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Student Loans

Student Loan Comparison Calculator

Student Loan Information

Student Loan Balance
5 year Interest Rate (APR)
10 Year Interest Rate (APR)
15 Year Interest Rate (APR)
20 Year Interest Rate (APR)
25 Year Interest Rate (APR)

Calculator Results

Monthly Payment Total Interest Paid Total Cost of Loan
5 Year Loan
10 Year Loan
15 Year Loan
20 Year Loan
25 Year Loan

A student loan balance will have a monthly payment that ranges from $226 to $677 per month. The total cost of the loan will range from $40,599 to $67,652, including total interest ranging from $5,599 to $32,652. The monthly payment, interest paid, and total cost of the loan will vary depending on the term length of the loan. Shorter term lengths will have higher monthly payments, but you will pay less in interest over the life of the loan. Longer term lengths will have lower monthly payments, but you will pay more in interest over the life of the loan.

To use our loan comparison calculator, enter your loan balance and the interest rates that accompany each optional term. The calculator will populate your expected monthly payments, as well as the total interest paid, for each borrowing scenario.

If you already have a student loan, you may want to review our student loan refinance calculator or one of our other student loan calculators we have. These can help you determine loan payments under income-based repayment (IBR) or how much student loan interest you can deduct on your taxes.

Why use a student loan comparison calculator?

With a bevy of student loan options, you have plenty to consider before choosing which lender to work with—a partnership that can last at least a decade. Those who have finished school may have a variety of student loan refinancing options to choose from.

The most important variables are the loan term and the interest rate. They’ll determine how affordable a loan will be in the long run.

This student loan comparison calculator can make complex calculations easy, helping you identify loan options that work best with your financial needs.

Variables that determine the cost of a loan

How much a student loan costs depends on a variety of factors, including the total balance of the loan, the interest rate, and the loan term. Those variables work together to affect the total cost of the loan—the amount borrowed plus accrued interest—and your monthly payment amount.

Interest rates

When borrowing, the interest rate is often the first factor you should consider. It will play a vital role in determining how affordable a loan is. The interest rate is a specific percentage of the loan you pay to the lender or the “cost” of the loan.  

Federal student loans have standardized, fixed interest rates set by the U.S. Department of Education and that apply to all federal student loan borrowers.

For example, the current interest rate on a Direct Subsidized Loan will is 5.05% for the life of the loan. This rate will not change unless the loan is refinanced or consolidated.

Private student loans, including refinance loans, can have fixed interest rates or variable rates, which can fluctuate based on the market. Private lenders set their own fixed and variable student loan rates, so they vary based on a variety of factors, including the lender’s policies and your credit score (or that of a cosigner, if applicable).

Term length

The term of a loan, or how long it takes to repay the loan, tends to have a massive impact on how much your loan will cost. Because loans accrue interest, the longer you take to pay a loan, the more expensive the loan will be.  

Using our student loan comparison calculator, it’s easy to see that a $30,000 student loan with an interest rate of 5.05% will cost $34,009, with a $567 monthly payment and an interest total of $4,009 if paid within five years.

That same loan with a 20-year term will have a much lower monthly payment—$176— but the total cost of the loan will be $52,876 with an accrued interest of $22,876.

Origination fees

Origination fees also alter the total loan amount. Lenders charge origination fees for processing the loan. This is an upfront cost taken out of the total approved loan amount.        

Federal student loan origination fees

Federal student loans always come with an origination fee.  Current origination fees are 1.06% for Direct Unsubsidized and Direct Subsidized Loans and 4.228% for PLUS loans.  

Private student loan origination fees

Private student loan lenders set their own rates and fees, so origination fees for a student loan will vary by lender. Many lenders entice borrowers by offering loans without origination fees.

Determine the student loan that’s right for you

As you consider loan options and use the student loan calculator to review various borrowing scenarios, it’s important to consider your current and future finances.

Borrowers who can make the larger monthly payments that often accompany shorter terms should try to do so to reduce the total cost of the loan.

However, it’s equally important to ensure an affordable monthly payment. Failure to make payments can result in financial troubles, some of which can harm your personal credit score and ability to secure future loans, from car loans to mortgages.

If you’re uncertain how much you can pay, consider a longer-term loan, which will give you the comfort of lower payments and the opportunity to make larger payments when possible.