2013 Challenge Week 2: Understand Your Student Loan Payment

Use this handy student loan payment calculator to estimate your monthly student loan payments:

Remember, this is only an estimate to give you some idea of what your monthly payment might be once you have completed your college education. Also, most student loans require a minimum monthly payment no matter the size of the loan, so be sure to check with your lender.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to compare your monthly student loan payments to your expected starting salary when all your hard work pays off with that degree! You’ll want to keep your loan payment to less than 10 percent of your monthly salary in order to comfortably afford them.

Here is a link to some good information from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics on wages by occupation. Pick the occupation you are interested in and then you can search nationally or by specific state/region.  It may take a few clicks, but once you find the annual wages as for the job you think you might qualify for (the 10th percentile is a good proxy for starting salary instead of the median annual wage), simply divide by 12 to get the monthly rate. Then, just multiply by 10%.

For example, a Computer Support Specialist might expect a starting salary of about $29,000, or $2,417 per month. Ten percent of that monthly total is $242, so you’ll want to keep your expected loan payments at or below this level.

Don’t forget to post a comment about what you learned right here on One For Your Money to be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift card*!

What Should I Know About Student Loans?


  • If you take out a student loan, your school is required to provide you with both Entrance and Exit Counseling so you understand the loan terms and your rights and responsibilities.
  • Student loans must be repaid, even if you do not finish your degree, are unable to find a job, or are not satisfied with your education.
  • Think carefully about much you borrow to attend college.  The amount of money you owe may affect your lifestyle after your leave school.
  • Your actual monthly loan payment is determined by the loan holder.
  • Most private loans are credit-based loans and the interest you pay is based on how good your credit is; the better your credit, the lower your interest rate.
  • Always make your loan payments on time.
  • There are several federal loan forgiveness and income-contingent programs available which you may be eligible for.


*Details and official rules here


Recommended Posts
Showing 22 comments
  • stephanie.bluth@shsu.edu

    I learned that my lender determines my monthly loan payment but I should be able to look at getting a better interest rate.

  • kateykoceski

    From this post I have learned that when being given loan, your school has to tell you entry and exit requirements although sometimes they do not. I also did not know that your loan holder determines your monthly payment. Loans are confusing because the monthly payments may seem low, but in the end with interest is where they hit you. I had no idea that loans had to be paid back even if you quit school.

  • kgilman

    I learned to calculate my loan payments, to think carefully about the amount I borrow to attend school, and that the money I owe could very well affect my life style once I left school. Furthermore, I learned that there are several federal loan forgiveness and income –contingent programs available that I may be eligible. I also learned some good information from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics on wages by occupation because of the link provided.
    Thank you and many blessings
    Kim Gilman

  • docplove

    OH NO!! I just saw how much money I will be paying each month separately on my loans….I am going to have to consider consolidating my loans but only 2 are at 6.8% and the others are at 3.4%. I don’t care too much about the interest rates as much as I care about having 6 different payments. Thanks to this calculator, I saw visually how messed up I will be paying different payments to the SAME service provider. Time to get that process going…THANKS HIGHERONE!!!

  • faybaby78@hotmail.com

    I learn that my monthly payment is low because of the lenght of the loan is so long. I will now increase my payments and seek a lower interest rate.

  • katiekmm2005@aim.com

    I learned to calculate my loan payments, to think carefully about the amount I borrow to attend school, and that the money I owe could well affect my life style once I left school.

  • bordweld7460

    Wow! This was very interesting. I knew when I took out my first loan that it would be expensive to repay. Going to school is a great tool for anyone and everyone. I am 56 years young and i love taking my online classes. My daughter has already completed her schooling and when I am finished she has plans to open her own daycare. Paying back my school loans will and should be no problem once the daycare is up and running. Yes there are some programs out there that do not need to be repaid but the Stafford Loans do and this is something that each student should always check on before they go taking out loans. I would like to thank the Governnment for allowing me my student loans to go back to school.

  • whitetigerz79

    I learned to calculate my loan payments. I also learned that there are several federal loan forgiveness and income-contingent programs available.

  • yvetteg94

    I haven’t had a loan yet but I think I understand this. The amount of the loan plus the interest will be your total by the time your whole loan is paid off. The amount you pay a month should be no more than 10% of how much you make and is also determined by your loan term. No matter what it must be repaid. But there are ways to help with paying them off. So you have to make sure and be careful what you borrow. Your school must also get you help completely understand what you need to know about loans.

  • dnsmadrigal

    I learned I need to work on getting a better interest rate and the loan holder in in charge of your monthly payment

  • fcarrillo

    I have had to review the legal aspects of a student including SAP requirements. It is very important that the student who is using Financial Aid understand any issue of due process if a problem emerges. It is necessary to ask all the questions to understand the legal and garnishment issues that can happen if financial aid is misused or not understood.

  • shaunmkyser

    I definitely learned to be careful how much you apply for. Don’t apply for a loan in excess of what you need as it will effect you after you graduate in the long run.

  • Treavor

    I learned that I need to really focus on getting my degree so I can be able to pay my student loans! This calculator reminded me that if I do not get my desired degree and job I wont be able to pay my loans off.

  • nicoletta0607

    I calculated my current student loans, and added the student loans I’m about to take out for more schooling, and decided I needed to do something about this interest!
    These tools are so helpful when working with the right numbers and percentages, so be sure to check out your terms! Borrowing loans really comes down to having the knowledge of the rates, the amount borrowed and the repayment terms. This calculator really makes it easy to see your payments/interest/and fees broken down, so you know exactly what your getting into-or in many cases- trying to get out of!

  • shdwnightcrawler

    I learned that I’ll want to keep my loan payments to less than 10 percent of my monthly salary in order to comfortably afford them.

  • tomzabob

    Calculator helped

  • joline

    It’s pretty simple by this article that you should pay the least amount of money back when you get out of college.. :)

  • pjrileynow

    I found the Student Loan calculator to be extremely helpful. I am in the process of setting up a workable budget for the near future to start paying on my loans even though I am still in school; it made it easy to calculate the numbers.

  • abbrit9439

    I learned that the interest rate of the loan is just horrible. I also learned that I will have to pay back a lot more than I thought. with this being said I will defiantly need to finish my degree and find work asap!

  • mwilliams36

    I’ve learned that there are federal loan forgiveness and income-contingent programs available. These will definitely help me pay back my loans. This will also motivate me to finish my degree to get a job to help me pay back these loans. I will also consolidate my loans to make it easier to pay my loans back. Thank you higher one for giving me this important information!!!

pingbacks / trackbacks