(Note I haven't finished school yet, I just like to plan ahead - the debt is still climbing, sadly.) I'm debating how I'm going to handle mine when all is said and done. Let me start by saying: I hate debt and avoid it like the plague, but in this case it was a necessary evil that I plan to pay off rapidly. It's not feasible to live and pay off full graduate credits without living in extreme poverty, at least not for me and my situation. I'm big on budgeting, and I follow some pretty core principles that logically lead me to "pay it off, pay as much as you can afford to each month until it's gone." My goal is (well was) to finish paying it off in five years instead of ten to be done with it. Here's where my logic gets side tracked. These are Stafford Loans at the typical 6.8%. The interest leads to a tax credit yearly of what is it, $250 bucks, and that's not much - but it's a cap, so logically I'll try to not exceed the $2,500 in interest payments. Now, considering I'm going into teaching all these caveats are thrown up all over the place. The magic words "loan forgiveness" start being thrown around, albeit with some very tight terms like, teach in a qualifying school for five consecutive years, in a needed subject. (The school only has to meet the requirements for one of the five, so it's not too bad, I guess.) You financial gurus, I know there's a lot of you out there, that rocked your loans, let me know. What would you do? Obviously, if I don't work in a school that qualifies, that's null and void. But then there are other caveats specific to these type of loans that you can play around with, that may benefit you in the long-run. Such as purposeful deferment (not forbearance, I would never do that unless my life depended on it!). For instance, I have a six month grace period when I'm out of college. I can extend that period of deferment for three years based on unemployment/underemployment, whether that's three years total or six years combined as you can claim underemployment and unemployment deferment. I know it's hard to bite the though of being strategically underemployed or unemployed, but it may be best to limit the interest one pays until suitable employment can be found. However, that's not the type of deferment I would ever want to use, as it would be under the assumption life is going very bad at that point. The deferment that's got my mind blown is deferment for college enrollment. Teachers are REQUIRED to take continuing education. So wouldn't it make sense that I'd be a halftime student and can start deferment again each time I take those classes (still able to make my monthly payments on the principle without penalty I assume) and start the six month grace period over again each time I take a new class? I've kind of been rambling out my thoughts so I wouldn't forget anything, and I still probably forgot a lot, but let me summarize. ----------- Be financially smart: pay the loan off in five years, and don't try to outsmart the interest. Play it straight. Pay the minimum monthly balance (getting purposefully rocked by interest) for five years in anticipation of loan forgiveness to the tune of $17,500 (which should cover the remainder of my debt interest+principle). Practice timed out loan deferments, at least once a year, while doing teacher continuing education, to stop the accumulation of interest while making minimum or above minimum monthly payments on the loan to rock the principle. (Not worried about the debt going up too much, as I wouldn't add new classes to the loan (and that would kill other entitlements, and I'm fairly sure teachers get half rate at in-state institutions here for their credits). If my thought is correct each deferment would last for the college semester, Aug-Dec + six months, assuming I only took a class one semester a year that'd be just shy of a full year of deferment. Am I wrong to assume I could defer the duration of my loan until it's paid off? -------------------- Pros, please ring in. If it helps my total debt after completion of my program will range from 25k-35k. The large variance will be due to changes in my program. (A switch from being able to do it locally 25k, to having to move and finance that move when they no longer offer my work locally, 35k.) Which, based on all the calculators I've run, totals less than the typical starting salary at my location. Which means even at the high end it is a "feasible" loan. Thanks in advance for your input! I promise, aside from this, I refuse to take on debt. I embrace only buying only what I can afford openly.