Students often complain about paying more loan balances than expected. Typically, the borrower expects the loan balance to go down over time, but the reverse happens. According to research by Moody’s, nearly half of students who borrow a loan find themselves further in debt within five years when they start paying back their loans. The day student takes an unsubsidized loan; the interest begins to accrue.
Interest rates keep on rising for federal and private loans, affecting the students’ ability to repay the loans. If timely repayments aren’t made, the interest will accrue, and the loan balance will go up. Also, depending on the length of time to complete the coursework and when the loan is in forbearance or deferment, interest will accrue, and the overall balance will overgrow.
If you are also unsure about what increases your total loan balance and want to understand terms related to the loan, read this post:
What Is Interest?
A certain amount that the borrower has to pay the lender as a cost of borrowing the money is termed as interest.
Interest is estimated based on a percentage of the unpaid principal amount. Since direct loans are daily interest loans, interest accrues daily. Whether the loan is subsidized or unsubsidized decides your responsibility for paying interest accruing during all periods.
If you do not pay the interest on an unsubsidized loan, the lender may capitalize the unpaid interest.
Interest accrued over time can be calculated by simple daily interest formula, i-e:
Interest Amount = (Outstanding Principal Balance × *Interest Rate Factor) × Number of Days Since Last Payment
*Interest rate factor: It is calculated by dividing the interest rate of your loan by the number of days in a year.
What Is Capitalization?
Capitalization is the inclusion of unpaid interest to the principal loan balance. When you make regular payments on federal student loans, it covers all interest accrued between monthly payments without any unpaid interest.
However, there are certain situations when unpaid interest accrues. For example, if you are not making monthly payments during the deferment period and have an unsubsidized loan, interest builds up, and you have to pay it. Here, the lender can capitalize on this unpaid interest. And if it does capitalize, it will increase the outstanding principal balance due. It can also increase your monthly payment amount based on a repayment plan.
What Makes Your Loan Balance Ascend?
As a rule of thumb, lenders plan the repayments so that, over time, the outstanding balance goes down. And how fast you repay the loan depends on the loan term. The standard term for federal student loans is 10 years and for private loans is 5-15 years.
Certain factors can defer the loan repayment progress, and these are as follows:
If you pay less than the requested amount, it will rise in value.
For instance, your student loan is $40,000 at 5% interest with a loan term of 20 years. If you choose to pay $1,000 at the end of the first year, the principal amount remaining will be $39,000.The interest will be $2,000, which will make the total value up to $41,000.
So, if you want to reduce the debt, you need to make a repayment that covers both principal payments and capitalized interest on the loan. So, in the above example, you must repay more than $3,000.
If you temporarily stop making payments or defer payments, it will capitalize on your loan.
Lenders give students a grace period of 6-months at the end of their studies before they make their loan repayments. This time is provided to them to find a job and earn money. However, it doesn’t mean that interest capitalization will not occur. Lenders continue to capitalize on interest, and loans continue to grow.
An extended payment plan usually lasts for 20 years or even more before being completely paid. It makes the monthly repayment amount less, and thus the size of the payable loan reduces slowly.
It also makes you pay more interest. As the monthly payments become smaller and more time is needed, you pay more interest.
And if you have missed any payment in the extended plan, the total loan value can rise. This is because, in the first few years, regular payments only cover interest and some loans. So, if you miss a payment per year, it can take you back to where you started.
If you have used a federal income-driven plan, your loan balance will rise with time.
Lenders propose the borrower’s income-driven plans based on their salary rather than the amount that can clear the loan fast. As a result, the loan repayment amount is less than interest charges, causing an increase in balance.
Usually, you don’t make repayments immediately. Instead, there are certain delays depending on the type and purpose of the loan.
For instance, many students don’t make regular payments until they complete university, and the capitalization of interest results in growing the loan while students are studying.
So, this makes a $40,000 loan grow up to $48,620 in four years when compounded annually. As a result, the loan balance will be considerably higher than the freshman year loan balance.
Another possibility of increased balance can be miscalculations. If you are sure that you made timely payments and haven’t missed anything, you can inquire about it from the lender.
Such errors can arise due to the wrong payment amount, confusing your account with somebody else’s, or algorithmic errors.
There are various reasons a balance can increase beyond the principal amount borrowed. But the good news is that there are also various ways to get the balance down and avoid paying capitalized interest.
So, before you take a loan, always learn what can increase your loan balance and what can save you from paying extra.