Compare Student Loan Repayment Plans With Our Student Loan Calculator

Loan RepaymentTips for Success8 minutes

Figuring out which student loan repayment plan is right for you is a little easier with Loan Simulator, our student loan repayment calculator. The tool helps you review different student loan repayment plans and compare estimated monthly payments, total paid over time, and more. Under some income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, including the new Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan, your monthly payment could be as low as $0.

Note: The Loan Simulator can’t calculate exactly how much in student loans you’re eligible for. For that, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. You can also use the Federal Student Estimator to estimate your potential student aid.

Loan Simulator can help you check which student loan repayment plans you’re eligible for, whether you want to

Keep in mind, this tool can’t predict your future payments with 100% accuracy. In order to make these predictions, Loan Simulator makes several assumptions as it calculates monthly repayment amounts.

Check out the following highlights of how to use Loan Simulator.

Compare Repayment Results for Different Plans

On the Loan Simulator landing page, you can choose between three paths based on your situation. You can log in to preload some of your information, or you can start from scratch.

Is your goal to pay off your loans as quickly as possible or to keep your monthly payment as low as possible? Is it to lower your total amount paid over time or to pay off your loans by a certain date? Don’t have a goal yet? That’s okay! We can still recommend a plan for you.

To get loan recommendations for your situation, we’ll ask you a few questions that will help us provide you with more accurate results. After you confirm your existing loan information, we’ll show you a recommended repayment plan.

In addition to information about your loans, you must include your income in order for any IDR plans (including the SAVE Plan) to appear in your Loan Simulator results.

The results page shows our recommended plan for you. It displays your estimated monthly payment, paid off date, and estimated forgiveness amount.

Then, you’ll get the chance to compare up to three repayment plans to view side-by-side estimates for your

  • monthly payment,
  • interest amount,
  • total to be paid,
  • payoff date, and
  • forgiveness amount, if applicable.
You can select up to three plans to compare side by side. You can easily compare each plan’s monthly payment amount, total to be paid, pay off date, and estimated forgiveness amount.

You can skip guided questions and use the sidebar to enter information quickly and to experiment with changing your repayment goals and other options.

Select different scenarios in the sidebar to see different recommended plans. Choose to use your existing loan data, loan data for a specific school, or national loan data. You can also include your spouse’s loans.

Just keep in mind that the date you’d pay off your loans and your estimated loan forgiveness amount may vary based on whether you’re enrolled in Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or are already in repayment with other programs.

And if you aren’t enrolled in a program like PSLF already, don’t worry—we offer “Other Options to Consider” along the way so you don’t miss out on opportunities you may benefit from. This includes how you can pay less interest and what to do if your monthly payment is still unaffordable on the recommended plan.

We show you other options to consider, such as how to pay less interest by signing up for auto pay or how to see other options if the monthly payment shown is still too much.

Use Your Results To Take Action

On the results page, you can see our recommended plan and a couple others that might work for you based on the goal you’ve set. You’ll also see a slider bar on the “Want to Pay Off Your Loans Faster?” option. This slider allows you to see how an extra amount per month or an extra one-time payment can reduce your total amount paid and bring your payoff date closer.

Use the slider function to see how your results change if you pay extra on your student loans.

The repayment plans that meet your goals will be tagged with indicators (such as “Lowest Monthly Payment”). You’ll also see your total amount paid, payoff date, the first and last monthly payment (for some plans, such as an IDR plan, which will change over time), and more.

Change your repayment goal using the sidebar to see how it affects the results shown for the recommended repayment plan.

Then, you can learn how to apply for the suggested plans on the results page or, in some cases, apply right from the page.

Consider Loan Forgiveness or Loan Consolidation

Loan Simulator can not only estimate loan forgiveness amounts based on your repayment plan and personal circumstances but also let you know if loan forgiveness isn’t available under certain plans or loan types and why.

Adjust personal information in the sidebar of the results page to see how the estimated forgiveness amount may change in your recommended plan, if applicable.

You might see discrepancies in Loan Simulator if you

  • recently filled out an IDR application through your loan servicer,
  • have been working toward PSLF, or  
  • receive the 0.25% interest rate reduction for using auto pay.

Loan Simulator does not account for your past payments, so keep that in mind when viewing estimated loan terms under repayment plans. 

In order to qualify for some repayment plans and/or for PSLF, you may need to first consolidate your loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan. If that’s the case, Loan Simulator will let you know. A Direct Consolidation Loan replaces one or more existing federal student loans with a single new loan with one monthly payment.

You can find the best consolidation option and see what your recommended repayment plan and results would be if you consolidated, including your monthly payment and payoff date.

If we recommend consolidating, you’ll get the option to go straight to the Direct Consolidation Loan Application directly from Loan Simulator.

Loan Simulator shows you each repayment plan's monthly payment, estimated total to be paid, paid off date, and estimated forgiveness amount. Apply for consolidation from the page.

Loan Simulator also allows you to see if consolidating your loans would be beneficial for you based on your goals. That means we may recommend that you consider not consolidating based on the information you told us, too. 

Simulate Paying More or Pausing Payments

If your circumstances change, you can see what impact making additional payments would have on your principal and interest paid over the life of your student loans.

If you ever struggle to make payments, Loan Simulator can help you estimate the impact of pausing payments under a forbearance or deferment. Choose specific periods of time and see how a payment pause could affect your principal paid, interest paid, and monthly payment.

You can see the impact of pausing your student loan payments for different amounts of time. These impacts include the increase to your principal balance, interest accrued, and monthly payment.

Loan Simulator can also help you find out if you’d be eligible for $0 monthly payments on an IDR plan.

The best thing to do if you’re struggling with payments is to go back to the Loan Simulator home page and select “I’m Struggling With My Student Loan Payments.”

If you’re considering going back to school or are currently in school, you can use Loan Simulator to simulate borrowing more money by selecting “I Want to Simulate Borrowing More.” You’ll be able to see how much more aid you may be eligible for based on federal loan limits and how close you are to reaching that limit.

In the “Simulate Borrowing More” results, you’ll get a graph showing your balance over time, the interest you accrue per day, and your new principal if you borrowed more money for school.

Want more information on Loan Simulator? Watch this walkthrough of Loan Simulator for a screen-by-screen play of how to get the most out of this federal student loan calculator.