Sep 20 · 2 min read
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When it comes to paying off your federal student loans, you will have to choose a repayment plan. The plan you choose will determine your monthly payment amount, how many years it will take you to pay off the loan, and how much total interest you will pay over the life of the loan.
Standard, Extended, and Graduated repayment plans are the most common plans, so let’s look at how they work.
Standard repayment plans require you to make the same monthly payment for 10 years. With this plan, you will generally pay the least amount of total interest.
Extended repayment plans also require you to make the same monthly payment but for 25 years instead of 10. While this plan lowers your monthly payment amount, it will cost you more interest over time.
This repayment plan is also only available to borrowers with $30,000 or more in federal student loans.
If you prefer to ease into your student loan monthly payments instead of having one fixed payment, you’ll want a Graduated repayment plan. Graduated repayment plans require a lower monthly payment at first but gradually increase around every two years.
Because you are allowed to choose to either pay your loan in 10 or 25 years, Graduated repayment plans are often referred to as Standard Graduated or Extended Graduated repayment plans.
A Standard Graduated plan will gradually increase your monthly payments until you pay off your student loan within 10 years while an Extended Graduated plan will instead gradually increase your monthly payments until you pay off your loan in 25 years.
Regardless of whether you choose a Standard Graduated or an Extended Graduated plan, over time you’ll pay more in interest than the traditional Standard or Extended plans. This is because when you start your Graduated repayment plan, most of your monthly payments will go towards the interest only and not the principal.
Although you are required to select a repayment plan when you first start repaying your student loans, you can also switch plans at any time for free. Lenders often allow you to make this change directly on their websites. If not, give your lender a call and request a repayment plan change.
Ultimately, if you want to repay your student loans whyzely, you’ll need to choose a repayment plan that fits your financial situation and costs you the least amount of money over time. If you can afford the Standard repayment plan, go for it. This plan will cost you the least amount in interest. Also remember, if your financial situation changes, you can switch your repayment plan at no charge.