What increases your total student loan balance?

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Student loans have become a common means of financing higher education for many students. However, it’s important to understand what factors can contribute to an increase in your total student loan balance. By being aware of these factors, you can make informed decisions and manage your student loans effectively.

Choosing a Higher Loan Amount

One of the main factors that can increase your total student loan balance is the initial loan amount you choose. When applying for student loans, you have the option to borrow the full cost of attendance or a specific amount. If you choose to borrow more than what is necessary to cover your education expenses, your loan balance will increase. It’s crucial to carefully consider your financial needs and only borrow what is essential to avoid unnecessary debt.

Accruing Interest

Interest is another significant factor that can contribute to an increase in your student loan balance. Most student loans accrue interest while you are in school, during the grace period, and even when you are in deferment or forbearance. The interest that accumulates during these periods is added to your loan balance, increasing the overall amount you owe. It’s important to understand the interest rates associated with your loans and consider making interest payments while you are still in school to minimize the impact of accruing interest.

Loan Fees

In addition to interest, some student loans may also have loan origination fees or other associated fees. These fees are typically a percentage of the loan amount and are deducted from the loan disbursement. While they may not significantly impact your total loan balance, it’s essential to factor them into your overall borrowing costs.

Loan Repayment Terms

The repayment terms you choose for your student loans can also affect your total loan balance. Longer repayment terms may result in lower monthly payments but can also lead to higher overall interest costs. On the other hand, shorter repayment terms may require higher monthly payments but can help you save on interest in the long run. It’s crucial to carefully evaluate your financial situation and choose a repayment plan that aligns with your goals and ability to make payments.

Deferment and Forbearance

During certain circumstances, such as economic hardship or returning to school, you may be eligible for deferment or forbearance on your student loans. While these options can provide temporary relief from making loan payments, they can also contribute to an increase in your total loan balance. This is because interest may continue to accrue during these periods, and any unpaid interest may be capitalized, adding to your principal balance. It’s important to carefully consider the implications of deferment or forbearance and explore alternative options if possible.


To summarize, several factors can contribute to an increase in your total student loan balance. These include choosing a higher loan amount, accruing interest, loan fees, repayment terms, and deferment or forbearance. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions and develop a strategy to manage your student loans effectively. It’s crucial to carefully evaluate your financial needs and explore options to minimize unnecessary debt.


– studentaid.gov
– consumerfinance.gov
– finaid.org