Options for paying back private student loans are set by each lender, so it's important to understand the repayment process before you take out your loan. Our Loan Payment Calculator can help you estimate your monthly payments and decide what you can afford to borrow.
Private Loan Repayment Period
Repayment periods for private student loans are typically 7-15 years. Some lenders offer extended repayment periods of up to 30 years, depending on the amount of debt. Loans with fixed interest rates usually have shorter repayment periods than loans with variable interest rates.
Student Loan Repayment Plans
Private student loan lenders may offer several plans to choose from. Here are some common examples:
|Repayment Plan Type||Description||Benefits / Drawbacks|
|Immediate Repayment||You start making principal and interest payments immediately after the loan is fully disbursed.||
|Interest-Only||You make interest-only payments while you are in school, and start making principal and interest payments after you leave school or drop below half time.||
|Fixed||You make low fixed monthly payments, typically $25 per loan per month, while you are in school, and start making regular principal and interest payments after you leave school or drop below half time.||
|Full Deferment||You make no payments while you are in school at least half time. You start making principal and interest payments approximately six months after you leave school.||
If you're having trouble making your private student loan payments, your lender may offer a program that can help. (Some examples appear below.) Contact your lender immediately to find out what may be available.
Private Student Loan Forbearance
Many lenders will offer reduced or delayed payments during a short-term period if you experience a financial difficulty. You will need to contact your lender to explain your circumstances, and you should be prepared to do so in writing (or sign an official forbearance request form). A partial forbearance allows you to make interest-only payments for a period of time determined by your lender.
Death and Disability Discharges
Some lenders will discharge a private student loan in the event the primary borrower becomes totally and permanently disabled. In addition, many lenders will forgive any unpaid balance in the event of the primary borrower's death.
Private Student Loan Refinance
You can refinance your private student loans to extend your loan term, possibly qualify for a lower interest rate or release a cosigner. Start your search by comparing student loan refinancing lenders.