October 15, 2019

How Much Will My Student Loan Payments Be?

Read more about Student Loans

Average student loan debt is around $35,000. But the type of loan, interest rate, and other factors will determine how much they'll actually cost. See an estimate of how much you can expect to pay each month.

Standard Repayment Plan

Standard repayment plans cover a range of student loan scenarios, such as federal student loans, unsubsidized graduate loans, and Direct PLUS loans.

However, these plans all start with a minimum payment of $50.00 and a 120-month (10-year) repayment period.

Keep reading to see just how much you'll pay.

Federal Direct Student Loan

The average interest rate federal Direct student loan is 4.5%. At 4.5% interest, here's how much you'll pay for:

Loan AmountRepayment PlanAverage Monthly Payment
$30,00010 Years$311
$60,00010 Years$622
$70,00010 Years$725
$100,00010 Years$1,036

Interest rates can make a huge difference over the life of your loan. With a 120-month repayment period for a loan debt of $70,000, you'll pay:

$17,056 in interest with a 4.5% rate
$20,125 in interest with a 5.25% rate

That's $3,069 more in interest alone over the life of the loan.


An unsubsidized loan begins to accrue interest the day the loan is made. This means interest is charged during all phases of the student loan, including in-school periods and grace periods, as well as during deferment and forbearance periods.

The average interest rate is 6.0% for an unsubsidized graduate student loan. At 6.0% interest, here's how much you'll pay for:

Loan AmountRepayment PlanAverage Monthly Payment
$30,00010 Years$333
$60,00010 Years$666
$70,00010 Years$777
$100,00010 Years$1,110

When calculating repayment amounts for any student loan, outstanding accrued interest must be included in the equation. For example:

The principal balance on loan is $30,000

The outstanding interest is $984

Calculate payments based on sum of principal balance + outstanding interest = $30,984

Notice the difference in monthly payment calculation with/without outstanding interest of $984:

  • Monthly payments for $30,000 loans at 6.0% interest rate are $333
  • Monthly payments for $30,984 loans at 6.0% interest rate are $344


Direct PLUS unsubsidized student loans are for the parents of students or for graduate professional students. The average interest rate is 7.0%.

At that rate, here's how much you'll pay for:

Loan AmountRepayment Plan YearsAverage Monthly Payment
$30,00010 Years$348
$60,00010 Years$697
$70,00010 Years$813
$100,00010 Years$1,161


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If you have Federal Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loans (Stafford, Federal PLUS Loans, and Federal Consolidation Loans), you may qualify for an income-based repayment plan.

Your monthly repayment amount on an income-based repayment plan is calculated based on a percentage of your discretionary income plus an average weighted interest rate. That means the cost may fluctuate over the life of your loan.

Here's an estimate based on a family size of one with a $30,000 loan on a 25-year repayment term:

Since income-based repayment plans are not based on how much you owe, the monthly payment calculations remain the same for student loans with $60,000, $70,000, and $100,000 principal balances.

  • Interest Rate 5.7%, Discretionary Income $25,000
    You may qualify for an income-based monthly repayment amount of $86. The total balance paid over the life of the loan is $55,272.

  • Interest Rate 5.7%, Discretionary Income $30,000
    You may qualify for an income-based monthly repayment amount of $149. The total balance paid over the life of the loan is $68,244.

The remaining balance on a student loan is forgiven after 25 years of payments on income-driven plans. That means income has a drastic impact with these types of loans—you'll pay $63 more a month in the second example—or $12,972 more over the full course of the loan.

Bottom Line

Interest rates have a big impact on your student loans. Whether you are looking at standard repayment or repayment options that may include refinancing, remember to shop for the lowest rate to ensure you pay less over the life of your student loans.

More from CreditDonkey:

Best Student Loan Refinance

How Do Student Loans Work

Pay Off Student Loans Fast

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Do Student Loans Affect Credit

Student loans will affect your credit score. But that's not always a bad thing. Read on to learn the positive and negative ways that student loans can impact your credit.

About CreditDonkey®
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