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I am in a similiar situation-

What I did was figure out how much to pay each year so that I could get the max tax benefits for the student loan interest and then I paid about six months ahead at the amount that I figured out (more than the min). This gave me a 6 month cushion so that I would never be late. Student loan debt is not looked down upon like other consumer debt (credit cards, etc) so it shouldn't be blocking any oppotunities for you. I would use the extra money to build up my emergency fund and then invest in somehting safe- like a protected growth fund or a carefully chosen stock. 6.79% will not be difficult to beat, even is the present market. (this is all assuming that you do not have any other high interest consumer debt)

W
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