Student loans are often a necessary evil. You can’t afford to get through college without some type of financial backing, but you’re then left with decades worth of repayment. The unfortunate part for most students is that it’s common to have more than one loan in their name at a time. If you have a lot of loans and are finding repayment to be overwhelming, it’s time to consider refinancing.
Student loan refinancing can modify your existing loans to save you money and help you to get out of debt more quickly, eliminating headaches that come as a result of living financially unstable. Not only will you still have the education that the student loans helped pay for, but you won’t be tied down to a ton of debt.
1. Get a Lower Interest Rate
When you initially took out the loan, chances are that you either had no credit at all or had a bad FICO score. Since the initial application, you might have raised your credit and become more financially responsible, which will help you to get locked into a lower interest rate agreement. Student loan refinancing enables you to take advantage of your lowered student loan risk. With a lower rate, you’ll wind up paying less on your loans and more of what you pay will go towards what you actually owe. Plus, refinancing lumps all of your loans into one amount, so you only have one interest rate to worry about.
2. Lowered Monthly Payments
Not only does refinancing lower your interest rate, but it might also modify your loan term agreement so that you have more affordable payments. The majority of federal and private loans come with a standard 10-year term, which means that you have to get the loan paid off within 10 years of graduation. While all refinancing options vary, you’ll find that it’s easy to get locked into an agreement with a five- to 25-year term.
If your current term has a 10-year repayment contract and you refinance with a 25-year one, your monthly bills will drop significantly and you’ll find the loan to be a lot more affordable long-term. This also helps down the road when you need extra cash flow throughout the month to make ends meet. Your income won’t be going exclusively to those old student loans.
Refinancing is also perfect for graduates who don’t qualify for income-based repayment plans and who don’t make enough money just yet to comfortably pay off these loans. The longer the payment term, the more interest you’re paying. You might want to consider the term length before getting locked into an agreement. Just because you sign for a 25-year term, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily more affordable in the long run. Pay close attention to the total cost of the loan being refinanced and consider paying it all off early in larger increments.
3. A More Flexible Repayment Plan
Federal loan options include some pretty great benefits and they can protect you during your early graduation years when your income isn’t necessarily stable. You can still make some progress on paying off these loans, but the monthly payment is more manageable for your unstable budget. Unfortunately, income-based plans extend the loan and it’ll take longer to pay it off. Refinancing gives you the ability to ramp up your efforts to pay off that debt and get out of the student loan hole that so many people are currently in.
Flexible plans are available for both federal and private loans, so you’ll have the opportunity to find the best option for your needs. It is important to note that private student loans offer a limited amount of refinance options based on interest and grace periods. In this case, you can discuss repayment plans with the lender to change the way you’re paying.
4. Release a Cosigner
Having a cosigner on your loan is a great idea at the time, until you realize that this person is going to be tied to your financial life until the loan gets paid off. Many students have their parents cosign for them, but this can add a lot of stress to your relationship. Also, your loan will impact a cosigner’s credit score, so if you’re constantly delinquent on payments, they’re going to take a hit and your relationship is going to suffer because of it. When you refinance an old loan, you can release a cosigner and start fresh. This prevents that person from having anything to do with the loan and you both can take a breath from one another. If you have good credit and a stable financial history, it’ll be easy to get rid of a cosigner when refinancing a loan.
5. Switch to a Different Bank
When you first sign for a student loan, it’s easy to go with the first bank that takes you on. As a young adult with bad credit, you often have to go with the first lender who even takes the time to look at your application. Refinancing allows you to get rid of your old lender and go with a new one who both has better rates and cares more for their customers. You’ll want to look for a bank that specifically works with people who have student loan debt and who offers great rates that are affordable and fixed. Be sure to research all of your options before choosing any one particular bank.
6. Consolidate All Student Loans Into One Loan
If you have multiple loans, it can be confusing and frustrating to deal with this massive load of bills each month. Refinancing enables you to lump all of your student loans into one amount and only deal with one bill and one interest rate. This makes paying off the loan easier, more manageable and even cheaper if you go with the right lender.