Tips for Your Student Loan Payment

Recent grad contemplating the burden of his student loan payment

College graduation can bring both excitement and anxiety for students gearing up for the next stage of life. Many are starting their professional careers with an overwhelming amount of debt and a burdensome monthly student loan payment. In this guest blog post from our friends at Ohio Credit Union League, you’ll get a picture of what some averages look like for borrowers and what you can do to ease the obligation of student loan payments.

The average student graduates with $30,000 in student loan debt for a four-year degree, according to U.S. News & World Reports. That creates an enormous amount of stress for an individual just starting an entry-level position.

In addition, it takes 20 years on average to pay off educational debt, according to the Educational Data Initiative. One in five U.S. adults, or forty-five million, have outstanding student loan debt, with many carrying that financial burden into their forties. With the average monthly student loan payment estimated at $500, it can be difficult to achieve goals such as buying a home, raising a family, and saving for the future. An emergency student loan forbearance program enacted in 2020 during the pandemic provided a two-year reprieve on interest and payments, but that program ended in September 2023, and budgeting around a student loan payment has been the norm again in 2024.

Six Tips to Deal with Student Loan Debt:

Here are a few tips to help you pay down debt and reach your financial goals sooner:

• Pay more each month. If your budget allows, increase the minimum payment. A higher amount in your student loan payment will chip away at the principal, which means less interest owed in the long run.

• Sign up for automatic debit. You can reduce your interest rate by 0.25 percent when you opt for this feature, which allows your student loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly loan payment from your bank account. Just be sure you have the funds to cover the transaction so you don’t incur fees for insufficient funds from your financial institution.

• Make biweekly payments. When you pay half of your loan bill every two weeks instead of one full monthly student loan payment, you end up paying an extra payment each year, which reduces your repayment schedule.

• Use a cash windfall. If you receive extra money from a tax refund, inheritance, settlement, or work bonus, use part — if not all – of it to make a lump sum payment on your loan.

• Student loan forgiveness. Considering a job change? In today’s competitive environment, employers are adding attractive perks to draw top talent. Certain jobs, such as public service work, teaching, or the military, might pay for part or all your student loans.

• Refinance. Consolidating and refinancing your loans can help pay off loans faster if you have good credit and a secure job. Credit unions typically offer lower interest rates on loans, so research rates for debt consolidation loans in your area, as this may reduce the monthly budget burden of your student loan payment.

To learn more about credit unions in your community and what financial assistance they offer, visit