Should You Pay Down Your Student Loans While In College?

In college, you are working hard towards a degree that will shape your career. Though, besides your career, there are other accomplishments waiting in your future, your first home, potential wedding bells, and more. In order to reach your future dreams, you may want to start paying down your student loans while you are still in college to come out ahead post-graduation.

Pros of Repaying in College

Pay Off Debt Faster

The earlier you start, the sooner they will be paid off. By starting to pay down your student loans, you will get a head start on your payments while saving money on interest. If you have unsubsidized federal student loans or private loans, interest is accruing while you are in school. You don’t have to make payments since these loans are in deferment and won’t hurt your credit score, but you may end up paying more in the long run. Choosing to pay down your student debt while you are in college could save you hundreds of dollars. Plus, you can deduct the student loan interest you pay down from your taxes next year!

Lower Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

After college, you have your whole life ahead of you! You don’t have to wait until graduation day to start preparing for your bigger dreams. If you have future goals to drive a new vehicle or settle down in a home of your own, you need to be able to afford it. Many people have issues acquiring loans due to their debt-to-income ratio, which is a percentage calculated by dividing your total debt by your gross income (before taxes). Drowning in too much debt could put a hold on your future and cause financial stress. Reduce your post-graduate financial stress by developing good financial habits now.

Cons of Repaying in College


To pay down your debt, you need extra income. Earning extra income requires working a side hustle or part-time job. While having some extra money to pay down your debt will be great in the long run, it could take you away from your studies. Remember: the primary reason you are at college is to prepare for your future career and earn a degree.

More Stress

Trying to make a payment on your student loans, may be too much to add to your plate, right now. In college, you have classes, homework, studying, extra-curricular activities, and a social life. Adding a job to your schedule may cause more stress and affect your physical or mental health. Your loans are deferred and there is no penalty for not making payments toward your student debt while you are in school. But, if you are up for the juggling act of classes, a social life, and a job, you will save money in the long run.

How to Pay Your Student Loans

  1. Find your loan servicer. Your loans are serviced by companies like Sallie Mae, Nelnet, and Aidvantage. You can find your loan servicer by visiting the National Student Loan Data System. You will need your FASFA ID to log in.
  2. Pick a loan to start paying down. To save money in the long run, pay down high-interest loans first.
  3. Choose how much to pay. Remember, you are in college, so do not overdo it. Make sure you can still pay monthly bills, gas, groceries, and other real-time essentials.
  4. Set up automatic payments. To take the mental load off and make extra payments by linking your bank account. You can choose how much and how often to pay, and your bank will automatically transfer the money for you.

Getting ahead before school is out can be a great way to get ahead in your future. Ultimately, the choice is yours!