Paying off student loans is not fun for anyone. But there are some ways you can make the repayment process easier and more affordable. If student loans are weighing you down, you may have heard about refinancing or consolidating your loans and are wondering if that is a good option for you. In this article, we’ll explain these two student loan repayment options, and give you resources to better understand if these strategies are right for you.
STUDENT LOAN CONSOLIDATION
What is Consolidation?
When you combine multiple loans into a single loan payment each month. Once the process is complete, you no longer owe the original loans. This new loan will come with a new interest rate, a new payment plan, and new terms and conditions.
What are the Benefits?
- Simplicity: Consolidating your student loans allows you to make one monthly payment instead of multiple payments
- Lower Payments: Consolidation can potentially lower your total monthly payment
- Better Rates: The interest rate is fixed and can be lower than your original rate
What Should I Consider?
- Loss of Benefits: Depending on the type of loan, you may lose certain benefits if you consolidate
- Higher Rates: Depending on your current interest rates and loan amounts, you can actually end up paying higher interest rates
- Longer Repayment Period: A consolidated loan can lengthen the duration of your payment plan and you may end up paying more over time
- Federal: This strategy combines multiple federal loans into one new federal loan with different repayment options. The interest rate becomes a weighted average of existing loans.
- Private: This strategy combines one or more private loans into a single new private loan. The interest rate can vary by lender.
STUDENT LOAN REFINANCING
What is Refinancing?
Student loan refinancing is the process of obtaining a new loan at a new interest rate. Typically, you can refinance both your federal and private student loans. This process involves paying off your old loans and getting a new one with different repayment terms and interest rates.
It’s possible to refinance federal student loans, but only with a private lender. When you refinance loans, a private lender pays off your existing loans and issues you a new private loan. Once you refinance government loans, you can’t return them to the federal student loan program, and you may lose out on certain government benefits.
You should refinance private student loans if you qualify for a better interest rate. Refinance lenders don’t typically charge upfront fees, so a lower rate can allow you to pay less each month, save on interest or both.
ELEMENTS STUDENT LOAN RESOURCES
Student Lending Appointments
Meet with a student lending specialist to explore options and identify differences between federal and private student loans, get assistance completing your student loan application, and discuss options for undergraduate degrees and graduate students seeking a business degree.
Refinance with Elements
No reason to make multiple loan payments when you can consolidate private and federal loans, including PLUS Loans.
- Refinance up to $125,000
- Variable rates
- Refinance your private or federal student loans with a 15-year repayment term
Have questions or need trusted advice? Our credit union experts are always here for you. Contact Elements Financial for support in all aspects of your financial life.