Refinance Student Loans

Want to know how to refinance student loans and get the best student loan refinance rates?

Student loan refinancing helps you receive a lower interest rate so that you can pay off student loans faster.

When you refinance student loans with private student loan consolidation, you can combine your existing federal and private student loans into a single student loan with a personalized lower interest rate and lower monthly payment.

Find the best student loan refinance rates in only 2 minutes.

These are our highest-rated refinance student loans and student loan consolidation options for 2018.


Compare The Best Student Loan Refinance Rates For 2018

Lender
Rates (APR)
Minimum Credit Score

Overview

Variable Rates:2.57% - 5.87%
Fixed Rates:3.89% - 6.32%
Average Savings:$21,810
Minimum Credit Score:None
Minimum Income:None
Fees:None

Details

Eligible Loans:Private & Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$45,000
Loan Terms:5-20 years
Borrower Residency:All States except AL, KY, MS, VT
Unemployment Protection:Yes
Co-signer Option:Yes

Overview

Variable Rates:2.48% - 7.52%
Fixed Rates:4.00% - 7.80%
Average Savings:-
Minimum Credit Score:650
Minimum Income:None
Fees:None

Details

Eligible Loans:Private or Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$5,000
Loan Terms:5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:All states
Unemployment Protection:Yes
Co-signer Option:Yes

Overview

Variable Rates:2.55% - 6.01%
Fixed Rates:3.09% - 6.69%
Average Savings:N/A
Minimum Credit Score:680
Minimum Income:$35,000
Fees:None

Details

Eligible Loans:Private & Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$15,000
Loan Terms:5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:All States
Unemployment Protection:Yes
Co-signer Option:Yes

Overview

Variable Rates:2.47% - 7.99%
Fixed Rates:3.49% - 8.72%
Average Savings:$15,270
Minimum Credit Score:680
Minimum Income:$24,000
Fees:None

Details

Eligible Loans:Private & Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$5,000
Loan Terms:5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:All states, except ME, ND, NV, RI, WV
Unemployment Protection:Yes
Co-signer Option:Yes

Overview

Variable Rates:2.80% - 6.38%
Fixed Rates:3.50% - 7.02%
Average Savings:$20,200
Minimum Credit Score:680
Minimum Income:None
Fees:None

Details

Eligible Loans:Private & Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$5,000
Loan Terms:5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:All states
Unemployment Protection:Yes
Co-signer Option:Yes

Overview

Variable Rates:2.70% - 7.44%
Fixed Rates:3.25% - 7.03%
Average Savings:$20,221
Minimum Credit Score:700 (670 with a co-signer)
Minimum Income:$42,000 solo or combined with spouse; $25,000 with a co-signer
Fees:None

Details

Eligible Loans:Private & Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$7,500
Loan Terms:5, 8, 12, 15 years
Borrower Residency:All states
Unemployment Protection:Case by case
Co-signer Option:Yes

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What does it mean to refinance student loans?

If you want to know how to refinance student loans and how to consolidate student loans, the process is quite simple.

The goal of student loan refinancing is to combine your existing federal student loans and private student loans into a single, new student loan with a lower interest rate.

The higher your current interest rate, the more money you will save from student loan refinancing. A lower student loan rate will save you money because less interest will be charged each month, which means lower monthly student loan payments.

Since the federal government does not refinance any student loans, private lenders are the only source to refinance student loans.Therefore, with private student loan lenders, you can refinance federal student loans, private student loans or both.

When you refinance student loans, once you have been approved, your new lender pays off all your current student loans and then issues a new, single student loan with a lower interest rate. You are then responsible to pay back the new, single student loan to your new lender.

Today, there are more than 44 million borrowers who owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt.

One option to help repay your student loans faster is student loan refinancing. This is one of the best student loan consolidation strategies.

At Make Lemonade, with our free comparison tools, we compare the best rates so you can save money and live a better financial life. We help student loan borrowers compare the best lenders to find the best student loan refinance rates and best student loan consolidation rates.

What are the key benefits when you refinance student loans?

Student loan refinancing has many benefits.

First, you can lower your interest rate with student loan refinancing. This is the primary reason for a student loan borrower to refinance student loans. With a lower interest rate, you will save money each month on your interest payments.

Second, you can combine all your existing student loans into a single student loan. The best student loan consolidation move that you can make is to combine all your student loans into only one student loan because it simplifies your financial life.

Third, student loan refinance offers more flexibility with your interest rate type. With the best private student loan consolidation lenders, you can choose either a fixed or variable interest rate. This contrasts with the federal government, which only offers a fixed rate loan.

Fourth, student loan refinance offers multiple loan terms to repay student loans, which typically vary from 5-20 years.

If you want to know how to refinance student loans, your best option is to use a student loan refinancing calculator. A refinance student loans calculator can help you understand how much money you can save through student loan refinancing.

Do I qualify for student loan refinancing?

The reality is that not everyone can qualify for student loan refinancing, or even obtain the best student loan refinance rates.

As a student, every potential borrower qualifies for a federal student loan. Every borrower also pays the same, fixed interest rate. However, the federal government does not refinance student loans.

So, to refinance student loans, you need to refinance with a private lender. Student loan refinancing is one of the best student loan consolidation strategies.

For student loan refinancing, most lenders want to lend to borrowers with a strong credit profile to minimize their risk. This means that most lenders want a borrower to have a credit score of at least 650, a low debt-to-income ratio (such as less than 30%) and a stable, recurring income.

These are typically the minimum standards to qualify for student loan refinance, although requirements vary by lender.

Lenders will evaluate your credit profile, history of financial responsibility, monthly cash flow and other factors to determine whether you qualify for student loan refinancing.

On average, borrowers who are approved for student loan refinancing have credit scores over 700.

Lenders want to see that you use credit responsibly, have work experience and steady income. Therefore, student loan refinancing is not an option for graduates who are unemployed or struggling to repay student loan debt and other living expenses.

If you do not meet the minimum qualifications, however, don’t fret because you can still qualify for the best student loan refinance rates.

All you need is a qualified cosigner who has a strong credit profile and meets these requirements. A qualified cosigner can help you get approved for student loan refinance and may qualify for the best student loan refinance rates.

What is student loan consolidation?

Student loan consolidation and student loan refinance often are used interchangeably.

When borrowers ask how to consolidate student loans, they similarly ask how to refinance student loans as well.

Student loan consolidation is the process of combining your federal student loans into a new, single loan called a Direct Consolidation Loan.

When you consolidate student loans with the federal government, your interest rate does not decrease. This is an important distinction with student loan refinancing (which is also known as private student loan consolidation).

To consolidate student loans, your goal is to organize and manage your federal student loans more seamlessly, with a single loan payment, single interest rate and single student loan servicer.

The resulting interest rate when you consolidate student loans is equal to the weighted average of your existing federal student loans, rounded up to the nearest 1/8%.

What are the differences between student loan refinancing and student loan consolidation?

When borrowers want to learn more about how to refinance student loans and how to consolidate student loans, they often ask about the difference between federal student loan consolidation and private student loan consolidation.

If you want to decide how to refinance student loans or how to consolidate student loans, it is really a decision based on your specific circumstance and goals.

If you currently have student loans with high interest rates or variable interest rates that may increase over time, then student loan refinance may make sense for you. With student loan refinancing, your goal is to reduce your interest rate and save money. You also can streamline multiple student loan lenders and multiple student loan payments into a single lender, a single student loan servicer and a single monthly payment.

If you plan to use federal repayment plans such as income-based repayment, for example, or plan to apply for public service loan forgiveness based on your work in a public service role, then student loan consolidation may be your best bet.The best student loan consolidation benefit that comes with federal student loans are the federal protections such as deferral and forbearance.Today, the good news is that many private lenders offer some form of student loan deferral or allow you to postpone payments based on loss of employment or other hardship. You can check with your specific lender for details.

This student loan refinancing vs student loan consolidation calculator can help show you which option saves your more money.

Is student loan refinancing right for me?

If you want to lower your interest rate and save money on your student loans, then student loan refinancing may make a lot of sense. Also, if you don’t plan to use federal income-driven repayment programs or public service loan forgiveness, student loan refinance can be a smart move.Remember that the number one benefit of student loan refinancing is the ability to lower your interest rate. A lower interest rate means lower monthly interest, which saves you money on your student loans.

This student loan refinance calculator shows you how much money you save when you get a lower interest rate through student loan refinancing.

Where are the best student loan refinance rates?

You can find the best student loan refinance rates and best student loan consolidation rates on Make Lemonade. We help you compare the best student loan refinance rates from the top lenders. When it comes to student loan refinance and student loan consolidation, Make Lemonade helps save you money so you can live a better financial life.

We recommend that you apply to multiple lenders to increase your chances for approval.

How much does it cost to refinance student loans?

When you refinance student loans, the cost is free.

Student loan refinancing has no origination fees, no administrative fees and no prepayment penalty.

That means that you can repay your student loans at any time before they are due and there is no penalty for paying them off early.

Student loan consolidation with the federal government is also free.

Beware of companies who claim they can consolidate student loans for a fee. You should never pay a company to consolidate student loans or refinance student loans.

Who are the top lenders to refinance student loans and consolidate student loans?

At Make Lemonade, you can easily compare student loan refinancing lenders and find the best student loan consolidation rates.

We include all the key metrics for each lender so you can easily compare interest rates, loan terms and key lender features.

The best lender for you depends on your specific goals and circumstances.

When you refinance student loans, first look for the best student loan refinance rates. If your goal is to lower your student loan payments, then the best student loan refinances rates will help you achieve your goal.

You also have the flexibility to choose between a fixed interest rate and variable interest rate. A fixed interest rate means you will have the same interest rate over the life of your student loans. A variable interest rate means that your interest rate can change over the life of the student loan based on movements in interest rates. Initially, a variable interest rate is often lower than a fixed interest rate, and can move up or down over time.

Another consideration when you refinance student loans and consolidate student loans is the borrower protections provided by your lender. With student loan consolidation with the federal government, you are afforded several protections such as deferral, forbearance and access to income-driven repayment programs.

With student loan refinancing, many lenders now offer some form of comparable protections through forbearance, deferral and flexible repayment.

If I refinance student loans, can I then delay my payments if I lose my job, face economic hardship or return to school?

The option to delay or defer student loans payments rests with the individual lender. With many lenders, the answer is yes: you can delay student loan payments if you lose your job. Some lenders offer 12 months of forbearance, while other lenders offer forbearance on a case-by-case basis. However, be sure to check with your specific lender to learn the details.

Can I apply to multiple student loan refinancing lenders at once?

When borrowers ask how to consolidate student loans, one of the first questions is whether they apply to multiple student loan lenders at once. The answer is yes. In fact, it is encouraged to apply to multiple lenders at once to maximize your chances for approval.

You can check your rate online for free in only two minutes with most lenders without any impact to your credit score.

How can a cosigner help you refinance student loans and get approved for student loan refinancing?

If you have a strong credit score, work experience, stable income and a history of financial responsibility, then you may be a good candidate for student loan refinancing.

However, sometimes even with this borrower profile, you may be asked to have a cosigner to help you.

What Is A Cosigner?

A cosigner is someone who assumes equal financial responsibility for a student loan.If the primary borrower does not repay the student loan or the student loan goes into default, the cosigner assumes equal responsibility for the student loan.

To be a qualified cosigner, the person should have a strong credit score, history of financial responsibility and stable income. A cosigner can be a family member, friend, mentor or anyone else who is a creditworthy individual.

What Are The Benefits Of A Cosigner?

A creditworthy cosigner can help to show you how to get the best refinance student loans rates and best student loan consolidation rates.

Since lenders are focused on minimizing their credit risk, they want to have comfort that a creditworthy individual can serve as a cosigner for a student loan. If the primary borrower is unable to repay the student loan, lenders want assurance that a creditworthy cosigner will be responsible.

A cosigner with a strong credit history, strong credit score and stable income can help a student loan borrower get approved for student loan refinancing and student loan consolidation.

Most importantly, a cosigner helps a student loan borrower get the best student loan refinance rates.

What Are The Risks Of A Cosigner?

There are risks to serving as a cosigner for student loan refinance.

For example, the cosigner is financially responsible to repay the student loan if the primary borrower does not repay the student loan due to death, disability, unemployment or any other reason. As a cosigner, your credit score could be impacted due to any missed or late student loan payments.

Can Cosigners Be Released From Student Loans?

Most lenders permit cosigners to be released from financial responsibility for a student loan after certain requirements are fulfilled. For example, after you make regular, on-time student loan payments, the cosigner may be able to be released from the student loan. Most lenders permit the student loan borrower to apply for student loan refinance in their names only, which then releases the cosigner from financial responsibility.You can check with your lender to determine if they offer a cosigner release option and the requirements.

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