Should I start repaying early?

I have about $25,000 in student loans that I took out from 2014-2018. These were Federal Perkins and Stafford Subsidized Loans, so they don't accrue interest until the repayment period begins. Immediately after 2018, I enrolled in a Master's program and my loans were deferred automatically until 2019 when I graduated.

I'm now beginning a Ph.D. program. The loans are in the grace period, but I believe I can defer them again after completing the Graduate Fellowship Deferment Request. My question is whether I should submit this form and delay my payments until after I finish my Ph.D, or if I should start making my monthly payments after this grace period ends.

My current line of thinking is that since the loans do not collect interest until the repayment period, my monthly payment would be the same. However, that amount would be worth less 4-5 years from now. I will most likely have a higher salary after graduating, so the monthly payment would also be a smaller percentage of my net income. However, if I choose this route, this means I will have that debt on my record longer, which I am not sure is a good thing

On the other hand, if I begin paying now, I can't stop making payments. This isn't the worst thing because with my current salary and budget, I can afford the monthly payments for at least the next 4-5 years. However, I think that having a higher salary after graduating, thus making the loan payment a smaller percentage of my budget, might be a better way to plan my finances.

Any advice would be appreciated. I'm just unsure which is the right decision

submitted by /u/CulturalSeesaw
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