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Student Loan Calculator

Oct 05, 2023

Using a student loan calculator can help you create a student loan repayment strategy that’s right for you. With some basic information about your existing or prospective student loans, the Bankrate student loan calculator can show your estimated monthly payment based on the length of your repayment term. Additionally, it will show you how much interest you’ll pay overall. Simply enter the details of your student loan into the calculator below to see your personalized results.

What you need to know for this calculator

To use the calculator above, you’ll need certain details about your loan.

Loan amount

Loan amounts vary depending on whether you’re exploring a federal or private student loan. The loan amount you’re offered might also be limited based on your academic year (freshman, sophomore, etc.), level of education (undergraduate, graduate or professional), dependency status and degree.

Federal student loan amounts

Undergraduate students:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans: Up to $5,500 annually.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Up to $12,500 annually.

Graduate students:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Up to $20,500 annually.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: Up to the school’s reported cost of attendance, minus other financial aid received.

Parents of dependent undergraduate students:

  • Parent PLUS loans: Up to the school’s reported cost of attendance, minus other financial aid received.

Private student loan amounts

Loan amounts for private student loans vary by lender. Each lender also sets its own borrowing criteria, interest rates and repayment terms. In general, private student loan lenders offer loan amounts that cover the gap between a school’s cost of attendance and any other financial aid a student receives. Some lenders also impose lifetime borrowing limits, which may be up to $150,000 or more, depending on your degree. Regardless of whether you borrow federal or private student loans, borrow only the amount you need per school year after exhausting all grant and scholarship options. If you must take out loans to finance educational gaps, consider maximizing federal student loan limits before turning to a private student loan, as federal student loans come with additional benefits like income-driven repayment plans and forgiveness programs.

Loan term

Your loan term is the amount of time you have to repay the loan in full. For federal student loans under a standard repayment plan, the default loan term is 10 years. However, student loans that are under an alternative payment plan offer terms from 10 to 25 years. Like private student loan amounts, private student loan repayment terms vary by lender. Terms for private student loans can be as short as five years and as long as 20 years. A shorter loan term can help you save more money on interest charges during your repayment period but result in a larger monthly payment. Some lenders offer lower interest rates as an incentive for a short term length. On the flip side, a longer term for your student loans will lower your monthly payment but will accumulate more interest charges over time. Before borrowing student loans, make sure you know all of the term options your lender offers so you can choose the right path for your financial needs.

Interest rate

The interest rate you're offered depends on the type of lender you're pursuing and your financial picture. Federal student loans come with fixed rates and offer the same interest rate to all borrowers, regardless of credit score or income. Private student loans, on the other hand, will often do a credit check and set interest rates according to your creditworthiness. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rates. Keep in mind that the lowest interest rates advertised on lender websites may not be available to you. To find out what interest rates you'll receive, take advantage of lenders' pre-qualification features, if available. Pre-qualification allows you to input basic details about yourself and your desired loan in exchange for a snapshot of the rates and terms offered.

Additional factors to consider when calculating student loan interest

When calculating your student loan interest, keep in mind that there are a few other key factors at play:

  • Fixed vs. variable rates.  Unlike federal student loans, which offer only fixed interest rates, some private lenders offer fixed or variable student loan interest rates. A fixed rate won’t change during your loan term, but variable rates can decrease or increase based on market conditions.
  • Term length.  How short or long your student loan term is dramatically changes how much total interest you’ll pay. In addition to calculating your total interest paid, the student loan calculator above shows you how much of your monthly payment goes toward interest; to see this view, click on “show amortization schedule.”
  • Credit score.  Private student loans require a credit check. The stronger your credit, the more likely you’ll be offered competitive, low interest rates. Borrowers shopping for bad credit student loans might be approved at a higher interest rate, which means more money spent on interest charges overall.

What’s next?

Students who need to borrow a student loan for the upcoming school year should always compare a handful of loan options. Examine interest rates, repayment terms and borrower perks between various lenders before making a decision.

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