When
Student
Loans

Pay Off

More than 70% of grads leave today’s 4-year colleges with student loans.

By comparison, less than half of students graduated with loans in 1994. As student debt continues to skyrocket, what financial burdens do recent grads face?

Whether paying off aggressively, tackling the minimum due, or somewhere in between, how much money should you try to make and how long might it take to pay off your loans? It might seem dismal now, but paying off your loans and starting to accrue a net worth might not take as long as you think.

We crunched the numbers and generated data based on the following 3 payment scenarios, using an average 2014 $33,000 loan with 4.66% interest and payments amounting to 20% of your discretionary income. How quickly do you think you’ll be able to pay off your student loans?

 OUTSTANDING STUDENT LOAN BALANCE
 PROJECTED SALARY  
Monthly Payment
$211.64
Total Interest Paid
$17,792
Earnings Needed
$30,203
You can make more than you owe in 5-6 years
You can make more than you owe in 5-6 years
Monthly Payment
$344.56
Total Interest Paid
$8,347
Earnings Needed
$38,178
You can make more than you owe in 5-6 years

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*Salary projections are derived from the minimum "Earnings Needed" from the New York Times Student Loan Repayment Calculator and assume a 4% annual average growth rate based on inflation and conservative salary increases across multiple industries.

SOURCES: Payment information generated from the New York Times Student Loan Repayment Calculator; Mark Kantrowitz analysis of National Center for Education Statistics data via WSJ.com, and Staffordloan.com. Image source.