What Is Capitalized Interest On A Student Loan


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The total amount you have to repay for student loans increases due to capitalized interest. Unpaid interest is normally added to the total amount of your student loans following nonpayment periods, like deferment or forbearance.

Avoid this interest if you don’t want to pay back a lot more than you initially borrowed.

How much does capitalized interest cost?

Let’s say you borrow $5,000 per year and are enrolled in school at an interest rate of 5% each year. After a six-month grace period and four years of education, $2,937 in interest is accumulated. When you pay it back, the interest will capitalize, or be added to your balance, leaving you with a $22,937 debt.

You’ll continue to pay interest on top of that capitalized interest, which works out to be an additional $31 per month in this case.

However, if you pay off the interest before it capitalizes, you can avoid this. You would owe $20,000 if you paid the $2,937 in interest before it was added to your balance. Avoiding capitalization would result in savings of $802 over the loan’s term, which would facilitate a quicker repayment of your student loans.

What causes interest to capitalize on student loans?

For federal student loans, capitalization of unpaid interest occurs:

  • When the grace period ends on an unsubsidized loan.
  • After a period of forbearance.
  • After a period of deferment, for unsubsidized loans.
  • If you opt out of the Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay as You Earn (PAYE), or Revised Pay as You Earn (REPAYE) plan
  • If you fail to recertify your income for the REPAYE, PAYE, and IBR plans on an annual basis
  • If your income under PAYE or IBR no longer qualifies you to make payments,
  • It capitalizes annually if you are enrolled in the Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan.
  • When you consolidate federal loans.

Interest capitalization for private student loans normally occurs in the following scenarios, but you should check with your lender to be sure.

  • At the end of the grace period.
  • After a period of deferment.
  • After a period of forbearance.

How to avoid capitalized interest on student loans

The following strategies can help you avoid capitalized interest on student loans:

  • Make interest payments monthly while youre in school. Capitalization costs can be avoided by paying the interest on unsubsidized loans during an in-school deferment or by forgoing deferment or forbearance entirely. If you have a private loan, choose a repayment schedule that begins with interest-only payments while you are still enrolled in school.
  • Pay off interest before its added to your balance. By knowing what causes capitalization, you can prevent these costs. For instance, pay off interest before you start repaying by making monthly payments during your grace period. Alternatively, if you know you’ll no longer be eligible for an income-driven plan, pay off interest in one lump sum. Payment must happen before your loans status changes. Contact your student loan lender or servicer to make payments.

Stopping capitalization of interest can help you avoid losing hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Let’s take an example where you are a dependent undergraduate student who borrowed the annual maximum amount of unsubsidized federal student loans between 2014 and 2018. You would owe $27,000, plus $3,276 in capitalized interest. Over the course of the loan, your monthly payment would be over $30 lower and you would save $754 if you paid off accrued interest before it capitalized.

Pay off interest during grace period

Don’t pay off any interest; let interest capitalize

Total owed when grace period ends



Monthly payment



To determine how much your student loan bill would be if interest were capitalized, use a student loan calculator.

Key terms in this story

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what is capitalized interest on a student loan

what is capitalized interest on a student loan

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what is capitalized interest on a student loan

what is capitalized interest on a student loan

what is capitalized interest on a student loan

what is capitalized interest on a student loan

what is capitalized interest on a student loan

what is capitalized interest on a student loan


How do I get rid of capitalized interest on student loans?

Interest that accrues on your student loans even if you are not making payments is known as capitalized interest. If at all possible, make interest-only payments or more than the required minimum payment each month to avoid capitalized interest.

What it means if the interest on a loan is capitalized?

The process of capitalizing a loan involves adding accrued interest to the loan’s outstanding principal balance. Your loan’s outstanding principal amount increases when your unpaid interest capitalizes. The total cost of your loan is then increased when your interest is recalculated using the higher principal balance.

What does it mean when interest is capitalized in college?

Unpaid interest is added to your student loan as capitalized interest, raising the total amount you must repay. By Anna Helhoski. Anna Helhoski. Senior Writer | Consumer finance trends, student loan debt, and economic news

What does Capitalised interest mean?

Interest added to the overall cost of a long-term asset or loan balance is known as capitalized interest. Because of this, interest is not recorded as an expense in the current period.

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