College  |  November 16, 2022  |  Rob Zodda

Why You Should Pay Student Loans While in School

What you'll learn
  • How you can save money on your loan by making payments in college
  • How paying student loans while in school can affect your credit

Let’s start by answering a common question: “Can I make student loan payments while I’m in college?” Yes, you can—and should seriously consider it. Here’s why.

Paying student loans while in college can save you money

By now, you’ve heard about interest. Interest is the cost you’re charged for borrowing money. Loans also list an “annual percentage rate” (APR). APR is like an interest rate, but it also includes all, fees, discounts, premiums, etc. It’s expressed as an annual percentage rate based on how long it will take to pay off your loan in full.

With many student loans, interest starts accruing—or adding up—as soon as your funds are sent to the school. The interest you’re being charged will build up while you’re in school, ultimately increasing the amount of money you’ll have to pay back.

By making payments while you’re in school, you could help lower the total cost of your student loans. If you pay the interest—or even just a fixed amount every month—it could save you money in the long run.

Don’t think you can afford to make payments during school? Consider using your tax return, birthday money, or money from a side hustle. Every little bit helps..


Need money for college?

Consider a Sallie Mae® private student loan

  • Available for online or on-campus study
  • Competitive fixed and variable rates
  • No origination fee or prepayment penalty
  • Multi-Year Advantage: Returning undergraduate students have a 96% approval rate with a cosignerfootnote 1
blog cross sell ad photo of a young female girl student sitting at her desk studying with notebooks, headphones, and laptop.

You can make payments no matter what repayment option you chose

When you first get your student loan, you choose to either make in-school payments or defer (put off) making payments until after graduation or leaving school. Deferring payments can be helpful for people who can’t make regular payments during school. But with private student loans, interest continues to accrue (grow) all through the years you’re in school and you’ll end up paying more for your loan.

If you choose to defer your loan payments until after graduation, it just means that you’re not required to make payments while in school. But you’re absolutely allowed to make payments if you’re able. And that can help you save money on your total loan cost!

It could help you build credit

Aside from helping you pay for college and invest in your future, another benefit of paying student loans while in school is that it can help you build credit. Credit is the ability to borrow money, based on the lender’s belief that you can pay it back. Most students don't have much credit history, so paying your student loans on time is an opportunity to build up credit while in school.

Making payments on time, every time, is important to your credit health. It proves that you’re a responsible borrower and that you’re able to repay a loan. You’ll need good credit when you apply for a credit card, car loan, or mortgage.

Stay on track

By making student loan payments while you’re in college, you may be able to lower your total loan cost, make your post-school payments more manageable, and build credit.


footnote 1. Sallie Mae loans cover enrollment periods of up to 12 months. Students must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students who were approved for a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan with a cosigner in the 2019/20 school year and were approved for another Sallie Mae undergraduate loan when they returned  with the same or new cosigner in 2020/21. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2020/21.

footnote Sallie Mae does not provide, and these materials are not meant to convey, financial, tax, or legal advice. Consult your own financial advisor, tax advisor, or attorney about your specific circumstances.

footnote External links and third-party references are provided for informational purposes only. Sallie Mae cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided by any third parties and assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions contained therein. Any copyrights, trademarks, and/or service marks used in these materials are the property of their respective owners.