Financial Aid, TuitionStudents

What Would You Do to Pay Off Student Loans?

Student loan debt has become a harsh reality for the majority of college graduates in the United States. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, 70% of graduates of public and nonprofit colleges in 2014 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,950 in student loans. For many student borrowers, the pain sets in six months after graduation when the first of what will inevitably become many years of monthly payments becomes due.student loan debt

But imagine a life with no student loan debt: no monthly payments deducted from the hard-earned paycheck, and no more annual or bi-annual minimum payment increases. Just imagining the extra money on hand with no more student loan repayment obligations is enough to bring a smile and glint of hope to one’s face. If only it could all be gone.

So what would you do to erase your student loan debt? Do you have an open mind and are willing to be a little creative? If so, there are ways you can pay off your loans that don’t require a tremendous amount of work on your behalf. First, though, let’s take a look at some of the crazy things people claim they would do to pay off their own student loans.

Crazy things people would do to pay off student loans

LendEDU, a marketplace for student loans and student loan refinance, conducted an interesting survey to 513 graduated student loan borrowers to find out the lengths that Americans would go to get rid of their student loans. Here are some of the results of the survey:

  • 28% of borrowers would name their first born daughter Sallie Mae
  • 40% of borrowers would take one year off of their life expectancy
  • 57% of borrowers would take a punch from Mike Tyson
  • 6% of borrowers would cut off their pinky finger
  • 58% of borrowers would give up all social media for life
  • 20% of borrowers would wear the same outfit, every day, for life
  • 36% of borrowers would give up texting for life
  • 56% of borrowers would give up alcohol for life
  • 57% of borrowers would give up coffee for life
  • 4% of borrowers would contract a random sexually transmitted disease (STD) for life

Creative college loan repayment

Okay, so maybe getting punched by Mike Tyson or cutting off your pinky finger isn’t your idea of a suitable student loan repayment plan. However, there are creative, unusual, and even adventurous ways many student loan borrowers have managed to pay off their loans. Here are a few you might want to consider!

  1. Move to another country to teach English – I’ve known quite a few people to teach English overseas (myself included), and in many cases you can have your rent and expenses paid for by an English language company, in which case you can use your salary from the company to pay down (or off, completely) your student loans! Be sure to check out our article “How to Teach English Abroad: TEFL Certification” for more information.
  2. Participate in medical research or donate your plasma – Even if you hold a full time job, many student loan borrowers participate in medical research or donate plasma for extra money to pay off student loans. has a search engine to find research studies by location or category. has information on how to donate plasma and has a page to search for donor centers in your area.
  3. Drive for Uber or rent your couch to AirBnB – If you already have a car, then consider using some of your down time to drive for Uber. Also, if you are open to the idea of hosting travelers in your apartment either by renting out your extra room or couch, AirBnB might be an option you’ll want to look into! Many people have had success making money with both of these outlets, so if you really want to pay off your student loans, either of them might be worth considering!
  4. Open a secondary savings account just for student loans – If your intent is to use extra money earned from any of these above mentioned outlets strictly for student loans, then consider opening a secondary savings account just for student loan payments. Sometimes it can be challenging to part with extra money in your regular checking or savings account, so keeping your student loan repayment money entirely separate is a good choice.
  5. Move back in with mom and dad for one year – This may sound like the craziest idea of all those mentioned for some, especially after becoming accustomed to the independence gained in college. But in all seriousness, paying reduced rent to your parents (you should at least offer to help out) could save you thousands of dollars in one year on rent, which you could use to significantly lower or erase your student loan debt. Most important of all, your parents will probably be happy to have you home again, unless you forgot to call your mom last Mother’s Day (shame on you!).

What would you personally do?

What would you do (or what have you done) to get rid of your own student loan debt? Do you know anyone who found extremely creative ways to earn extra money to pay off student loans? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!

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The Author

Dave Harriman

Dave Harriman

Dave Harriman, SHRM-CP, has a background in human resources, anthropology, and international education. His experience teaching English abroad during a gap year as an undergraduate student in Spain ignited his passion and advocacy for student travel. As a human resources professional, Dave is interested in helping students prepare for future career growth, and for helping facilitate social & cultural inclusion in the workplace.