every year and that states are not obligated to award maximum loan repayment amounts available.

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Workforce Loan Repayment Program

Pharmacists who work at eligible substance use disorder (SUD) treatment facilities may qualify for student loan repayment assistance under the National Health Service Corps’ SUD Workforce Loan Repayment Program.

Pharmacists can receive up to $75,000 in student loan forgiveness in exchange for three years of full-time service at an approved SUD treatment facility. Such sites may include office-based opioid treatment facilities, state correctional facilities, federal prisons, and community health centers.

The National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program

As mentioned earlier, pharmacists conducting extramural program research for an eligible employer may receive up to $50,000 annually in federal and private student debt relief through the NIH Loan Repayment Program.

Although private student loans and federal loans are eligible, you must have a sizable student debt-to-income ratio of at least 20% to qualify for an initial NIH Loan Repayment Program award. It’s possible to have all of your student debt repaid through this system, because there’s no limit to how long you can work for a qualified extramural research program.

Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program

Pharmacists who work at Indian health facilities for two years may receive up to $50,000 in student debt relief from the Indian Health Service (IHS) Loan Repayment Program. Private and federal loans are eligible for relief under this program.

Indian health facilities are hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities administered directly by IHS, a Tribal organization, or an Urban Indian program. These facilities are typically based in American Indian or Alaska Native communities. The majority of the locations are rural and remote.


💡 Quick Tip: Refinancing could be a great choice for working graduates who have higher-interest graduate PLUS loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and/or private loans.

U.S. Department of Defense Educational Loan Repayment Program

Federal law allows branches of the U.S. armed forces to repay federal student debt of enlisted members serving in specified military specialties or commissioned officers serving in specified health professions. Pharmacists who enlist in the U.S. armed forces may qualify for student loan repayment assistance under this program.

The U.S. Army and U.S. Navy, for example, may repay up to $65,000 of qualified federal student loans in good standing. Eligibility for this loan repayment program may require that you serve for three years in a critical military occupational specialty or longer.

Refinancing Your Student Loans

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.


With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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FAFSA Tips and Mistakes to Avoid

Editor’s Note: The new, simplified FAFSA form for the 2024-2025 academic year is available, although applicants are reporting a number of glitches. Try not to worry, take your time, and aim to submit your application as soon as possible.

If you’re applying to college or graduate school, figuring out how to pay for your education is likely top of mind. The first step for many prospective students is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as the FAFSA®.

This form is your gateway not only for federal loans, but also for federal grants, work-study jobs, and even scholarships and grants available through your state or school. Filling out the FAFSA is key, since it’s how your eligibility for student aid is determined.

You might be tempted to put off filling out the application or have no idea where to start, but submitting your application early could improve your chances of earning more aid. Continue reading for more FAFSA tips and tricks to help make sure everything goes smoothly.

Tips for Filling Out the FAFSA

The FAFSA is required in order to apply for federal student loans, grants like the Pell Grant, and scholarships. Colleges and universities may also use the information provided on the FAFSA to determine college-specific awards. This is an important first step for students figuring out how they’ll pay for college.

Unfortunately, the FAFSA has become known for being a long, tedious, and complex form to fill out. Good news: The U.S. Department of Education is rolling out a new streamlined and simplified FAFSA for the 2024-25 school year in December, 2023 (a delay from the usual October 1).

Whether you’re filling out the standard 2023-24 FAFSA or the simplified 2024-25 FAFSA, here are some tips to keep in mind.


💡 Quick Tip: You’ll make no payments on some private student loans for six months after graduation.

Actually Fill The FAFSA Out

Some people may not complete a FAFSA under the assumption that their income, or that of their family, is too high for them to qualify for any student aid. In reality, the government has no official income threshold to qualify for federal student aid, and there are many forms of aid on the table.

So you can’t really predict whether you might benefit. You also need to fill out the FAFSA to be eligible for any type of federal student loan. Federal loans typically come with more robust benefits when compared to private student loans, including deferment during periods of economic hardship and income-driven repayment plans. You don’t want to lose out on potential financial help for lack of even trying.

If you don’t end up earning as much aid as you need, you can also search for scholarships from private organizations.

Submit As Early As Possible

Typically, the FAFSA becomes available on October 1 for the following academic year. The 2024-2025 academic year, however, is an exception. Due to upcoming changes to the FAFSA (and some adjustments to how student aid will be calculated), the form will be available in December 2023.

Generally, it’s a good idea to submit the FAFSA as soon after it’s released as possible, since some aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Submitting the form early could help improve your chances of receiving financial help for college.

Most importantly, don’t miss the submission deadline. Technically, the FAFSA deadline is the end of June of the following year. But each state and educational institution has its own deadline for submitting the FAFSA.

You can check state deadlines on StudentAid.gov . For individual college due dates, you can go to the website for each college you’re interested in applying to, or reach out to their financial aid offices. Make sure you submit the FAFSA by the earliest deadline of the bunch.

Prepare Ahead of Time

To simplify the process of filling out the FAFSA, it’s helpful to gather everything you need in advance. Here are some of the things you may need for both yourself and your parents (if you’re a dependent):

•   Social Security Numbers, or Alien Registration Numbers for non-citizens If you don’t know these, you can request them from the Social Security Administration or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

•   Driver’s license numbers

•   Tax returns For the 2024–25 academic year, you’ll be asked for your 2022 tax information, which can typically be transferred directly from the IRS. If you or your parents have had a change of income since that tax return, you may need to let the financial aid departments of the schools you’re applying to know directly.

•   Records of assets you or your parents own This can include bank statements showing savings and checking account balances or records of investments such as stocks, bonds, or real estate, excluding the family home.

•   Records of income that isn’t taxed This might include child support or interest.

•   Federal school codes for the institutions you’re applying to You can find these on the Department of Education website. Include every school you’re even remotely considering, even if you haven’t yet submitted your application or been accepted. There are no repercussions if you end up listing schools you don’t apply to or get into. However, if you add a school later, there may be less financial aid available.

Recommended: How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?

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Apply Online

You can request a paper form, but if possible, submitting your FAFSA online is the quickest and easiest way to submit your application. Make sure you are on the official Student Aid website, which should end in “.gov.” If you’re asked to provide credit card information, you’re in the wrong place (after all, “free” is in the form’s name).

Before you get started, you’ll need to create an FSA ID on the Department of Education website . This is the username and password you’ll use to electronically sign your FAFSA, as well as to prefill information in future years, since you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA each year you want to apply for student aid.

If you are a dependent student, your parents will need to create an independent FSA ID. Because this ID serves as an official signature, you should create your own and not share it with anyone.

Take Advantage of Time Savers

Besides using an FSA ID, another way to speed up the application process is to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This allows you to automatically populate answers to some questions on the FAFSA with information from you or your parents’ federal income tax returns. This not only saves time, but is also a good way to make sure you submit accurate numbers. According to the Department of Education, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will have an even easier and faster way to transfer your tax information directly from the IRS.

Get Help if You Need it

If you’re confused about something, don’t worry — and don’t ignore it. First, check the frequently asked questions on the FAFSA website. If that doesn’t help, you can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center by chat, email, or phone.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Every year, certain errors crop up again and again in FAFSA applications. To help prevent delays in your financial aid, it’s worth ensuring you aren’t making these common mistakes:

Leaving Fields Blank

Leaving fields blank can result in errors when filing your application. Instead, write “0” or “N/A” where relevant.

Filling Out the Application at the Same Time as Your Parents

The FAFSA will require financial information from both you and your parents. As mentioned, both you and your parents will have your own FSA ID information to log in and make changes to the FAFSA application. If you log in at the same time, you risk one or both of your changes not being saved properly.

Providing Incorrect Information

The FAFSA requires a lot of personal and financial information. Making careless errors or submitting incorrect information can cause issues with your application. For example, make sure you submit the correct Social Security number. If you don’t use this number often, you may not know it by heart. But being one digit off here can throw things off.

Issues can also occur if you are providing the wrong figures for investments. Carefully follow the instructions to report student and parent investments in the right place and understand what to include or exclude.

Take your time and read the questions carefully. Breezing through the application in a rush can potentially lead to wrong answers or missed fields.

Recommended: What Are the FAFSA Requirements and Do You Meet Them?

Failing to Reapply

The FAFSA isn’t a one-time deal. Most schools require you to re-apply every year, so make sure you stay on top of deadlines.


💡 Quick Tip: Would-be borrowers will want to understand the different types of student loans that are available: private student loans, federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, Direct PLUS loans, and more.

The Takeaway

Filling out the FAFSA is the first step to getting the financial aid many students need to make college or graduate school a reality. A few tips to help you toward FAFSA success include: reading the application closely, making sure you have the most up-to-date financial information at hand when you are ready to submit, and submitting the application as early as possible. And don’t forget, you’ll need to submit an application annually.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.


Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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Should You Make Weekly, Biweekly or Monthly Student Loan Payments?

Back when you signed up for your first federal student loan, you might have been grateful to learn you had 10 years or more to pay the money back. A longer loan term typically comes with smaller monthly payments — and that can be helpful when you’re just starting out and trying to make ends meet.

Once you’re feeling steadier on your feet financially, though, the idea of dumping that debt a little sooner than planned can be tempting. One way to do that is by adjusting the frequency of your student loan payments. You can make extra student loan payments each month beyond your minimum required payment.

Below we explore the merits of making weekly student loan payments vs. biweekly or monthly student loan payments.

How Do Weekly Student Loan Payments Work?

You can make weekly student loan payments through automated or manual payments every seven days. Both federal and private student loans typically require minimum monthly payments, but you can make extra payments above that amount if you wish.

If you’re required to pay $300 per month on student debt, for example, you could instead pay $100 each week. Paying at that rate would accelerate your loan payments, meaning you may pay your debt off faster and reduce your total interest costs over the life of the loan.

Here’s another example of how weekly student loan payments can work:

Let’s say a recent graduate has a monthly student loan payment of $400. That’s $4,800 a year. But now that she’s working, she realizes she can pay a little more every month. If she splits that $400 into $100 weekly student loan payments, over the course of the year she’ll pay $5,200 instead of $4,800. That’s equal to a whole extra payment for the year that can reduce her interest costs over the life of the loan.

What’s an Extra Student Loan Payment?

An extra student loan payment is when you pay more than the required amount due on your monthly billing statement. You can make extra student loan payments if you wish, but it’s important that everyone is on board regarding how those extra payments should be applied.

When you apply for student loans, you may take out multiple education loans to help cover your tuition and related expenses. You can instruct your lender to put extra payments toward principal reduction, not the next month’s payment. It may be possible to do this electronically by logging into your account and selecting how the extra amount should be allocated.

As a borrower, you can consider different repayment options. If you determine that making extra payments is right for you and your budget, you can ask your lender or loan servicer to allocate your extra payments to your higher interest loans first.

Student loan refinancing may be another way to reduce your total interest costs.


💡 Quick Tip: Ready to refinance your student loan? With SoFi’s no-fee loans, you could save thousands.

Are You Ready for Accelerated Payments?

Just about every financial strategy has pros and cons, and that applies to accelerated payments. There are a few scenarios when making extra loan payments wouldn’t necessarily be in a borrower’s best interest.

If a person is carrying $50,000 in high-interest credit card debt, for example, that debt may take priority over a student loan with a lower interest rate.

Another priority could be building an emergency fund first to handle unexpected costs — from car repairs to medical bills.

You have no obligation to pay extra, but borrowers are generally expected to repay their student loans when due. The 2023 debt ceiling bill officially ended the three-year Covid-19 forbearance, requiring federal student loan interest accrual to resume on Sept. 1 and payments to resume in October 2023.

Recommended: 6 Strategies to Pay off Student Loans Quickly

Benefits of Paying Student Loans Biweekly

Making loan payments biweekly instead of monthly can accelerate the payoff of the student debt and reduce your total interest costs over the life of the loan. Paying student loans biweekly may be right for you if you’re interested in paying more than your required amount due each month.

Aligning payment frequency with an employer’s payroll schedule (whether it’s weekly or biweekly) may help with budgeting and ensuring money is in the right bank account when your payment is due. If you’re making weekly or biweekly payments, it’s critical that you cover at least the required amount due by your scheduled due date to avoid any penalties.

If that seems like a lot of extra work and worry, autopay (also called direct debit) might be a solution to staying on top of payments. The U.S. Department of Education does not charge prepayment penalties on federal student loans, and federal law prohibits prepayment penalties on private student loans.

Whether you have federal or private student debt, paying off your education loans sooner rather than later can minimize your total interest costs without penalty.

Alternatives to Accelerated Payments

For those who aren’t quite ready to move into an accelerated payment plan, there are alternative methods that can help with getting ahead of student debt. To try a test run, you could divide your current monthly payment by 12 and add that amount to each payment whenever possible. For example, a $400 monthly payment would be about $33 extra a month. But when times are tight, you could send the regular amount.

Another approach might be to put lump sums of extra money toward loan payments spontaneously but whenever possible. (If you get a tax refund, for instance, or receive a bonus at work.)

You could also look at a federal Direct Consolidation Loan, which allows you to combine your federal education loans into a single loan with one payment. That can make repayment more manageable, but because it’s a government program, it doesn’t include private loans. And a federal consolidation loan usually increases the period of time the borrower has to repay the loans, which means one could end up paying more in interest.

If you have a stable income and solid credit, you might want to look at combining all of your student loans into a new loan with one manageable payment by refinancing with a private lender.


💡 Quick Tip: When refinancing a student loan, you may shorten or extend the loan term. Shortening your loan term may result in higher monthly payments but significantly less total interest paid. A longer loan term typically results in lower monthly payments but more total interest paid.

Income-Driven Repayment Plans

Making weekly or biweekly student loan payments may not be right for everyone. If you cannot afford voluntary extra payments on federal student loans, you may consider enrolling into a federal income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Private student loans are not eligible for IDR plans.

All IDR plans can end with federal student loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years, but some borrowers on the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan may have their loans forgiven much sooner. Borrowers with original principal balances under $12,000 can have their remaining federal loan balances canceled after 10 years under the SAVE Plan.

The SAVE Plan is the most affordable repayment plan for federal student loans, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Borrowers who earn less than 225% of the federal poverty guideline (or less than $32,805 for a single borrower and $67,500 for a family of four in 2023) don’t have to make any payments under the SAVE Plan.

For those who are required to pay, SAVE Plan enrollees beginning July 2024 will have payment amounts based on 5% of discretionary income for undergraduate loans, 10% for graduate loans, and a weighted average for borrowers who have both.

Pros and Cons of Student Loan Refinancing

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.


With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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How to Find Your Student Loan Account Number_780x440:

How to Find Your Student Loan Account Number

While on the road to repayment, there will likely be instances when you need to know your student loan account number (like if you want to change repayment plans or refinance). But you probably haven’t committed this number to memory. In fact, you might not even know how to find it.

If you need your student loan account number but don’t know how to get it, don’t worry. Read on to learn what a student loan account number is, why you need it, and how to find it.

What Is a Student Loan Account Number?

Your student loan account number is a unique 10-digit number that is given to you by your student loan provider and is used for identifying your federal student loan.

Students can use their student loan account number to look up their payments and see how much of their balance is left. This number is also used to verify a student’s identity when they are using services offered by the loan provider, such as mobile banking or trying to obtain previous statements.

Some financial institutions and banks may ask you for your student loan account number before allowing you to borrow money or open a new credit card. You’ll also need to know this number if you are considering refinancing those loans.

In addition, your student loan account number is used for tax purposes in order to verify that the student loan on a tax return is yours.

Students with private loans won’t have a federal student loan identification number associated with those loans. Instead, you’ll need to contact the lender directly in order to get account information. This includes any private student loans that were originally federal ones but were refinanced into a private loan, since those balances would now show in government records as $0.00.


💡 Quick Tip: Enjoy no hidden fees and special member benefits when you refinance student loans with SoFi.

How to Find Your Student Loan Account Number

The easiest place to find your student loan account number is on the monthly student loan statements sent by your loan provider. You should be able to find it on the upper right or left corner near your name, or somewhere in that vicinity. You can also check your e-mail account if you’re receiving your statements by e-mail.

If you don’t have access to any of your monthly statements, you can log into the Federal Student Aid website using your FSA (Federal Student Aid) ID to see your loan details. This will allow you to see your student loan account number, along with additional information about your loans.

Don’t have an FSA ID? Not to worry.

More About the FSA ID

The FSA ID replaced the Federal Student PIN in 2015, so students who haven’t taken out new student loans or haven’t logged into the Federal Student Aid website since 2015 might not have an FSA ID yet.

Students who don’t have an FSA ID can create one by visiting the who don’t have an FSA ID can create one by visiting the . Once you sign up for an FSA ID, the federal government will verify your information with the Social Security Administration. Once your information is verified, you will be able to use your FSA ID to obtain information about your federal student loans.

The site, managed by the U.S. Department of Education, can provide a convenient way to get a full picture of all your federal loans, including:

•   How many federal student loans you have

•   Their loan types

•   The original balance on each loan

•   Current loan balances

•   Interest rates on loans

•   Whether any loans are in default

•   Loan service provider’s names

•   Contact information of the loan service providers

Recommended: How Much Do I Owe in Student Loans?

Identifying Lenders

Federal student loans aren’t directly administered by the government. While the government is the lender, these loans are managed by a variety of loan servicers that take on administrative tasks such as sending bills to borrowers, creating repayment plans, and consolidating loans.

It’s important to know which servicers are overseeing your loans so you know where to send payments and who to reach out to if you have questions or need to discuss an alternative payment plan.

The U.S. Department of Education assigns loan to these companies:

•   Edfinancial : 1-855-337-6884

•   MOHELA : 1-888-866-4352

•   Nelnet : 1-888-486-4722

•   Aidvantage : 1-800-722-1300

•   ECSI : 1-866-313-3797

•   Default Resolution Group : 1-800-621-3115

As mentioned, you can find information about which entities are servicing your federal loans when logged on to StudentAid.gov. Another way to confirm a loan servicer is to call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC)  at 1-800-433-3243.

As far as private student loans go, the lender is typically a bank, online lender, or other financial institution. Contact information should be available on the bills and other information sent to you. This private student loans guide can give you more information about how these loans work.

If these documents have been misplaced, the private lender’s information can typically be found on your credit reports. You can request a free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. Through the end of 2023, you can receive a free copy of your reports weekly.

Finally another way to track down your private student loan lenders is by contacting your college’s financial aid office.

Paying Back Student Loan Debt

With federal student loans, there are multiple payment plans available:

•   Standard repayment plan: This is the default repayment plan, which lasts 10 years. Borrowers will typically pay less interest over time on the standard plan versus other repayment plans. However, it may not be a good choice if you’re interested in getting your loans discharged through Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

•   Graduated repayment plan: With this plan, payments start low and increase every two years. This can help students who don’t earn a lot now but expect their income to increase. However, you’ll pay more interest over time with this plan than if you stuck with the standard repayment plan.

•   Extended repayment plan: Payments can be made during a period of up to 25 years. This can help lower monthly payment amounts, but students will pay back more interest over the life of the loan than those who use the standard or graduated repayment plans.

•   Income-driven repayment plan (IDR): There are four different IDR plans, which cap student loan payments at a percentage of the borrower’s income. These plans can be a good choice for borrowers who are seeking loan forgiveness, but they will typically pay more interest overall than under the standard plan.

To pay off student loans more quickly, one option is to put extra money toward student loans each month through larger or additional payments. By paying more toward the principal balance, you won’t just pay off your loan faster. You’ll also reduce the total amount of interest paid over the life of the loan, saving you money in the long run. It’s a good idea to contact the lender or loan servicer to ensure that any extra payments are applied to the principal as intended.

Alternatively, you could pursue certain loan forgiveness programs, such as PSLF or Teacher Loan Forgiveness.

Recommended: 7 Tips to Lower Your Student Loan Payments

Refinancing Student Loans – Pros and Cons

Another option to consider is to refinancing student loans. There are pros and cons to that strategy you’ll want to consider.

Advantages of refinancing student loans include the following:

•   Loans can be combined into one single loan and payment, which can be easier to manage.

•   You may get a lower interest rate. If you have good credit and a solid income, you may qualify for a better rate, which could help reduce what you pay over the life of the loan. You can see what you might save by using a student loan refinancing calculator.

•   Some private lenders, including SoFi, will consolidate federal and private student loans and refinance them into one loan.

•   The term length can be adjusted. A longer repayment term can help to lower the monthly payment (though you may pay more interest over the life of the loan if you refinance with an extended term), while a shorter one can help to reduce the total amount of interest paid back over the life of the loan.

Disadvantages of refinancing include:

•   Refinancing federal student loans with a private lender means that borrowers will lose access to benefits associated with federal student loans, including income-driven repayment options and loan forgiveness programs.

•   Other federal protections that will no longer apply, including deferment and forbearance, which allow payments to be temporarily reduced or paused.

•   Most federal student loans have a six-month grace period, during which you don’t have to make any loan payments. If you refinance your loan soon after graduation, you might lose out on that benefit if your private lender doesn’t offer a grace period.

The Takeaway

It’s important to know your student loan account number, which can be found on your federal loan statements or online.

This 10-digit number can be used to access loan information, use other lender services and apps, and help you figure out a payment plan.

You may also need your student loan account number when applying for a credit card or other loan, and if you decide to refinance your student loan.

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.


With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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