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An interactive guide to finding your best student loan repayment option

Choosing a student loan repayment plan can be frustrating. Look at all this paper!
Choosing a student loan repayment plan can be frustrating. Look at all this paper!
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

It's that time of year: students who graduated this spring are about to start paying back their federal student loan bills. To pick the best repayment plan, you have to think about a lot of things — including the field you're working in and how you expect your salary to change in the next 10 years.

A great place to start is the Education Department's repayment estimator. This pulls in information on your student loans to tell you what your payment will be under different plans. But it doesn't tell you how the career you pursue might affect those payments in the long run. Here are a few of the things you should be considering, and how they might affect what plan is best for you. (You can reload the page at any point to restart the tool or choose another option.)

If you want to repay your loans on any plan that isn't the 10-year standard plan, you'll have to contact your loan servicer. And these plans only work for federal student loans, not private loans issued by banks or financial institutions.

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