How to Pay Back Your Student Loans Faster as an International Student



international students in black academic dress standing

Student loans can be a helpful way to pay for college in the United States. However, they can become a big financial problem after you graduate. If you want to get rid of your monthly student loan payment, there are ways to pay off your student loans more quickly. 

Although it might not be easy, accelerating your debt repayment could be worth the sacrifices in the end if you’re able to pay off your student loans ahead of schedule.

How to pay off your student loans faster

If you want to pay off your student loans quickly, here are some strategies that could help:

1. Refinance for a lower interest rate 

repay international student loans faster

If you want to pay off your student loans faster, you might want to refinance your international student loan with a lender in the United States.

If you refinance your loan, you might be able to get a lower interest rate. This means that less of your money will go towards the interest, so you might be able to afford extra payments on your refinanced loan.

Keep in mind that many lenders in the U.S. don’t have a prepayment penalty, so you won’t have to worry about any fees if you decide to make extra payments. 

Some lenders offer discounts if you make your payments on time or if you sign up for automatic payments. For example, MPOWER Financing offers a 0.50% rate cut if you put your refinanced student loan on autopay and an additional 0.50% rate discount after you’ve made six consecutive payments using autopay.

Reducing your interest rate as much as possible can help make your loan more affordable as you work to pay it off faster.

2. Pay more than the minimum payment 

When you borrow a student loan, you usually agree to pay it back with fixed monthly payments over a certain number of years. But if you pay more than the minimum amount due each month, you can reduce the number of years it will take for you to repay your loan. 

For example, let’s say you took out a $35,000 loan at a 10.00% rate. If you paid $463 per month, it would take you 10 years to pay it off. But if you could increase your monthly payment to $513 ($50 more per month), you would get rid of the debt 1 year and 6 months faster and save nearly $3,500 in interest. If you could pay $563 per month, it would take 2 years and 8 months less to pay off the debt and save nearly $6,000 in interest charges. 

You may want to increase your payments on your loan. But before doing that, make sure that the loan servicer is applying the payments correctly. The servicer should be putting your extra payments toward your principal balance instead of saving them for future bills. 

3. Find a job with student loan assistance 

getting a job that offers student loan repayment assistance

Some companies offer student loan assistance benefits to their employees. If you are looking for a new job, it might be worth looking for a company that will help you pay back your student loans. Note that not all student loans are eligible for this benefit – you might need to refinance your student loans with a U.S.-based lender to qualify for employer-sponsored student loan assistance. 

4. Make biweekly payments 

If you are making monthly student loan payments, consider switching to biweekly payments. This means splitting your monthly payment in half and paying that amount every two weeks. Instead of paying $200 once per month, for example, you would pay $100 every two weeks. 

It will feel like you are still paying the same amount each month, but you will actually make the equivalent of 13 monthly payments in the year instead of 12.

Making biweekly payments on your student loans is an easy way to pay off your debt faster without much extra effort on your part. 

5. Ask for a raise or work a side hustle 


Making extra payments on your student loans can be difficult if you don’t have any money left over in your budget. If you want to get rid of your debt quickly, you’ll need to find ways to make more money. 

You could ask for a raise from your employer or start working a side hustle, like driving for a ride-sharing service or doing freelance work online. If you can make more money, you can use that extra cash to pay down your student loan debt faster. 

6. Reduce your living expenses 

Besides making more money, think about ways to spend less money. This will free up more of your budget to put towards your student loans. 

One way to do this is by downsizing to a cheaper apartment or moving in with a roommate or two. If you eat out at restaurants often, try cooking at home instead. And if your car payment is tough to afford, consider trading in your car for a less expensive one. 

Look over your monthly expenses and identify areas where you can cut back. For example, if you can save $50 or $100 per month, that will help you pay off your student loans sooner.

7. Put a cash windfall toward your loans 

If you receive some extra money, like a bonus at work or a gift, it might be tempting to spend it on something fun. But if you want to get rid of your student debt quickly, you should think about using that money to pay off your student loans. 

If you need some extra motivation, use a calculator to see how much extra payments would save you in interest. Seeing how much time and money you could save might give you the push you need to stay on track with your debt repayment goals.