Dave Ramsey’s Expert Advice on Conquering Student Loan Debt: A Comprehensive Guide

December 11, 2023

What does Dave Ramsey say about paying off student loans?

As a renowned financial expert and author, Dave Ramsey has provided valuable advice to millions of people seeking to take control of their finances and achieve financial freedom. When it comes to paying off student loans, Ramsey offers practical guidance based on his proven principles of personal financial management. In this article, we will explore Dave Ramsey’s perspective on paying off student loans and the strategies he recommends for effectively managing this financial burden.

1. The Importance of Living Debt Free

Dave Ramsey emphasizes the importance of living a debt-free life, including being free of the burden of student loans. He believes that debt prevents individuals from achieving their financial goals and can significantly limit their options and opportunities. Ramsey encourages individuals to prioritize becoming debt-free, including paying off student loans, as a critical step toward financial security and independence.
According to Ramsey, paying off student loans should be a top priority for those who have them. He suggests that individuals adopt a “gazelle intensity” approach, allocating a significant portion of their income to debt repayment to accelerate the process. By committing to a lifestyle focused on eliminating debt, individuals can regain control of their financial future and pave the way for long-term financial success.

2. Create a budget and cut expenses

To accelerate student loan repayment, Ramsey recommends creating a detailed budget that accounts for all income and expenses. A budget allows individuals to identify areas where they can cut back on discretionary spending and allocate more funds to debt repayment. Ramsey advocates a frugal lifestyle during the repayment period, where unnecessary expenses are minimized to speed up the repayment process.
In addition, Ramsey suggests taking a hard look at your lifestyle and making sacrifices to free up extra cash. This can include downsizing living arrangements, cutting back on dining out, reducing entertainment expenses, or finding ways to increase income through part-time jobs or side hustles. By making these adjustments, individuals can put more money toward paying off their student loans faster.

3. Snowball Method of Repayment

Dave Ramsey advocates the snowball method of debt repayment, a strategy that involves paying off debts starting with the smallest balance first, while making minimum payments on other debts. As each debt is paid off, the money freed up is then applied to the next smallest debt, creating a snowball effect. This method helps build momentum and motivation as individuals see tangible progress by eliminating smaller debts early on.

While the debt snowball method may not be the most cost-effective in terms of interest savings, Ramsey believes in the psychological benefits it provides. By focusing on the smallest debts first, individuals experience a sense of accomplishment and gain momentum, which can help them stay motivated throughout the repayment process.

4. Increase income and seek additional opportunities

To accelerate student loan repayment, Dave Ramsey encourages individuals to explore ways to increase their income. This can include finding a higher-paying job, negotiating a raise or promotion, or acquiring additional skills to increase earning potential. Ramsey believes that a combination of reducing expenses and increasing income can significantly accelerate the repayment process.

In addition, Ramsey advises individuals with student loans to consider taking on additional part-time work or side hustles. This extra income can be used solely to pay off loans, allowing for faster progress in eliminating debt. By taking proactive steps to increase income, individuals can reduce the burden of student loans more quickly while building a stronger financial foundation.

5. Seek Professional Advice and Stay Engaged

Dave Ramsey encourages individuals facing challenges with their student loans to seek professional guidance from certified financial counselors or credit experts. These experts can provide personalized advice and strategies tailored to an individual’s specific circumstances. They can help navigate the complexities of student loan repayment options, consolidation and refinancing, ensuring that individuals make informed decisions that align with their financial goals.

Finally, Ramsey stresses the importance of staying committed to the goal of becoming debt-free. Repaying student loans can be a long process, but with discipline, perseverance and a clear plan, individuals can successfully pay off their loans and move toward a brighter financial future. By staying focused and consistently implementing the strategies outlined, individuals can overcome the burden of student loan debt and achieve lasting financial freedom.
In summary, Dave Ramsey’s approach to paying off student loans revolves around the principles of living debt-free, budgeting, prioritizing debt repayment, and pursuing opportunities to increase income. By adopting his strategies and mindset, individuals can take control of their financial situation, eliminate student loan debt, and pave the way for long-term financial success. Remember, the journey to debt freedom requires dedication, sacrifice and perseverance, but the rewards of financial independence are well worth the effort.


What does Dave Ramsey say about paying off student loans?

Dave Ramsey believes that paying off student loans should be a top financial priority. He advocates for a focused and aggressive approach to eliminate student loan debt as quickly as possible.

Should I prioritize paying off student loans over other debts?

Yes, according to Dave Ramsey. He advises individuals to prioritize paying off student loans over other debts, such as credit card debt or car loans. Ramsey suggests using the debt snowball method, where you focus on paying off your smallest debt first while making minimum payments on other debts.

Does Dave Ramsey recommend refinancing student loans?

Dave Ramsey generally advises against refinancing student loans. He believes that refinancing can lead to higher interest rates or longer repayment terms, which may not be beneficial in the long run. However, he suggests exploring options for loan consolidation or seeking lower interest rates without extending the loan term.

Does Dave Ramsey support loan forgiveness programs?

No, Dave Ramsey does not support loan forgiveness programs. He believes that individuals should take responsibility for their debts and work diligently to pay them off. Ramsey encourages people to focus on earning more income, cutting expenses, and using the debt snowball method to become debt-free.

Is it advisable to save for retirement while paying off student loans?

Yes, Dave Ramsey recommends saving for retirement even while paying off student loans. He suggests contributing to retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or Roth IRA, up to the employer match. This allows individuals to take advantage of the power of compound interest and start building wealth for retirement while still tackling their student loan debt.