College  |  December 11, 2018  |  Rob Zodda

Why you should make student loan payments while in school

What you'll learn
  • The benefits of making student loan payments during school
  • How student loans 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—make student loan payments while you’re in college. Here’s why.

Making student loan payments while in school could save you money

By now, you’ve heard about interest. Interest is the cost you’re charged for borrowing money. It’s usually expressed as “annual percentage rate” (APR). APR is the annual cost of borrowing, including all interest, fees, premiums, etc., expressed as an annualized percentage rate based on your expected loan term.

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 when you can, 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 95% approval rate with a cosigner1
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

No matter what repayment option you chose for your loan, you can make a payment any time, for any type of loan.

Some students choose to defer making student loan payments, meaning they put them off until after graduation. This can be helpful for people who have no other option. But with private student loans, interest continues to accrue during that time. 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.

It could help you build credit

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

1. You must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students with a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan in the 2018/19 school year who were approved when they returned in 2019/20. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2019/20.

Sallie Mae does not provide, and these materials are not meant to convey, financial, tax, or legal advice. Sallie Mae makes no claims about the accuracy or adequacy of this information. These materials may not reflect Sallie Mae’s view or endorsement. Consult your own attorney or tax advisor about your specific circumstances. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited.