Tips on how to refinance a student loan

Recent college graduates saddled with student loan debt and facing a weak job market can turn to a student loan refinance for some financial reprieve.

A student loan refinance lowers monthly loan payments by either locking in a lower fixed interest rate or extending the term of the loan. The latter lowers the monthly payment but costs more overall.

Many lenders will not refinance an existing student loan because it isn't profitable for them. However, if you're interested in trying to land a student loan refinance, consider these seven tips:

  • Think twice about refinancing if you have a federal Perkins loan. These low-interest loans help needy students finance postsecondary education. A refinance of this loan would eliminate some of its benefits.
  • Ask your current lender for a consolidation. This is far from a guaranteed deal, but it may be a way for your lender to retain your business.
  • Check with your community bank. At the very least, they will have a referral service.
  • Visit the U.S. Department of Education's Direct Loan Program online to look for a loan refinance. Unlike private lenders, the federal government isn't going to lose money on a college loan refinance because its costs of funds are lower.
  • Direct Loan offers a program that lowers your loan payments initially, and then gradually increases them over time as you expect your income to rise.
  • Look into unified lending if you don't meet the requirements for a refinance. This will consolidate all of your loans into one bill.
  • Once you successfully refinance your student loan, try to make the same payment you did before you refinanced as soon as possible. It will reduce the term of the loan and get you out of debt faster.



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