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Paying off student loans? Read how Ellen paid her 10-year loans in only six years

Paying more than the minimum on your student loans is one of the most frequent tips we receive from customers who have successfully paid off their loans. That’s for good reason. A little extra can make a big difference.

Take Ellen, for example. After finishing her master’s degree, she immediately started paying $50 more than the minimum amount due on her student loans each month. At times, Ellen says she had to lower her monthly payment when her budget was stretched. Yet, she still remained committed to always paying more than the minimum. As a result, Ellen was able to pay off her 10-year student loans in six years.

It’s no wonder Ellen was able to cut her repayment time by four years. By demonstrating Navient’s five habits of successful borrowers, Ellen was able to ensure she was always on the path to paying off her student loans.

If you need help, contact your loan servicer. At Navient, we work closely with borrowers to help them explore repayment options, including options that base payments on income.

Below is Ellen’s inspiring advice to other student loan borrowers:

The day I finished my master’s degree, I made a promise to myself that I would devote as much as possible per month to my student loans to pay them off as quickly as possible. I had spent the previous five and a half years spending someone else’s money to obtain that education, and now I had to use it to begin my path of being able to take care of myself and get out of debt.

My parents did not have the means to pay for my education, so I needed to learn how to do it myself. I used my starting salary out of school and my bills (at the time) to budget how much I could devote to my loans. I determined that I was able to pay approximately $50 more per month than my required minimum monthly payment, so I rounded up and determined that I would pay that amount every month, just like any other monthly bill, until they were gone.

A lot of things happen in your first five years out of college that you never expect (marriages, divorces, family emergencies, relocations, job changes, etc.) and they can make your loans difficult to keep up with. As a financial professional, I knew it was going to be worth my time, effort, and money to bargain shop some months so that I could keep my promise to myself. Some months I had to lower the amount I paid due to other financial needs, but I still always paid more than the required payment. This technique allowed me to pay my 10-year student loans in six years, to the day.

Your student loans affect your credit so never ever let them get behind. When you go to buy a house or car, your loan officers will know what you’ve paid and what you haven’t. Prioritize your student loans like your light or water bill. When determining what your living expenses are out of school, try to factor in a payment that is over your minimum and require yourself to stick to that payment (if not higher over time). Even an extra $10 per month will go a long way to paying your loan off sooner than planned. If you run into trouble or otherwise have an issue with your payments, don’t be afraid to reach out to your loan service company. They are always willing to help make the process easier on you.

-Ellen, North Carolina

For more customer stories and personal advice, visit our customer tips page.

Nick LaMastra is a media analyst for Navient, a student loan servicer helping more than 12 million customers successfully repay their student loans.

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